Climate Action Plan Highlights - Fiscal Year 2022

Buildings logo.


  • County Council unanimously passed Building Energy Performance Standards legislation, which requires minimum energy performance thresholds to be set for existing covered buildings and drives them to improve their energy efficiency over a set time period, thus reducing carbon emissions.
  • The Montgomery County Green Bank supported over $10 million in clean energy projects for commercial and multifamily properties.
  • 86% of the 644 properties covered by the Energy Benchmarking law have reported energy benchmark data for the calendar year 2021. The Energy Benchmarking law requires covered buildings (non-residential properties 50,000 gross square feet and greater) to track annual energy use and use a standard metric to compare the building's performance against past performance and to its peers nationwide.
  • Trends in Site Energy Use Intensity: Among properties that have benchmarked consistently since the calendar year 2016, site energy use per square foot (known as site energy use intensity or site EUI) has decreased by 17.3% compared to 2016 or an average of 3.5% per year. This reduction includes changes in building occupancy and operation caused by COVID-19. The chart below shows site EUI for each year as well as the year-over-year change in site EUI for these consistently reported properties.
  • Utility Bill Savings: Between 2016 and 2019, before the COVID-19 public health emergency forced some commercial building operators to change their operations, consistently reported properties saw an 8.2% decrease in site EUI or an average of 2.7% per year. While energy benchmarking alone does not require property owners or managers to implement energy upgrades, results from Montgomery County mirror EPA research5 that shows persistent energy savings in benchmarked properties. This reduction in energy use is equivalent to an estimated average utility savings of roughly $9,700 per property per year.

    Site Energy Use Intensity Over Time.
  • Energy Savings: The reduction in energy use between 2016 and 2021 for consistently reported benchmarked properties (an estimated 138 million kWh electricity and 2 million thermos of natural gas) is roughly equivalent to 110,000 MTCO2e (metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents, a unit used to compare GHG emission potency).
Carbon sequestration logo.

Carbon Sequestration

  • The Office of Agriculture educated farmers and landowners on no-till practices, following nutrient management plans, and cover crops.
  • The Department of Environmental Protection launched the single-family residential curbside recycling collection of food scraps pilot.
  • Montgomery Parks’ held its first ever urban wood sale. The urban wood reuse program turns hazardous trees removed from parkland into lumber and other reused wood products in park operations.
  • The Department of Environmental Protection RainScapes program installed over 150 projects on private properties, including conservation landscape and rain garden projects. These practices sequester more carbon than lawns.
  • Tree Plantings:
    • Tree Montgomery planted 1,700 trees on more than 380 separate properties in FY22, for a cumulative total of 7,450+ shade trees planted through the Spring 2022 Planting Season.
    • The Montgomery County Department of Transportation planted 1,660+ trees in the right-of-way in FY22.
    • Reforest Montgomery planted 793 trees through reforestation projects in FY22 in which multiple trees were planted at a rate of at least 100 trees/acre.
    • Montgomery Parks planted 1,500 trees and 1,125 shrubs on parkland.
Clean Energy logo.

Clean Energy

  • The inaugural Capital Area Solar Coop concluded in August 2021 to install solar panels on single-family homes in the region, including 76 projects in Montgomery County, with 629 kilowatts (kW) of installed capacity to come online by the end of the calendar year 2022.
  • County Council unanimously passed Montgomery County Green Bank Fuel Energy Tax Revenue legislation, which provides 10% of the Fuel Energy Tax to the Green Bank to further its work.
  • The Green Bank supported 2 community solar projects: a 273-kW system at Paddington Square with Sunlight General that offers 30% of the 91 subscriptions for low-and-moderate income households; and a 412-kW system in Silver Spring in partnership with Sandy Spring Bank.
  • A total of 1,027 residential solar projects were constructed in the County and brought online in FY22
  • 7.5 megawatts of solar-rated capacity (or “nameplate capacity”) was added to the approved PJM GATS solar generators. The PJM GATS platform connects buyers (consumers) and sellers (producers) of electricity across the region. This represents nearly 11 million kilowatt hours of electricity generation, equivalent to 8.6 million pounds of coal being burned!
Climate Adaptation logo

