Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich this week announced that the County has committed to inclusively design and implement building performance standards and complementary policies and programs. The commitment will drive investment into building retrofits and good-paying jobs that create healthier buildings and lower housing and energy costs.
Montgomery County joined forces with state and local governments across the country—including in Prince George’s County, Annapolis and Washington, D.C.—in the National Building Performance Standard (BPS) Coalition. It is a collaboration launched by the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Building performance standards paired with complementary programs and policies will enable the meeting of health, equity and climate goals.
“Montgomery County is honored to join this impressive group of local and state leaders working toward smart, achievable goals to reduce greenhouse gases by implementing innovative and equitable building performance standards,” said County Executive Elrich. “We are already on this path, having submitted legislation to the Montgomery County Council in April 2021 that will expand the number of buildings covered by the County’s Benchmarking Law and require the use of less energy in public and private multifamily and commercial buildings. We have also improved our requirements for new buildings, and in 2021, we adopted the ambitious Montgomery County Climate Action Plan. That is our County’s strategic roadmap to reduce our community-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2027 and 100 percent by 2035 using a racial equity and social justice lens."
Upgrading and retrofitting buildings to increase clean energy sources and reduce overall energy use can dramatically reduce harmful emissions. Energy retrofits and upgrades also can be leveraged to concurrently improve a building’s health and resilience for its occupants and surrounding community while generating jobs and increased local economic investment.
Through the coalition, Montgomery County is committing to increase community and local stakeholder engagement to co-design building performance standards and complementary policies and programs. This will be done with the goal of advancing legislation or regulation, with adoption by Earth Day 2024.
“We are eager for the opportunity to support city and state leaders representing the vanguard of innovative climate policy and joining this National Building Performance Standards Coalition. Members of this groundbreaking coalition will help drive new jobs to make existing buildings across the country more efficient, affordable, healthier and resilient, and will deliver equitable benefits across their jurisdictions,” said Mark Chambers, senior director for Building Emissions and Community Resilience at the White House Council on Environmental Quality.
Adriana Hochberg, Montgomery County’s climate change officer and acting director for the Department of Environmental Protection, said: “Joining the BPS Coalition is an important step toward achieving our climate goals and demonstrates the importance of peer jurisdiction collaboration both within Maryland and nationwide. Together, we will co-create innovative approaches to reducing the climate impact of the built environment through energy efficiency and electrification while also ensuring energy affordability, improved indoor air quality, and equitable community engagement.”
In pursuing our commitments as a member of the National BPS Coalition, Montgomery County will be able to leverage technical support via federal agencies including the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency.
For more information about the coalition, visit www.nationalBPSCoalition.org. To learn more about Montgomery County’s progress toward establishing a Building Energy Performance Standard, visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov/green/energy/beps.html.