Important Updates Regarding BEPS Implementation in Montgomery County

Montgomery County introduced BEPS legislation (Bill 16-21) during the May 4th County Council session. This legislation was proposed to mitigate emissions in new and existing commercial and multifamily buildings in response to the county’s 2017 declaration of a climate emergency. This landmark piece of legislation will also help the county accelerate its climate goals to achieve carbon neutrality by 2035.

Benchmarking Law

One goal of the proposed legislation is to expand the buildings covered by the Benchmarking Law. Under the current law, county-owned buildings and non-residential properties are covered if they are 50,000 gross square feet or more. However, amendments would phase in the newly covered buildings as outlined in the table below.

Group 3
Additional County-Owned Buildings 25,000-50,000 SF
Additional Non-Residential Properties 25,000-50,000 SF
Group 4
Larger Multi-Family Properties 250,000+ SF
Group 5
Smaller Multi-family Properties 25,000-250,000 SF

The proposed amendment to the Benchmarking Law would increase the covered buildings from 114M SF to approximately 220M SF and the commercial floor area coverage from 40% to 85%.

How Does Montgomery County’s legislation compare to others across the country?

Graphic courtesy of the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection

Unlike the BEPS program in Washington, D.C., Montgomery County’s proposed legislation will regulate the minimum threshold performance based on site energy use intensity (EUI) rather than ENERGY STAR score. The coverage minimum has also been set at 25K SF for commercial and multi-family buildings, and properties will be evaluated every four years to determine whether they are meeting the interim targets defined in regulation. Comparatively, the District’s building coverage begins at 10K SF for commercial and multi-family buildings, which are assessed for compliance every five years.

BEPS Timeline and Compliance

Graphic courtesy of the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection

Initially, newly covered properties will benchmark for three years before phasing into the BEPS program. Once a property has phased in, it will report on interim targets every 4 years. If a property cannot meet interim or final performance standards, the county will accept a Building Performance Improvement Plan (BPIP). Owners completing actions in the BPIP timeline will be considered in compliance. If a property owner does not meet the BEPS target or have an approved BPIP, the building will be classified as non-compliant and subject to a Poor Performance Payment (PPP).

There are still many remaining items and details to be determined in regulation, which will be communicated in real-time updates on the BEPS website.

What’s Next?

A public hearing is scheduled for 1:30pm on Tuesday, July 20, 2021. To submit a verbal or written testimony, click here.

For the full update from the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection, review the June 3rd presentation. For a general overview of the BEPS legislation, visit the Montgomery County Website.