Climate Adaptation

  • The Department of Environmental Protection completed the construction of Glenmont Forest Green Streets, with 53 rain gardens, bio-retention gardens, and tree boxes installed.
  • The Department of Environmental Protection and the Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security installed 22 early warning flood sensors in FY22, with another 13 to be installed in FY23. These early warning flood sensors can alert residents sooner about high water or flooding events.
  • The Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security released 7 Hyperthermia Alerts on days with forecasted temperatures or heat indices of over 95 degrees. Hyperthermia Alerts remind community members of precautions they can take on high heat days to keep themselves and their neighbors safe.
  • The Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Transportation, and Department of General Services is working with Naval Support Activity Bethesda (NSAB) to prepare a Military Installation Resiliency Review (MIRR) planning study. The MIRR will identify off-base climate vulnerabilities impacting NSAB’s onsite water, transportation, and energy operations and propose mitigation actions. The study is funded through a Department of Defense Office of Local Defense Community Cooperation grant.
  • The Department of Environmental Protection continued developing the final design for the Wheaton Dam Flood Mitigation project and secured funding from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources ($110,000) to expand and enhance forested buffers and existing tree canopy on 7.7 acres around the Wheaton Regional Stormwater Management Facility and Wheaton Branch, a tributary to Sligo Creek and the Anacostia River.
Climate Governance logo.

Climate Governance

  • The Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security held the Emergency Operations Center Spring Functional Exercise, with an exercise scenario focused on a derecho, extreme heat, and extreme flooding.
  • The Department of Environmental Protection, the Office of Innovation, and the Office of Human Resources sponsored 5 climate training programs for 75 County government staff from 20 departments and developed a comprehensive set of resources for the new Climate Change Ambassador Training Program to build understanding and engagement among county government staff about climate change.
  • The Department of Finance and the Department of Environmental Protection worked in partnership with the Montgomery County Green Bank to expand the scope of the Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy program, which ultimately led to Council passage of Bill 46-21, Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy Financing Amendments.

    75 Climate Ambassadors from 20 County Departments.
Public Engagement and Education logo.

Public Engagement, Partnerships, and Education

  • The MCPS Board of Education unanimously passed Policy ECA, Sustainability, committing MCPS to cut greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2027 and 100% by 2035 compared to 2005 levels, in line with the CAP. Over 1,000 participants engaged in information sessions, and over 100 written comments were received, with the majority in support of the new policy.
  • The Climate Change Communication Coalition (C4) was formed with representatives from 12 departments and agencies. C4 initiated a campaign soliciting feedback from the public on the CAP, particularly as it relates to resonant themes that can be used in outreach.
  • 91 of 209 MCPS schools have achieved the Maryland Association of Environmental and Outdoor Education Green Schools Status.12 About 80% of MCPS schools participated in some fashion in new waste reduction programs, including 42 schools with share tables, 13 schools composting, and other schools recycling new items (markers, batteries, etc.).
  • The Maryland Coalition of Counties and Cities for Climate Action has launched and is meeting regularly to advance climate progress at the State level.
  • Montgomery Parks hosted the 2022 Greenfest celebration in person for the first time in two years at Brookside Gardens, through a coalition of public, non-profit, and university partners, with 5,000 attendees.
Racial Equity and Social Justice logo.

Racial Equity and Social Justice

  • The Montgomery County Green Bank launched Access Solar, a low- and moderate-income solar program for homeowners for households earning under $97,500, with the Solar Co-op.
  • The Montgomery County Department of Transportation completed a Fare Equity Study. A fare structure of half-price for most routes was adopted by Council, making most Ride On fares $1. An extensive outreach campaign will be conducted prior to implementation.
  • Montgomery Parks is increasing focus and prioritization on parks located in Equity Focus Areas to ensure that they are being/have been visited on a regular basis for assessment of tree planting/canopy coverage needs.
  • Montgomery Parks opened Nolte Community Garden, which provides 19 accessible gardening beds atop the foundation of a demolished Park Activity Building. This garden addresses equity goals by engaging seniors and food insecure families in this part of Silver Spring.
  • The Emerald Cities Collaborative completed the "High Road Economic Inclusion Framework for an Equitable Climate-Ready Economy" with recommendations on a) training a diverse and inclusive workforce that meets the demand for the thousands of green jobs generated by the CAP and ensures that these jobs are accessible and lead to career pathways and b) aligning and leveraging local anchor institutions' procurement to drive the County's climate goals by procuring local, organic food from our Agricultural Reserve.
  • The Department of Environmental Protection organized climate storytelling workshops, facilitated by Climate Stories Project, in which community members develop, record, and share their own climate stories—their personal and community relationships with climate change. This project focused on amplifying the voices of under-represented and frontline community members. Community-based partners include the African American Health Program, Latino Health Initiative, Community Advocacy Institute, African Affairs Advisory Group, Caribbean American Advisory Group, and others.
Transportation (bus) logo.


