MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. — The votes are in and the Montgomery County Council unanimously decided to pass a bill that would require new construction to use 100% electric energy equipment beginning in 2026.
Bill 13-22, Buildings – Comprehensive Building Decarbonization, will require the County Executive to issue all-electric building standards for new construction by Dec. 31, 2026. The legislation has been called the first of its kind in Maryland.
The decision comes after the county saw two gas explosions within eight months. The most recent of the two incidents, which happened on Nov. 16, left 14 people injured after what firefighters stated was a gas-fed fire and explosion in Gaithersburg.
Though this might not have been the catalyst for the decision, the bill's goal will be to make buildings safer for residents.
“This legislation, combined with cleaning up the electricity grid and retrofitting existing buildings, will bend the curve on emissions from our building sector, which produce over 50% of our total emissions,” Councilmember Hans Riemer said. “Fully electric buildings are less costly to operate over the life cycle of the building and healthier for indoor air quality since they do not produce carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide as byproducts, pollutants that have been shown to contribute to asthma in children and disproportionately affect communities of color. Montgomery County will now be a national leader in the push for electrification as a solution for climate change.”
The legislation ensures buildings are built for a decarbonized energy future and addresses the county's biggest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. The all-electric requirements will require systems in new construction to use electricity, rather than fossil fuels, according to a news release. When paired with renewable energy, all-electric systems have zero emissions, save money and improve indoor air quality in buildings and homes.
The bill will include exemptions for emergency backup systems and certain uses such as manufacturing, crematories, life sciences and commercial kitchens.
The Council supported the bill with amendments, which extended the effective date for most new construction to Dec. 31, 2026, and to Dec. 31, 2027, for construction on income-restricted residential units, residential buildings with four or more stories, and private and public schools.