Supporting CB5-2023: The Clean New Buildings Climate Act

On January 3, Howard County Councilmember Christiana Rigby introduced a bill requesting a report documenting changes necessary to require electrification of new buildings.

CB5-2023, the Clean New Buildings Climate Act, seeks to ensure that future homes and buildings in Howard county use only electric heat, hot water, and other appliances – not burning fossil fuels and creating greenhouse gasses. This is a big step forward for Howard County, similar to recent policies in DC and Montgomery County.

It’s clear that electrification is a growing trend. So let’s get it done!

EXPLORE THE BENEFITS OF ELECTRIFICATION

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CLIMATE BENEFITS
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HEALTH BENEFITIS
7
ECONOMIC BENEFITS

Did You Know?

Gas stoves are a primary source of combustion pollution inside the home, producing dangerous levels of air pollutants that would violate outdoor standards!

pexels-gary-barnes-6248774

Fossil Fuels are Dirty and Dangerous

Homes with gas stoves have nitrogen dioxide concentrations up to…

0 %

higher than homes with electric stoves!

Gas stoves release the same pollution as an idling car!

Living in a home with a gas stove increases a child’s risk of having asthma by

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Good For the Climate:

  • To achieve HoCo’s climate goals, buildings must meet their heating, cooling, and cooking demands with electricity instead of fossil fuels such as gas, oil, and propane.
  • According to the county greenhouse gas inventory, 11% of the county’s emissions come directly from burning methane gas or propane in furnaces and appliances in buildings. 
  • In addition to the direct greenhouse gas emissions produced from burning gas in furnaces and stoves, the gas also leaks as it makes its way from fracking wells in West Virginia and Pennsylvania into buildings and homes.
  • Worst of all, for 20 years after it is released, methane is 86 times more powerful a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide!
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of Howard County's climate pollution is a result of direct use of gas, heating oil, and propane in buildings -- a fact that will only get worse as the population grows.

Gas stoves are a Primary Source of Pollution Inside the Home

  • .Gas stoves release several hazardous pollutants, notably nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide.
  • Any exposure to nitrogen dioxide can cause respiratory effects.
  • Lower-income households may be at higher risk of exposure to gas stove pollution.
  • Gas stoves leak climate-warming methane even when they’re off. 

Tell your HoCo Councilmembers to electrify Maryland!

CB5-2023: The Clean New Buildings Climate Act

First step towards electrification of most new buildings

Will help meet HoCo's goal of 60% reduction in emissions by 2030

The “Clean New Buildings Climate Act” – CB5-2023 – would determine the county building code changes needed to end the burning of fossil fuels in new buildings and major renovations. This report would be in advance of the next round of building code revisions, in the spring of 2024.

In a state – Maryland – committed to a carbon-free electrical grid in coming years, the Howard County bill guarantees that almost all new buildings will be equipped with electric hot water systems and heat pumps for space heating and cooling, creating a zero-greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions future. 

Economic Benefits:

Electrification is affordable: All-electric buildings are generally cheaper to build and lead to lower, more stable energy bills.

  • Highly efficient and effective electric appliances are readily available to meet the heating, cooling, and cooking demands of Howard County buildings.
  • All-electric new construction is more affordable to build in most cases and generally more affordable to maintain than buildings that use fossil fuels.
  • All-electric new buildings typically have the lowest construction and operating costs.

The Maryland Department of the Environment worked with Energy + Environmental Economics (E3) to model the costs of all-electric new buildings. E3’s Maryland Buildings Decarbonization Study2 found that:

Consumer Costs for New Construction

 

Mixed-Fuel

All-Electric

Annualized Savings

Single-family Residential

$5,500

$3,800

+$1,700

Multifamily Residential

$4,100

$3,400

+$700

Small Commercial

$18,400

$15,500

+$900

Large Commercial

$150,000

$147,000

+$3,000

  • For single-family homes, all-electric homes cost less to construct than new mixed-fuel homes.
    For multifamily buildings, all-electric costs about the same to construct as mixed-fuel buildings.
  • For commercial buildings, all-electric buildings can have higher or lower construction costs than mixed fuel buildings depending on building type and use.
  • At current utility rates, annual energy costs are comparable between homes with electric heat pumps and homes with gas furnaces. Gas rates have risen since the report was issued.
  • Annual energy costs are lower for homes with electric heat pumps than for homes heated by electric resistance, oil, or propane.

