Ahead of the Curve: Building Energy Use Benchmarking and Performance Standards (BEPS)

How Council Bill 16-21 May Increase the Costs of Owning Commercial, Mixed-Use, and Multi-Family Residential Property in Montgomery County, MD.

By Matthew M. Gordon, Esq.
Partner at Selzer Gurvitch Rabin Wertheimer & Polott, P.C.

With Bill 16-21, the Montgomery County Council (the “Council”) proposes to amend and expand Chapter 18A, the nation’s first energy benchmarking law, approved by the County in 2014. Chapter 18A currently requires, among other things, that owners of County-owned and privately-owned commercial buildings with gross floor areas of 50,000 square feet and above annually track and report building and energy performance details to the County’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

If approved, Bill 16-21 will make Chapter 18A more broadly applicable by reducing the threshold for energy benchmarking and performance standards to County-owned and privately-owned commercial buildings from 50,000 gsf to 25,000 gsf. Bill 16-21 also proposes to apply the energy benchmarking and performance standards to multi-family and mixed-use buildings with a minimum of 25,000 gsf. The legislation would also create a Building Performance Improvement Board and enable DEP to assess penalties or fines if the property owner is determined to be non-compliant in completing specific actions to meet interim or final performance standards. Specific actions required would include efficiency upgrades or replacement of mechanical, lighting or other building systems, costs of which would depend on the baseline performance standards that have yet to be finalized.

Bill 16-21 was crafted after a working group’s review of building energy performance models from various jurisdictions around the country, including the District of Columbia. The proposed legislation is intended to help further the County’s Climate Action Plan goal of zero greenhouse emission by 2035.

Following the introduction of Bill 16-21 by Council President Hucker on behalf of the County Executive in May and a public hearing held in July, the Council’s Transportation and Environment (T&E) Committee will be holding several work sessions in the fall before a final vote is taken by the Council.

View the July 2021 Public Hearing Staff Report on County Council Bill 16-21 »

View the May 2021 Introduction Staff Report for County Council Bill 16-21 »


Let Selzer Gurvitch help you.

If you have concerns or questions relating to the application or potential impacts of Bill 16-21 to your property, please contact Bob Dalrymple, Matt Gordon, or Graham McSweeney.

C. Robert “Bob” Dalrymple, Esq.
Shareholder, Selzer Gurvitch
(301) 634-3148
Matthew M. Gordon, Esq.
Partner, Selzer Gurvitch
(301) 634-3150
Graham G. McSweeney
Paralegal, Selzer Gurvitch
(301) 634-3177


Disclaimer: The information contained in this material is not intended to be considered legal advice and should not be acted upon as such. Because of the generality of this material, the information provided may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without legal advice based on specific factual circumstances.