We have the ability to power our society with 100% renewable energy from the sun, the wind and the warmth of the Earth. One step to realizing that vision is making sure our buildings are ready to use the renewable energy we harness.
Montgomery County, the largest jurisdiction in Maryland, just passed legislation that will move Maryland towards this clean energy future by ensuring all electric buildings for new construction starting in 2026. The bill, Bill 13-22, passed unanimously and was sponsored by Councilmember Hans Riemer and cosponsored by Councilmember Will Jawando.
“Cheers to Montgomery County leading the way to 100% clean energy buildings in Maryland,” said Maryland PIRG Director Emily Scarr. “By shifting to all-electric buildings we can protect Marylanders health and safety, save rate-payer dollars, and protect the planet.”
Buildings account for 40 percent of the greenhouse gasses generated in Maryland, so shifting away from fossil fuels in buildings will be a critical step in the process to decarbonize.
Using fossil fuels for home heating and cooking also posses risks to public health and public safety. Methane gas infrastructure has been prone to leaks, endangering communities and the environment. Earlier this month, an explosion and gas-fueled fire in Gaithersburg sent 10 people to the hospital and left families without housing.
Using methane for home heating and cooking produces dangerous levels of indoor air pollution. As a result, children living in homes where people cook meals with gas-powered appliances have a 42% higher chance of experiencing asthma symptoms.
And, using gas to power new buildings is likely to mean long term investments in infrastructure that will be outdated before they are paid off. That’s why stopping investments in gas infrastructure for new buildings is critical to keep utility rates down. We don’t want ratepayers stuck to foot the bill for stranded assets of unusable gas infrastructure.
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