Montgomery County Building Energy Performance Standards (BEPS) Regulations Published in the Montgomery County Register, Comment Period is Open for 30 Days

Per Montgomery County: “Montgomery County announces the publication of the draft Building Energy Performance Standards (BEPS) Executive Regulations in the November 2023 County Register, a necessary component of BEPS implementation.  Built on benchmarking data collected under the Benchmarking Law, BEPS sets a minimum energy performance threshold for existing covered buildings and is a tool that addresses energy performance and drives existing buildings to improve their energy efficiency over a set period, thus reducing carbon emissions.

The public is invited to comment on the draft Executive Regulations during the 30-day comment period ending on November 30, 2023. Pursuant to the BEPS legislation, the County Executive must transmit regulations to implement the law to the County Council by December 31, 2023. The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is responsible for the implementation and enforcement of BEPS.

“As the first County in the country to pass the Benchmarking Law, we have deepened our understanding of energy consumption patterns, and we continue to identify energy-saving opportunities in the building sector,” said Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich. “The BEPS bill, which I signed into law in 2022, expands the County’s benchmarking requirements by setting minimum energy performance standards for existing buildings.  Efficient building electrification will be one of the most effective ways to reduce energy demand and carbon pollution from the built environment as the County tackles its ambitious climate change goals.”

The Executive Regulations establish the following important elements of BEPS implementation:

  • Sets the final energy performance standards and deadlines by building type; that each building must meet by their final performance target date.
  • Establishes a required format for Building Performance Improvement Plans (BPIPs), an alternative compliance pathway for buildings.
  • Provides details on the Renewable Energy Allowance to expand renewable energy installations in the County.
  • Allows for extensions based on building eligibility.

The chart shows the number of buildings and their total square footage covered by the Benchmarking and BEPS Law requirements since the initial passage of the Benchmarking Law.

“Moving forward on the County’s BEPS regulations is a critical step in addressing our climate emergency,” said Montgomery County Climate Change Officer Sarah Kogel-Smucker. “Emissions from the built environment make up 50 percent of our community-wide greenhouse gas inventory, so ensuring our buildings are using energy efficiently, while keeping tenants comfortable and safe, is a top priority for the County.”

In developing the draft BEPS regulations, the County took an innovative approach and appointed community volunteers to an advisory board.

“These volunteer advisors sat on the Building Performance Improvement Board and gave valuable input over the past year,” said Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection Director, Jon Monger. “We thank them for their hard work and collaboration. This kind of engagement is key to our success as we continue to work with people throughout the County to achieve our sustainability goals.”

BEPS is built on the foundation of energy benchmarking – energy benchmarking is a vital process in tracking a building’s annual energy use and comparing it against past performance and peer buildings nationwide. Montgomery County’s Energy Benchmarking Law and Building Energy Performance Standards Law requires building owners with properties measuring 25,000 gross square feet and greater to track energy use using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager.

DEP will continue to use the collected benchmarking information to publish its annual report, providing valuable insights into energy consumption patterns and trends among the reported buildings (Montgomery County’s 2022 Energy Benchmarking Report can be accessed here). Building owners can also use benchmarking data to identify opportunities for energy savings and manage operational costs through consistent data collection and tracking.

Additionally, Montgomery County offers an Energy-Efficient Building Property Tax Credit for Existing Buildings to encourage building owners to improve their energy performance and make progress towards their BEPS targets. to encourage building owners to improve their energy performance and make progress towards their BEPS targets.

Technical Assistance provided by the Montgomery County Green Bank can also help building owners assess the current energy performance of their buildings, identify areas of improvement to meet the BEPS targets and connect to financial incentives and financing, such as the County’s Commercial PACE financing program. Additional incentive programs are offered by the Maryland Energy Administration, as well as the EmPOWER Maryland program offered by building owners’ utility companies. The Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provide additional opportunities to reduce the cost of energy performance upgrades and renewable energy projects.

Written comments on the BEPS Regulations must be submitted by November 30, 2023, to Emily Curley, Department of Environmental Protection / Energy, Climate, Compliance Division, 2425 Reedie Drive, 4th Floor, Wheaton, Maryland, 20902; or by emailing [email protected]. For more information on Montgomery County’s energy initiatives, please visit the DEP Energy Benchmarking website and the DEP BEPS website.”

 

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