Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich Champions Legislation That Would Make County First in Nation to Establish ‘BEPS’ Energy Saving Standards for Buildings
Per Montgomery County:
For Immediate Release: Monday, July 19, 2021
Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich has proposed new legislation (Bill 16-21) that will expand the number of buildings covered by the County’s Benchmarking Law and require the use of less energy. County Department of Environmental Protection Director Adam Ortiz will testify on the bill on behalf of County Executive Elrich at public hearing before the County Council at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 20. If the bill is approved, Montgomery will become the first county in the nation to establish a Building Energy Performance Standards (BEPS) policy that sets a minimum energy performance threshold for existing buildings.
County Executive Elrich’s backing of the innovative bill supports the County’s climate goals and is a foundational policy in the County’s Climate Action Plan. Bill 16-21 will modify the County’s current Benchmarking Law to include additional County-owned, commercial and multifamily buildings and establish long-term BEPS for those buildings.
The public can sign up to testify at Tuesday’s public hearing by going to https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/council/phsignup.html. There is currently a wait list, but members of the public can submit written or pre-recorded testimony for the Council’s consideration.
“Energy use in the building sector is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in Montgomery County, representing almost 50 percent of total community-wide emissions,” said County Executive Elrich. “As highlighted in the recently released Climate Action Plan, BEPS is one of the most powerful policy tools available to drive energy improvements and emission reductions in existing buildings. If we’re serious about tackling the County’s Climate Emergency, then BEPS is a necessary step to achieving our goals of zero GHG emissions by 2035.”
Montgomery County currently has more than 5,000 commercial and multifamily properties that cover more than 288 million square feet of rentable building area. The County’s commercial building stock is primarily made up of office, multifamily and retail buildings. Commercial buildings account for 26 percent of community-wide greenhouse gas emissions in the County.
“This is thoughtful legislation drafted after years of consultation with building owners and efficiency experts,” said DEP Director Ortiz. “With advances in technology and smart policies, BEPS is a critical step to meeting the urgency of the climate crisis.”
The new BEPS legislation would cover commercial and multifamily buildings that are 25,000 gross square feet and greater. It would require building owners to meet targets to improve energy performance, balances flexibility and certainty for owners with immediate action required by the County’s climate goals and offers technical assistance for building owners.
County Executive Elrich unveiled his Climate Action Plan on June 23. The plan will guide the County toward its goals of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 80 percent by 2027 and by 100 percent by 2035 compared to 2005 levels. The Montgomery climate plan, which will increase resilience in the face of climate hazards, is one of the most ambitious climate plans in the nation for a local government. The details of the plan can be found at www.MontgomeryCountyMD.gov/climate.
For more information on BEPS, visit https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/green/energy/beps.html.
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