Building Energy Performance Standards

 

Building Energy Performance Standards is Signed Into Law

 

Current Status: April 19, 2022. Bill 16-21 was unanimously passed by the County Council. View the County Executive’s statement on the passage. Executive regulations related to bill 16-21 implementation will be issued no later than December 31, 2023. Contact Energy@MontgomeryCountyMD.gov if you are interested in having DEP present on BEPS.

 

In December 2017, Montgomery County declared a climate emergency and accelerated our community-wide climate goals to be carbon neutral by 2035. The residential and commercial building sectors combine to contribute 50% of greenhouse gas emissions in Montgomery County. The County is proposing a variety of programs and policies to mitigate emissions in new and existing buildings, including a Building Energy Performance Standard for commercial and multifamily buildings.

Download the BEPS one-pager (PDF 1.4MB) or BEPS Frequently Asked Questions (PDF 376KB) for an overview.

Quick Links

 

What is BEPS?

Building Energy Performance Standards (BEPS) are policies that establish performance levels for buildings and drive all buildings that BEPS covers to achieve these levels in the long-term with required progress at regular intervals in the interim. A BEPS sets a minimum threshold for energy performance for existing buildings, which are based on and measured against a building’s demonstrated energy performance, as shown in their benchmarking data. See IMT’s primer on BEPS.

 

Stakeholder Workgroup

In early 2020, DEP engaged stakeholders in a working group to vet policy elements of a Building Energy Performance Standard. Participants included the commercial and multifamily building communities and those that serve them including advocacy groups, utilities, energy contractors, and County government representatives. During the stakeholder work session meetings, attendees reviewed building performance policy models adopted by other jurisdictions, including Washington, DC, New York City, and St. Louis, and developed recommendations on a BEPS policy that balances the challenges of a climate emergency with the realities of the County’s varied building stock.

In pursuing building energy performance standards, Montgomery County was one of four jurisdictions selected for the 2020 cohort of the City Energy Project, a national initiative from the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Institute for Market Transformation that supports innovative, practical solutions that cut energy waste, boost local economies, and reduce harmful pollution. In Montgomery County, the City Energy Project technical support team has assisting in the development and implementation of the first-ever BEPS policy at the county level.

Learn more about BEPS and review the Stakeholder Recommendation Report (September 2020)

 

Policy Elements of BEPS in Montgomery County

The County’s BEPS legislation incorporates the following components:

BEPS POLICY OVERVIEW

  • The County has developed BEPS that aligns with goals for climate and racial/social equity, balances flexibility with immediate action, provides certainty and transparency for building owners and tenants, and spurs jobs and economic growth. 
  • Covered buildings are grouped by building type and a long-term performance standard is created for each building type. 
  • After 5 years, buildings are evaluated as to whether they are meeting the interim target: calculated as straight line from baseline to final standard. 
BEPS Trajectory Model

BUILDING PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT PLANS

  • If a building cannot reasonably meet the Interim or Final Performance Standards due to economic infeasibility or other circumstances beyond the owner’s control, the County can accept a Building Performance Improvement Plan 
  • The owner must meet the actions and timelines in an approved Building Performance Improvement Plan to be considered “in compliance” 
  • Plans are reviewed by an Advisory Board with technical expertise

METRIC

The stakeholder work group recommends that the metric buildings are measured against is Normalized Site Energy Use Intensity (EUI), a measure of how efficiently a building is using energy relative to its size. The benefits of using this metric include:
  • Measuring energy use directly controlled by the building owner
  • Easy to understand
  • Can be normalized for weather and operations
  • Readily available in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager for reporting, which is consistent with Benchmarking Law requirements
  • Favors electrification—a key strategy for reducing community-wide GHG emissions
The County also plans to provide a renewable energy allowance as “credit” towards the performance target. Learn more in the BEPS Presentations and Resources.

COVERED BUILDINGS 

As the benchmarking program phases in various buildings by their square footage over time, buildings will be added to the BEPS program in following groups:
  • County buildings and Groups 1 & 2: currently covered by Benchmarking Law: County and private-owned nonresidential buildings 50,000 gross square feet and larger;
  • Group 3: County and privately-owned nonresidential buildings 25,000 to 50,000 gross square feet, and buildings previously exempted by the Benchmarking Law;
  • Group 4: Residential buildings 250,000 gross square feet and greater;
  • Group 5: Residential buildings 25,000 to 250,000 gross square feet.

