Montgomery County approves bill to ban fossil fuel use in most new buildings

The Montgomery County, Maryland, Council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve the Comprehensive Building Decarbonization bill, which will ban fossil fuels, such as gas heating, from almost all newly-constructed buildings by 2026.

There are exceptions. The ban will not apply to hospitals or other facilities that need emergency backup systems, such as generators, or buildings that need commercial cooking facilities.

It does guarantee that almost all new buildings will be equipped with electric hot water systems and heat pumps.

The legislation faced opposition from several trade associations and business groups, and had the support of two dozen citizens groups representing Montgomery County.

“We’ve taken a giant step toward cleaner buildings and a better climate today. We are confident that other Maryland counties will follow our lead,” said Council member and bill sponsor Hans Riemer (D-At Large).

The D.C. Council recently passed a similar bill to require all-electric buildings by 2026; however, the Construction Codes Coordinating Board, a voluntary board that creates amendments for D.C. building codes, rejected the proposal in October. It will likely take it up again. The legislation passed by the D.C. Council still requires builders to adopt the all-electric regulations, regardless of the codes board outcome.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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