Howard Adopts Bird-Friendly Building Design Standards

Last week Howard County approved legislation that adds bird-friendly design standards into the County’s Green Building Law.

Howard becomes the first county in Maryland to require that certain projects meet bird-friendly design standards. The American Bird Conservancy and the Smithsonian estimate that bird collisions with glass buildings likely kill between 365 million and 1 billion birds annually in the United States alone. The County Council approved legislation by a 4-1 vote on July 6 that was promptly signed the next day by County Executive Calvin Ball.

From coverage in the Baltimore Sun:

“What [the bill] really is referring to is these big, glass buildings today that literally threaten the existence of birds because birds fly into the glass, unable to realize that it is glass, and they are dying by the millions as a result of these big, glass buildings,” said council Chair Deb Jung, who introduced the legislation.

The bill requires that certain building applications to include documentation showing the project meets LEED Pilot Credit 55 for bird collision deterrence.

During the 2020 Maryland General Assembly Session legislators introduced a bill that would require the Department of General Services to develop standards consistent with LEED Pilot Credit 55 for state buildings. The bill advanced through the House but did not move in the Senate likely due to the abrupt adjournment.

American Bird Conservancy FAQ on Bird-Glass Collisions

Howard County Legislation

2020 General Assembly Legislation