TIMING

BEPS Timing
  • 2022: Legislation passes; establish Advisory Board
  • 2023: Issue regulations; establish BEPS baselines for County, Groups 1 & 2 buildings through regulation; Group 3 & 4 submits first benchmarking reports
  • 2024: Group 5 submits first benchmarking reports
  • 2028: Interim BEPS standard for County, Groups 1 & 2 buildings
  • 2030: Interim BEPS standard for Group 3 & 4 buildings
  • 2031: Interim BEPS standard for Group 5 buildings
  • 2033: Final BEPS standard for County, Groups 1 & 2 buildings
  • 2035: Final BEPS standard for Group 3 & 4 buildings
  • 2036: Final BEPS standard for Group 5 buildings
 

BEPS Legislative Process

On May 2, 2022 County Executive Elrich signed Bill 16-21 into law ( recording of the bill signing event). The Bill will take effect on July 31, 2022, 90 days after signing.

The BEPS legislation ( Bill 16-21) was introduced during the May 4, 2021 County Council session. The Council held a public hearing on the bill on July 20, 2021. View the written testimony submitted on Bill 16-21.

The first Council Transportation & Environment Committee work session on BEPS occurred on October 28, 2021 ( staff packet / slides (PDF, 1.49MB) /  recording). The second work session occurred on December 9, 2021 ( staff packet / slides (PDF, 648KB) / recording).

On January 21, 2022, Montgomery County joined forces with state and local governments across the country in the White House Council on Environmental Quality’s National Building Performance Standard (BPS) Coalition. Through the coalition, Montgomery County commits to increase community and local stakeholder engagement to co-design BPS and complementary policies and programs with the goal of adopting BPS programs by Earth Day 2024. See the County’s announcement.
On April 1, 2021, the County Executive transmitted the Building Energy Performance Standard legislation to the Council. Download the full transmittal memorandum and legislative package (PDF, 2.4MB). See the Office of Legislative Oversight's Racial Equity and Social Justice Impact Statement on Bill 16-21. See the Office of Legislative Oversight’s Economic Impact Statement on Bill 16-21.

On March 14, 2022, the T&E Committee received a briefing on the BEPS Technical Report ( staff packet / slides (PDF, 709KB)) and held a third work session on BEPS ( staff packet / recording of briefing and work session).

On March 28, 2022, the T&E Committee reviewed amendments to bill 16-21 ( staff packet (PDF, 709KB)) and held a final work session on BEPS ( recording of work session). The T&E Committee unanimously voted Bill 16-21 out of committee and Bill 16-21 will go before the full Council for review and final votes.

On April 19, 2022, County Council voted unanimously to pass bill 16-21, Environmental Sustainability - Building Energy Use Benchmarking and Performance Standards - Amendments ( staff packet (PDF, 12,896KB)). Regulations will be issued by December 31, 2023.
 

Building Performance Improvement Board (BEPS Advisory Board)

The Building Performance Improvement Board is made of up 15 voting members who will advise on implementation of building energy performance standards (BEPS). You can read more about the board membership, terms, procedures, duties and responsibilities in the final law, under section “18A-42A. Building Performance Improvement Board.”
Visit the Building Performance Improvement Board site for information about the board and upcoming meetings.

 

Future Regulations

While the proposed legislation outlines the parameters of BEPS and creates a framework, some facets will be set via regulation to be established at a later date (by December 31, 2023). These include:

  • Building type groupings with shared characteristics that facilitate the implementation and enforcement of BEPS;
  • Numerical performance standards for each building type; Required format for BPIPs;
  • Parameters for economic feasibility or other factors that will dictate circumstances under which BPIPs will be allowed; and
  • Adjustments or extensions for all buildings and those specific to under-resourced building sectors, such as affordable housing, small businesses, houses of worship, and non-profits.
 

BEPS Technical Report

Steven Winter Associates, in close coordination with the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection, completed this BEPS technical report which provides the following information to inform regulations that will follow Bill 16-21:

  • A review of the building stock and energy benchmarking information of Montgomery County and development of an approximate list of buildings projected to be subject to a BEPS policy. This building stock was separated into building types to set technically feasible site EUI targets.
  • A recommended method for setting building performance standards, what the targets can be, and the estimated impacts of meeting those targets.
  • Case studies detailing how different energy performance standards can be achieved for a representative sample of buildings. 
  • An estimate of the total capital investment to reach the standards, which would inform both the cost to building owners and the level of economic impact of the recommended standards.

BEPS Technical Report Files:

 

BEPS Presentations and Resources

BEPS Laws and Regulations
Bill 16-21 Presentations (Pre-Adoption)
View BEPS Solar and Renewable Energy Allowance information:

 

Next Steps

DEP created the Building Performance Improvement Board (BPIB) which advises the Department on regulation development and BEPS implementation. No later than December 31, 2023, the County Executive must issue Method (2) regulations that further dictate BEPS implementation.

DEP will provide updates on BEPS on this webpage and through its Commercial Energy News newsletter. If you have specific questions about BEPS, please email DEP