Montgomery County Passes Building Energy Performance Standards Legislation

CE Signs BEPS bill
April 15, 2022
  |   1 Comment

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.

CE Signs BEPS bill

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:

  1. Expands the number of buildings covered by the energy benchmarking law which requires buildings to report energy use data to DEP by June 1st each year. Bill 16-21 drops the coverage threshold from 50,000 gross square feet down to 25,000 gross square feet and adds multifamily buildings and warehouses into the reporting requirement.
  2. Establishes a timeline and framework for buildings energy performance standards that phases covered buildings into a long-term, site energy use intensity target by building type.
  3. Allows for Building Performance Improvement Plans (BPIPs) for buildings that cannot reasonably meet standards due to financial infeasibility or other circumstances outside of owners’ control.
  4. Creates a Building Performance Improvement Board made up of 15 members appointed by the County Executive that will advise the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on the implementation of building energy performance standards.
    • If you are a Montgomery County resident or if your organization does business in Montgomery County, we welcome you to apply for the Building Performance Improvement Board. You may access information regarding boards, committees, and commissions, including new application instructions here. The deadline for application is June 10, 2022.

The new law also requires that regulations dictating implementation of BEPS be issued by December 31, 2023. These regulations will establish:

  • The numerical site energy use intensity targets that each building type will have to meet,
  • How renewable energy is credited towards BEPS compliance,
  • Details about the BPIP parameters, format, and documentation requirements
  • Treatment of “under-resourced buildings” such as affordable housing, non-profit owned buildings, and small businesses.

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.

CAP building strategies

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:

BEPS coverage

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:

  • Group 3 and 4 will begin reporting CY 2022 data by June 1, 2023
  • Group 5 will begin reporting CY 2023 data by June 1, 2024

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.

BEPS timeline

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 energy@montgomerycountymd.gov.



One comment on "Montgomery County Passes Building Energy Performance Standards Legislation"

  1. Stephen Taylor says:

    I wonder if heat from huge asphalt parking lots around buildings that don’t have underground parking is more of a heat issue than the building itself. I want legislation on office parks for hospitals and offices, examples of which are easily found in suburban Montgomery County. The water runoff is an issue as is the heat from the parking lots.

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