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Press Releases - County Council

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, April 19, 2022

ROCKVILLE, Md., April 19, 2022 — Today, the Montgomery County Council unanimously passed legislation introduced by then-Council President Tom Hucker at the request of County Executive Marc Elrich, which will help the County meet its climate goals.

Following the formal declaration of a climate emergency via Resolution 18-974 in 2017, the County has committed to mobilize efforts to restore a safe climate and build a sustainable economy. Its climate goals include reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2027 and reaching 100 percent elimination by 2035. 

Bill 16-21, Environmental Sustainability - Building Energy Use Benchmarking and Performance Standards – Amendments, focuses on energy-efficiency improvements for buildings usage and expands Montgomery County’s environmental benchmarking law to include County-owned, commercial and multifamily buildings to meet long-term energy performance standards.   

The legislation would create a 15-voting member Building Performance Improvement Board that will advise the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on the implementation of building energy performance standards and establish a Building Performance Improvement Plan (BPIP) process for properties that cannot reasonably meet performance standards. The bill also requires reports to the Executive and Council on building energy performance for covered buildings. 

“I want to thank the County Executive for his leadership on this important climate legislation, which will have a huge impact on County-wide efforts in energy conservation,” said Council President Gabe Albornoz, chair of the Health and Human Services (HHS) Committee. “By expanding upon energy conservation and efficiency standards for buildings in Montgomery County, we not only reduce energy use to benefit our public health, we also help reduce our carbon footprint. With this legislation, we hope to create a lasting, positive impact on our County residents and our growing green economy.” 

"This bill, as amended, is a long-overdue step toward addressing the County’s biggest contributors of greenhouse gas emissions -- our building sector," said Councilmember Tom Hucker, who chairs the Transportation and Environment (T&E) Committee. "In combination with the Green Buildings Now Act, this measure will drive reductions in carbon pollution from our built environment and will lead to measurable reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. This will bring us closer to meeting our climate goals." 

Montgomery County encompasses more than 5,000 commercial and multifamily properties covering more than 288 million square feet of rentable building area. As of 2018, commercial and residential buildings account for 50 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in Montgomery County.

DEP reported that the County’s existing benchmarking law covers more than 100 million gross square feet of commercial buildings, which is approximately 700 properties.

However, to meet the County’s Climate Action Plan goal of zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2035, community stakeholders recommended that the County implement policies that go beyond benchmarking. The legislation modifies the Building Energy Performance Standards (BEPS) with a phased-in approach that requires County-owned buildings to meet interim performance standards by 2028 and requiring smaller commercial buildings to start benchmarking energy use beginning June 1, 2023, while multifamily buildings will start June 1, 2024. DEP will also issue regulations on final performance standards for each covered building type by December 2023 for the Council’s approval. 

The staff report on this bill can be found here

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Release ID: 22-167
Media Contact: Sonya Healy 240-777-7926, Lucia Jimenez 240-777-7832