Council Enacts Major Climate Emergency Legislation Led by Councilmembers Hucker and Friedson

by Patrick Herron

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Bill 44-21 creates dedicated funding to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the building sector and advance climate goals

ROCKVILLE, Md., Feb. 1, 2022 —Led by Councilmembers Tom Hucker and Andrew Friedson, Bill 44-21, Montgomery County Green Buildings Now Act, was unanimously enacted by the Montgomery County Council. This new legislation sets forth a way for Montgomery County to leverage substantial private sector investment in support of the County’s clean energy and climate mitigation goals by dedicating 10 percent of the County Energy Tax revenues, almost $20 million annually, to the Montgomery County Green Bank. Council President Gabe Albornoz and Councilmembers Hans Riemer, Nancy Navarro, Sidney Katz, Craig Rice and Will Jawando cosponsored the legislation.

The Green Bank helps the County reach its environmental goals by working with lender partners to provide residents and businesses with better loan rates, terms, and credit access for clean energy projects. The Green Bank will leverage the funds in the private and public markets to provide greater access to capital that can support the clean energy financing needs in the County.

Bill 44-21 would require the Green Bank to use 20 percent of the funds allocated by the County in equity emphasis areas and 15 percent of the funds for reducing the cost of energy projects undertaken by property owners. The Bill would also prohibit the use of the County funds after July 1, 2023, to fund new mechanical energy equipment that uses fossil fuels or the equipment that upgrades the efficiency of existing mechanical energy equipment that uses fossil fuels. Furthermore, the Bill would require the Director of the Department of Environmental Protection to submit a report to the Council and the Executive on or before May 1, 2023 estimating the cost of converting fossil fuel mechanical energy equipment to electric power.

In addition, the Green Bank’s Board of Directors must provide an annual report to the Council and the Executive by Dec. 31 on the activities and finances of the Green Bank. The report must include details about the use and fund balance of County funds.

“We will never meet our ambitious climate goals without dedicated funding and a concerted partnership with our private sector,” said Councilmember Hucker, who chairs the Transportation and Environment Committee. “This bill will allow the Green Bank to invest millions to green our infrastructure and provide upfront capital for property owners to make critical energy efficiency improvements. This will spark a real and vigorous effort to make much-needed retrofits in our older buildings.”

“We know there’s significant interest in energy efficient projects and a dire need given our climate crisis. This law will help address the lack of resources which too often prevents progress so we can help those who want to reduce their carbon footprint but lack the capacity to do so,” said Councilmember Andrew Friedson, who serves as the Lead for Parks on the Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee. “By working collaboratively with residents and businesses and utilizing the unique strength and competency of the Montgomery County Green Bank, we can bridge the gaps that exist in the marketplace and build a greener future together.”

More information on Bill 44-21 can be found here.

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