"I SEE THE INCENTIVES AS AN INTEGRAL PART OF MY VISION OF A SUSTAINABLE, SAFER, STRONGER, AND SMARTER HOUSTON THAT WILL HELP MEET THE GOALS OF THE CITY'S EMERGING RESILIENCE STRATEGY, CLIMATE ACTION PLAN, BUILD HOUSTON FORWARD PROGRAM, AND HARVEY RECOVERY EFFORTS."
-- MAYOR TURNER

Incentives for Green Development

Creating Houston's Green Development Incentives is the first step toward achieving a robust green infrastructure program, which includes municipal and private projects.

Through funding from Houston Endowment, the City’s Chief Recovery Office commissioned a one-year study to identify and recommend incentives to encourage the use of green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) in private land development, leading to economic, social, and environmental benefits as well as resilience.

Green infrastructure strives to mimic how rain falls on undeveloped, green landscape.  Typical design elements include green roofs, rain garden bio-retention systems, permeable pavements, rainwater harvesting, urban forests, constructed wetlands and other strategies to manage rainwater. It improves the performance of drainage systems and can make real estate projects safer and more attractive to buyers.

After interviews with cities with GSI programs, external stakeholders, and city leadership, and analysis of costs and benefits, the following incentive programs are recommended:

  • Integrated GSI Development Rules
  • Property Tax Abatements
  • Award and Recognition Program
  • Increased Permitting Process Certainty and Speed

Please see the documents below for more information.

GSI Expedited Permitting Pilot Program

Through this pilot program, the City will work with developers to test, evaluate and formalize the process steps necessary for an expedited review of projects that include nature-based solutions. It aims to pilot a minimum of 10 projects by August 2022, assisting through consolidating and expediting the permitting process for the development projects that it pilots.

GSI Awards and Recognition

This program is intended to recognize some of the most effective and exemplary of “green” building in Houston and encourage more development projects to adopt resilient measures. It sets a format for evaluating projects through an evaluation committee comprised of partners in the resilience and conservation space, and includes specific criteria on which the developments are to be judged.

NOW RECEIVING APPLICATION FOR 2021 AWARDS UNTIL SEPTEMBER 30th, 2021

DIY GSI Sponge Garden

Managing water onsite doesn’t always have to be complex. Natural gardens in our homes play a significant role in storing water, encouraging infiltration, filtering out pollutants and providing a wide-array of co-benefits. In partnership with the Houston Green Building Resource Center, a Sponge Garden guide was created to allow Houstonians to build small gardens to detain or slow down water onsite, prior to reaching the storm sewer system.

GSI Tax Abatement Program

Through this program, an applicant can incorporate GSI in exchange for a tax abatement. For more information on the program, please refer to the documents below.

Incentives for Green Development Report

Click graphic above to read the IGD Report (.pdf). These incentives will be further developed through extensive stakeholder engagement and fully implemented in phases over the timeline proposed in the report.