On Sept. 3, the Maryland Department of Environment released a draft pathway to decarbonize buildings by 2045. Major policy provisions in the draft include:

  • An all-electric building/energy code applied to new construction beginning in 2024 with a cost-effectiveness test for commercial construction;
  • A clean heat standard that would incrementally reduce the carbon intensity of gas and delivered fuels until reaching net-zero in 2045; and
  • A restructuring and scaling up of EmPower Maryland incentives and tax credit programs to achieve a simple payback of three to seven years for decarbonization projects.

The draft’s major policy provisions also include a technology neutral, on-site carbon emissions standard for existing buildings. Implementing that standard would involve:

  • reporting and tracking building emissions beginning in 2025;
  • building owners would submit draft decarbonization plans by 2030;
  • final decarbonization plans would be due in 2035;
  • state buildings would achieve net-zero on-site carbon emissions by 2040; and
  • privately owned buildings would achieve net-zero on-site carbon emissions by 2045.

Both the Hogan Administration and leaders in the General Assembly have endorsed reaching economy-wide net zero emissions by 2045. Policies to transform how utilities generate power and accelerate the transition to electric automobiles have been set in motion. Direct energy use in buildings generates 13% of state-wide carbon emissions and the goals set by the General Assembly cannot be met without eliminating emissions from buildings by mid-century. Legislators are expected to debate legislation to implement a pathway to decarbonize buildings when the General Assembly reconvenes in January.

MDE requested comments by Friday, Sept. 10. The draft is under review by NAIOP-MD staff and has been distributed to members with expertise in energy and sustainability. Readers of NAIOP 360 with questions or comments should contact Tom Ballentine, NAIOP V.P. for Policy at tom.ballentine@naiop-md.org or 410-977-2053.

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