The state is inching closer to finalizing new energy performance standards for large buildings. The draft Building Energy Performance Standards regulation proposes major changes to the state’s building standards and creates significant challenges and costs for existing building owners and businesses. Regulations would apply to covered buildings over 35,000 square feet, like warehouses, office spaces and retail centers. The Climate Solutions Now Act, which became law in 2022, authorized the Maryland Department of the Environment to adopt regulations to reduce net direct greenhouse gas emissions from covered buildings. However, an Energy Use Intensity (EUI) standard was included in the proposed regulation that would count other metrics beyond direct, onsite building emissions — greatly expanding the regulation’s scope. Additionally, if a building owner fails to comply with the EUI standards, they would be subject to penalties of up to $25,000 per day. Stakeholders believe that the intent of the Act is to regulate direct, onsite greenhouse gas emissions, and not include EUI mandates.
What’s next: Large building owners should be prepared for increased costs in new sources of energy and changed practices if this regulation goes into effect as proposed. MDE plans to file the regulations in the Maryland Register this fall to begin the formal adoption process, where there will be additional opportunity for public comment.