The General Assembly committee charged with providing oversight of the regulatory activities of State agencies has officially notified the Maryland Department of Environment (MDE) that it intends to put adoption of the Building Energy Performance Standard regulations on hold.

The request by the Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review (AELR) Committee to hold the regulations follows collaborative work between NAIOP and other industry groups to highlight the challenges presented by the regulations and a briefing to a joint meeting of the House and Senate environment committees by real estate appointees to the Building Energy Transition Implementation Task Force.

“The purpose of the requested delay is to provide the committee with an opportunity to examine more closely a number of issues relating to the economic impact of the regulations,” according to a letter from the AELR Chairs to Gov. Moore. “The committee also wishes to ensure that concerns raised by stakeholders about the regulations are addressed. To this end, the committee encourages the department to work together with the stakeholders to resolve the issues they have raised concerning these regulations.”

The hold period expires March 29, which is 105 days after the initial publication of the regulations. However, MDE officials have indicated they may delay action until May.

During that time, AELR may suggest that MDE make changes to the regulations, but the committee does not have the power to make its own amendments. If no agreement is reached, MDE may adopt the regulations as proposed. Also, at any time during the hold period, the committee may formally vote to oppose adoption of the regulation. In this case, the regulations could only be adopted with the direct approval of the Governor.

NAIOP and other industry groups raised concerns about regulating electricity use through the inclusion of Energy Use Intensity (EUI) limits in the regulations when the General Assembly only authorized MDE to develop a building emissions standard to regulate direct greenhouse gas emissions from buildings.

Emissions and EUI limits were established in the regulations before benchmarking baseline energy use. The emissions and energy use limits presented were far lower at the first 2030 deadline than many building types could achieve.

The regulations fail to follow legislative direction to include accommodations for the unique characteristics of buildings, such as age and use types, and there is no “best efforts” alternative compliance plan for buildings that are difficult to mitigate.

The industry groups that collaborated on the administrative delay continue to work together to address these and other concerns during the hold period.

In addition, NAIOP members should continue to evaluate how the regulations will impact their buildings and prepare for benchmarking and reporting energy use in 2025.