  • The first 25 electric MCPS school buses have arrived as part of a plan to replace 326 diesel buses with electric school buses over four years.
  • The Montgomery County Department of Transportation removed the Mid-County Highway from the region’s 2022 Transportation Long Range Plan, Visualize 2045.
  • Free fares have been made permanent on Ride On for those under age 18 with Kids Ride Free and for Seniors and persons with disabilities.
  • Ride On service levels were restored to 80% of pre-Covid levels by January 2022, with plans to reach 90% of pre-Covid service levels by July 2022. Ride On annual ridership in FY22 was 10,078,000.
  • The Montgomery County Department of Transportation and Department of Environmental Protection launched the EV Purchasing Co-op Pilot and received over 1,000 pledges from residents and local businesses to purchase an EV for their next vehicle.
  • Montgomery Parks completed the Hadon Trail Connection, adding additional paved trails to connect the Long Branch Trail on Haddon Drive.
  • Montgomery Parks launched the Open Parkways program to provide more outdoor space for recreation and exercise by closing portions of the parkway to vehicles on weekends.
  • As of June 2021, 1.5% of passenger vehicles registered in the county were plug-in vehicles. DEP estimates that plug-in vehicles made up 9.5% of new vehicle registrations in the last year.
  • Electric Vehicle Charging:
    • Construction was recently completed on Electric Vehicle charging stations in South Germantown Recreational Park and Big Pines Local Park.
    • Public and private entities throughout Montgomery County added 160 Level 2 Electric Vehicle (EV) public charging stations and 38 Direct Current Fast Charging (DCFC) Electric Vehicle (EV) public charging stations, with a cumulative total of 456 Level 2 EV charging stations and 92 DCFC EV charging stations distributed throughout the County by the end of FY22.
16618 Plug-in Electric and Hybrid Vehicles registered in County in FY22. A 38% increase in registrations.

Legislative and Regulatory Policy Accomplishments

JULY 2021

Transportation (bus) logo.

Code Changes to Bill 13-21 Relating to Vehicle Charging Facilities

Council adopted code changes to section 49-11 to allow for homeowner-installed vehicle charging facilities within the public right of way.


Buildings logo.

2018 International Green Construction Code

Sets more stringent requirements for new commercial construction projects and major building additions, including energy efficiency improvements, onsite energy generation and improved indoor air quality. Unanimously passed by Council.


Clean Energy logo.

Montgomery County Green Bank Fuel Energy Tax Revenue, Bill 44-21

Provides 10% of the Fuel Energy Tax to the MCGB to further its work. Unanimously passed by Council.

MARCH 2022

Clean Energy logo.

Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) Financing Amendments, Bill 46-21

Expands financing opportunities for property owners to make their buildings more climate-resilient and energy efficient, helping to improve operating costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Unanimously passed by Council.

APRIL 2022

Buildings logo.

Building Energy Performance Standards, Bill 16-21

Sets a minimum energy performance threshold for existing covered buildings and drives them to improve their energy efficiency over a set time period, thus reducing carbon emissions. Unanimously passed by Council.

JUNE 2022

Public Engagement and Education logo.

MCPS Policy ECA, Sustainability

The policy commits MCPS to cutting greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2027 and 100% by 2035 compared to 2005 levels, in line with the CAP. Unanimously adopted by MCPS Board of Education.

JULY 2022

Climate Governance logo.

Climate Assessments Legislation, Bill 3-22 – PASSED in FY23

Requires a climate assessment for pending policy pending, helping to ensure that all legislative decisions are made with awareness of how they will impact the County’s climate goals. Unanimously passed by Council.