A Maryland Senate committee has approved a scaled-back version of Senate Bill 528 that extends the first deadline in the timeline for decarbonization of existing buildings to 2035 and removes the requirement for all-electric new construction beginning in 2024.

The Senate bill also requires three studies to advise the General Assembly on building electrification. The Maryland Public Service Commission is charged with studying and making recommendations on the readiness of the electric grid to accommodate building and vehicle electrification as well as rate impacts on utility customers. The Maryland Codes Administration is charged with studying technical barriers and cost-effective methods of reducing carbon emissions in buildings. These studies are due September 1, 2023.

The bill also creates a task force to study and make recommendations on incentives and tax credits to provide financial support for building retrofits. The task force study is due December 1, 2023.

Other major provisions of the Senate bill include:

  • Apartment and commercial buildings larger than 25,000 square feet begin reporting emissions in 2025 using Energy Star Portfolio Manager.
  • The original 2030 deadline for buildings covered by the legislation to reduce direct emissions by 20% is removed.
  • Covered buildings now must reduce direct emissions 30% by 2035 and reach net zero direct emissions by 2040.
  • At both deadlines, building owners have a by-right option to pay an alternative compliance fee for emissions above the threshold.
  • The Maryland Department of Environment will consider building type and use when developing regulations to implement building performance standards.

The bill will be debated on the floor of the Maryland Senate this week and sent to the House of Delegates. The House, Senate and Hogan administration have expressed support for establishing a framework for decarbonization of the buildings sector during this General Assembly session.