Maryland to Propose Building Energy Performance Standards

The Maryland Department of the Environment ("MDE") will publish proposed rules limiting greenhouse gas ("GHG") emissions from covered buildings and requiring covered building owners to submit detailed energy performance benchmarking reports beginning 2025.

MDE is set to publish proposed Building Energy Performance Standards ("BEPS") on December 15, 2023. Covered buildings must: 

  • Reduce by 20% net direct GHG emissions by 2030, as compared with 2025 levels for average buildings of similar construction;
  • Reduce by 40% net GHG emissions by 2035; and
  • Achieve net-zero direct GHG emissions by 2040. 

The BEPS will be open for public comment until 10:00 a.m. January 18, 2024. While not yet finalized, the rules are drafted to apply retroactively effective January 1, 2024.  

Covered Buildings  

"Covered Buildings" are 35,000 square feet or larger, excluding parking garage areas. Historic buildings, public and nonpublic elementary and secondary schools, manufacturing buildings, and agricultural buildings are exempt. 

Reporting Requirement  

A Covered Building owner must submit a benchmarking report reflecting all required emissions data to MDE by June 1 of each year, beginning in 2025. This means that Covered Building owners must begin collecting emissions data beginning January 1, 2024 (covering emissions data from January 1, 2024, to December 31, 2024). 

Benchmarking information includes certain operating characteristics, information obtained via ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager (including energy consumption, efficiency, and performance information), and certain information that tenants must report to Covered Building owners. 

Benchmarking reports are subject to third-party verification every five years beginning in 2025 (benchmarking report due 2026).  

Exclusions and Exemptions  

Reporting obligations exclude sub-metered and separately metered energy consumption data for:  

  • Food service facilities that engage in commercial cooking and water heating;
  • Electric vehicle charging;
  • Electricity uses excluded from site energy by the benchmarking tool; and
  • Certain emissions from required combustion equipment. 

Covered Building owners may be exempt from benchmarking and performance standards if they are in financial distress or if the Covered Building was not occupied or was demolished in a reporting year. The BEPS also provide relaxed requirements for affordable housing providers. 

How to Prepare  

Covered Building owners should ensure that internal data collection processes are in place by January 1, 2024, to measure and collect all required carbon emissions data to be reported to MDE and promptly inform tenants that they will be required to provide certain benchmarking information. Covered Building owners should also familiarize themselves with the proposed BEPS once released, the ENERGY STAR benchmarking tools, and the Technical Guidance and Calculation Methodologies to Comply with Building Energy Performance Standards published by the state.

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