Marylanders Show Overwhelming, Bipartisan Support for Better Buildings and Climate Safe Homes

Marylanders want healthier, more resilient homes and Maryland’s General Assembly has the opportunity to deliver those by passing the
Better Buildings Act and the EmPOWER Maryland Energy Efficiency Act. That’s according to a new statewide representative poll commissioned by CCAN Action Fund. The poll found:

  • Overall, 82% of respondents believe Marylanders deserve homes that are built to the highest standards to stabilize energy bills
  • 80% in support of the Better Buildings Act in order to maximize energy efficiency and require the latest clean energy technologies such as heat pumps to stabilize energy bills and deliver cleaner air
  • 81% in support of strengthening EmPOWER to help lower the cost of highly efficient heat pumps 

These bills can deliver healthier air by supercharging the adoption of heat pumps. Pollution-free, electric heat pumps are highly efficient and provide both heating & cooling, keeping households comfortable year-round.  

Heat pumps can also help solve for the worsening air quality facing Marylanders today, as fossil fuel heating equipment like gas furnaces and water heaters are a hidden and massive source of health-harming air pollution. In fact, a recent report found fossil fuel heating equipment emits three times as much smog-forming nitrogen dioxide (NOx) pollution as all of the state’s power plants combined. 

Our poll found that air pollution is top of mind for many voters, and nearly half (49%) believe air pollution has gotten worse in the last five years. Everyone deserves to breathe healthy air, and by passing these bills, Maryland can help standardize the adoption of heat pumps in new buildings & make it easier for existing residents to adopt this highly efficient clean air technology. 

These bills will help the state meet its climate targets and also help Maryland achieve its recent commitment alongside eight other states to ensure that heat pumps meet 65% of all HVAC sales by 2060 and 90% by 2040. 

Heat pumps can deliver more than just healthier air across the state, it can also help save them on energy costs. When highly efficient heat pumps are installed alongside practices to maximize energy efficiency, such as building to a higher quality standard and weatherization and sealing, household energy consumption and bills can stabilize and even drop. Our poll found more than 4 out of 5 voters (82%) favored quality construction codes and clean energy technologies that can maximize energy efficiency and reduce energy bills.  

In addition to saving you money, quality buildings are necessary to protect residents against extreme heat events. According to our poll, 82% of voters believe that “all Marylanders deserve access to cooling in their homes so they can stay safe and healthy during life-threatening extreme heat events.” Building to these health and safety codes can provide greater climate resilience against extreme heat and protect residents from dangerous outdoor temperatures for days at a time, even during a power outage. In fact, a recent study commissioned by the U.S. Department of Energy found that building to the latest code can double the amount of time households can shelter in place during a power outage. 

The Better Buildings Act would directly address this concern by ensuring our homes are built for the future, not the past – something 83% of those polled agreed with. 

Our homes and buildings are oftentimes our first line of defense against the growing threat of climate challenges. From extreme heat and extreme cold to wildfire smoke, ensuring our homes use the latest quality construction codes with highly efficient electric equipment can stabilize our energy bills, lower our climate-warming emissions, and ensure our children get to grow up in homes built to withstand whatever challenges the future may bring.