​​​​​​​Landmark New Building Electrification Legislation Passed in Montgomery County

Landmark New Building Electrification Legislation Passed in Montgomery County

Comprehensive Building Decarbonization Bill passed with amendments

Electrify Rally 2022

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On November 29th, the Montgomery County Council voted unanimously to pass Bill 13-22, Buildings – Comprehensive Building Decarbonization, which will require the County Executive to issue all-electric building standards for new construction by Dec. 31, 2026.

The bill passed despite opposition from gas utilities, trade associations, business and other groups who made several attempts to weaken the legislation. Montgomery County is one of the first counties in Maryland to join many other cities in which have adopted similar legislation to ban gas.

All-electric building standards are a critical step for the county to move forward towards its climate goals to achieve zero-greenhouse gas emissions by ensuring future construction is electrified. This policy will help transition away from combustion of methane and other harmful gasses that are damaging the planet and adversely affect the health and quality of life for our community.

The bill that was passed by the Council’s Planning, Housing, and Economic Development (PHED) Committee was weakened by amendments proposed on the last day of the final session.

The amendments that were adopted in the legislation will exempt hospitals, wastewater treatment plants, crematories, facilities needing emergency backup systems and high-energy industrial and commercial cooking facilities.

The amendments also struck out major renovations and new additions to buildings from the all-electric requirements and pushed compliance requirements out until 2027 for affordable housing projects, public and private schools, and residential buildings of four or more stories. Gas fireplaces and outdoor grills were also exempted. 

Sierra Club worked with a coalition of allies including nearly two dozen local and state, climate, and interfaith groups that advocated for strong legislation. Sierra Club appreciates them for being incredible partners, bringing in diverse skills and resources.

Thanks to County Executive Marc Elrich for introducing the original legislation and sending a letter asking the county council to reject the weakening amendments introduced at the last session.

Thanks to the bill sponsors Councilmembers Riemer and Jawando for their leadership on this legislation, the PHED Committee and to the full council for voting unanimously to pass this bill. We eagerly wait and urge for implementation of this bill to take effect sooner than later.

Thanks to all our members and supporters who wrote emails and made calls to the councilmembers in response to our action alert. We appreciate your continued support and advocacy efforts. Together we made a difference.

Shruti Bhatnagar, Chair
Sierra Club Montgomery County Group
Shruti.bhatnagar@mdsierra.org | 240.498.3459

Relevant Press:

  1. Maryland’s Largest County Just Banned Gas Appliances in Most New Buildings—But Not Without Some Concessions - Inside Climate News
  2. DC-area county spurs electrification of future buildings | Utility Dive
  3. This county is the first on the US East Coast to ban natural gas (electrek.co) - "Montgomery County will require all new construction to only use electric energy equipment. Montgomery County, which is just north of Washington, DC, has a population of just over 1 million, so this is an impactful decision for the region."