Council Passes Maryland’s First Comprehensive Building Decarbonization Legislation; Bill Would Require New Construction to Use 100 Percent Electric Energy Equipment Beginning in 2026

by Patrick Herron

Per Montgomery County: The Montgomery County Council voted unanimously today to pass Bill 13-22, Buildings – Comprehensive Building Decarbonization, which will require the County Executive to issue all-electric building standards for new construction by Dec. 31, 2026.  The legislation, introduced by Councilmember Hans Riemer and cosponsored by Councilmember Will Jawando, is the first of its kind in Maryland. 

“This legislation, combined with cleaning up the electricity grid and retrofitting existing buildings, will bend the curve on emissions from our building sector, which produce over 50 percent of our total emissions,” said Councilmember Riemer. “Fully electric buildings are less costly to operate over the life cycle of the building and healthier for indoor air quality since they do not produce carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide as byproducts, pollutants that have been shown to contribute to asthma in children and disproportionately affect communities of color. Montgomery County will now be a national leader in the push for electrification as a solution for climate change.”

“Electrifying Montgomery County is a crucial step toward addressing our climate crisis,” said Councilmember Jawando. “Under Bill 13-22, new construction will be cheaper to build, cheaper to operate and safer for residents. This bill is truly a win-win for our environment, our residents and our future.” The legislation ensures the County’s buildings are built for a decarbonized energy future and addresses the County’s biggest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, which come from its building sector. 

The all-electric requirements will require systems and processes in new construction to use electricity, rather than fossil fuels. When paired with renewable energy, all-electric systems have zero emissions, save money and improve indoor air quality in buildings and homes.  Bill 13-22 includes exemptions for emergency backup systems and certain uses such as manufacturing, crematories, life sciences and commercial kitchens. In addition, income-restricted housing and schools have an extended timeline. 

The Council supported the bill with amendments, which extended the effective date for most new construction to Dec. 31, 2026, and to Dec. 31, 2027, for construction on income-restricted residential units, residential buildings with 4 or more stories, and private and public schools. 

The staff report can be viewed here. 

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