On April 19th, the Montgomery County Council voted to pass the Bill 16-21, Building Energy Use Benchmarking and Performance Standards, a huge step toward lowering County greenhouse gas emissions in the buildings sector. County Executive Marc Elrich signed the bill into law on May 2.
Montgomery County is among the first local jurisdictions in the nation to enact this type of legislation.
Major Features of The Law
Bill 16-21 establishes the framework for building energy performance standards (BEPS) that will require buildings over 25,000 gross square feet to meet long-term energy efficiency standards. The bill:
The new law also requires that regulations dictating implementation of BEPS be issued by December 31, 2023. These regulations will establish:
Montgomery County’s Climate Action Plan
Montgomery County’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) is the County’s strategic plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2027 and 100% by 2035. It outlines the path towards achieving these goals among different sectors, including the buildings sector.
Montgomery County encompasses over 5,000 commercial and multifamily properties covering more than 288 million square feet. As of 2018, commercial and residential buildings accounted for 50% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Montgomery County.
The CAP included multiple recommended buildings actions related to BEPS legislation, including action B-3, Establishing an Energy Performance Standard for Existing Commercial and Multifamily Buildings.
The graph above outlines reductions in greenhouse gas emissions needed from new and existing buildings to reach the County’s goals.
Benchmarking and BEPS Timeline
Buildings are grouped based on their floor area and building type:
The benchmarking and BEPS law requires covered buildings to benchmark and report their energy use data before receiving a baseline and phasing into the BEPS requirements. Non-residential buildings 50,000 square feet and larger in Groups 1 and 2 have already been required to benchmark since at least 2016.
Newly covered buildings will begin reporting according to the following schedule:
Each group then moves into the building performance phase and must meet an interim target after 5 years and the long-term standard after 10 years.
FY23 Budget Support
The recommended 2023 budget contains supporting funds for the BEPS program including operating funds to support the BEPS program as well as four new BEPS-focused positions: a multi-family/affordable housing manager; a technical compliance engineer; a stakeholder engagement and outreach manager; and an administrative support staff member. Read about more about the 2023 recommended budget here.
Currently Available Resources
If you are a building owner who anticipates complying with BEPS, check out these presentations and resources for more technical information.
The Department of Environmental Protection will provide updates on BEPS on this webpage and through its Commercial Energy News newsletter (sign up here).
If you have specific questions about BEPS, please email DEP at email@example.com.