ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Governor Larry Hogan today announced Maryland as the first state in the country to become a partner in the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Better Climate Challenge. The “lead by example” partnership agreement, signed by Secretary Ben Grumbles of the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), commits the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in state government operations by at least 50% within 10 years.
“Our administration continues to set an example by identifying energy efficiency opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our state buildings,” said Governor Hogan. “Maryland has one of the nation’s most comprehensive, detailed, and balanced plans to address and mitigate climate change, and this partnership only strengthens our efforts.”
Maryland is already a partner to DOE’s Better Building Challenge, in which the Maryland Department of General Services (DGS) Office of Energy and Sustainability tracked a 20% energy consumption reduction across a state agency building portfolio of 9 million square feet from a 2008 baseline in 2015, five years ahead of its 2020 goal. In 2020, Maryland set a second Better Climate Challenge goal of a 15% reduction in energy use from a 2018 baseline by 2029 across a broader portfolio of 90.7 million square feet, which includes the University System of Maryland campuses.
”Our commitment to climate progress in the built environment means robust partnerships to shrink greenhouse gas emissions, while growing the economy and strengthening community resilience,” said Secretary Grumbles of MDE.
The new Better Climate Challenge energy savings goal is a complement to Governor Hogan’s 2019 executive order, “Energy Savings Goals for State Government,” which seeks to produce positive environmental, fiscal, and health benefits for all Marylanders by reducing energy use and carbon emissions across the entire portfolio of state-owned buildings. DGS coordinates with other state agencies in the effort to achieve the goal in the executive order, and DGS will take the lead on coordinating with DOE to accomplish the carbon reduction goal in the Better Climate Challenge.
“Our Office of Energy and Sustainability works diligently to ensure that purchases of equipment and commodities, and the consumption of energy in state operations minimizes costs, enhances sustainability, and achieves the state’s climate goals,” said Secretary Ellington E. Churchill, Jr. of DGS. “DGS looks forward to working with other state agencies to bring this 50% greenhouse gas reduction goal to fruition.”
Maryland has long been a leader in the fight against climate change, with recent actions, laws, and partnerships to strengthen our efforts. In 2020, the World Resources Institute ranked Maryland first among 50 states at reducing greenhouse gas emissions while growing their economy. Maryland’s partnership with DOE in the Better Climate Challenge dovetails well with the state’s comprehensive greenhouse gas reduction plan, which has a goal of a 50% reduction from 2006 levels by 2030.