All-Electric New Construction:

  • Howard County has the legal authority to require all-electric new construction, according to the State Attorney General’s office.
  • More than 66 jurisdictions across seven states have adopted building electrification policies. New York State is considering a bill to require all-electric new construction statewide; New York City is already phasing out gas in new construction.

The electrification movement is growing in Maryland and nationwide. Howard County should become an early adopter by supporting an all-electric construction code.

VICTORY in neighboring Montgomery County!
DC-Area County of 1 Million People Moves to Eliminate Fossil Fuel Use in New Buildings

Unanimous Vote by Montgomery County Council Sets New Example for Maryland and
Nation as Part of a Growing Trend to 'Electrify Everything' in the Face of Rapid Climate Change

Works Cited:

  • Md. Comm’n on Climate Change, Building Energy Transition Plan, Oct. 11, 2021, available at https://mde.maryland.gov/programs/Air/ClimateChange/MCCC/Documents/2021%20Annual%20Report%20Appendices%20FINAL.pdf.
  • U.S. Energy Info. Admin., Winter Fuels Outlook, Oct. 2021, available at https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/steo/special/winter/2021_Winter_Fuels.pdf. These numbers assume that Maryland adopts E3’s recommendation to pursue high electrification in the residential sector and modest electrification in the commercial sector. These assumptions impact the estimated future cost of gas, electricity, and equipment.
  • American Medical Association Resolution 439, adopted 2022 See RMI, Indoor Air Pollution: the Link between Climate and Health (2020), https://rmi.org/indoor-air-pollution-the-link-between-climate-and-health/;
  • Stanford University Press Release, Stanford scientists find the climate and health impacts of natural gas stoves are greater than previously thought (2022), https://news.stanford.edu/2022/01/27/rethinking-cooking-gas/.

Related News:

  • Download the slide deck: https://ccanactionfund.org/media/Electrify-MD-slides-complete.pdf
  • Download the flyer: https://ccanactionfund.org/media/FINAL-DRAFT-Electrify-MoCo-Now-Flyer-2022.pdf
  • https://www.marylandmatters.org/2022/08/15/opinion-this-federal-bill-is-going-to-supercharge-marylands-energy-transition/
  • https://energynews.us/newsletter/analyses-climate-bill-would-cut-deficit-help-reach-emissions-goal/
  • https://www.sierraclub.org/press-releases/2022/08/dc-mayor-signs-bills-transition-dirty-fuels-power-buildings-clean-electricity
  • https://www.mymcmedia.org/elrich-riemer-announce-bill-to-fully-electrify-new-construction/
  • https://www.mymcmedia.org/elrich-riemer-announce-bill-to-fully-electrify-new-construction//
  • https://bethesdamagazine.com/bethesda-beat/green/county-officials-unveil-legislation-to-require-electricity-as-the-sole-energy-source-for-new-buildings/
  • https://www.marylandmatters.org/2022/05/13/political-notes-more-than-100-state-candidates-sign-carbon-free-electricity-pledge-and-congressional-endorsements/
  • https://www.baltimoresun.com/opinion/op-ed/bs-ed-op-climate-bill-law-20220418-5yvbreegzjdwvlsjnpag6eqyly-story.html
  • https://baltimorefishbowl.com/stories/poll-majority-of-marylanders-support-cutting-greenhouse-gas-emissions-fully-electrifying-new-buildings/

Questions? Contact: doug@chesapeakeclimate.org