State and Local Policy Database


City Scorecard Rank


Baltimore, MD

52.00Scored out of 100Updated 5/2015
Local Government Operations
Score: 7.5 out of 15 points
Local Government Summary List All

Baltimore’s 2009 Sustainability Plan outlines the city’s energy and climate goals for the overall community and discusses initiatives for local government operations. Within Baltimore’s government, the Department of Public Works’s (DPW) Office of Sustainable Energy works to displace fossil energy use and reduce overall energy use and consumption by focusing on improving energy systems in buildings.

Last updated: February 2015

Local Government Energy Efficiency Goals List All

The city's adopted Strategic Management Energy Plan has a goal to reduce city government energy consumption by 30% by 2022 from a 2006 baseline. It also has a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from government operations, facilities and fleet 15% by 2020 from a 2007 baseline. In November 2014, the Baltimore Energy Office together with Sustainability Commission adopted these goals. The Sustainability Commission was given the authority to identify these goals in accordance with City Code, Article 5, 34-7.

According to data in Baltimore's 2013 Annual Sustainability Report, the local government's combined electricity and natural gas use increased by 3% between 2009 and 2012. The city is not currently on track for its local government goal.

Last updated: February 2015

Performance Management Strategies List All

We could not confirm if Baltimore has a dedicated funding source or budgeting mechanism for local government efficiency investments.

Baltimore publishes annual sustainability reports on its progress toward energy­-related initiatives and the Office of Sustainable Energy’s new Strategic Energy Plan requires annual updates on progress. To educate members of city government on the goals, presentations were given at a well-attended Sustainability Commission meeting as well as to the mayor, senior staff, city council, and city agency directors. The city participates in many community-wide programs to publicize lead-by-example initiatives including the Baltimore Neighborhood Energy Challenge, Baltimore Business Challenge, the City Employee Energy Challenge, and Community Energy Savers Grants. The city contracted with an independent third party to complete a greenhouse gas inventory, but we do not know if the city plans to use an independent firm for evaluation, monitoring, and verification of progress toward goals going forward. 

The city employs a director, five full-time staff, three full-time contractual employees, and two interns, in addition to on-call consultants. In 2014, The Office of Sustainable Energy was moved from the Department of General Services to DPW. DPW uses more than 40% of the electricity of the city government and is projected to be the primary driver of new energy demands. The mayor moved the office to target this large opportunity for saving energy. From 2011 to 2012, the Energy Office piloted an Employee Energy Challenge with three city agencies in four buildings, but there are no permanent incentive structures in place.

Last updated: February 2015

Procurement and Construction List All

Vehicle Fleets and Infrastructure

Baltimore adopted a goal to reduce petroleum usage by 20% by 2017. The Office of Sustainable Energy developed a 20­ year fleet replacement schedule to help achieve this goal and right-size the fleet. By 2017, the average age of the fleet will decrease from 8 years to 4, increasing fuel efficiency by an expected 16% and decreasing maintenance. 

Note: For local fleet initiatives, policies listed must make a specific, mandatory requirement for increasing fleet efficiency. Local alternative-fuel vehicle procurement requirements that give a voluntary option to count efficient vehicles are thus not included. 

Public Lighting

On December 5, 2011, the Mayor of Baltimore signed an amendment to Baltimore City Code Article 26 § 13-1, titled "Street lamps, etc." This revision added the statement that the "Department of Transportation must…ensure that, on or before June 30th 2013, all city electric street lamps are equipped with energy efficient light emitting diode lights or similar cost-effective technology." All traffic lights have been changed to LED’s. In 2012, the city switched the first 11,000 streetlights to LEDs. In 2014, the city conducted an LED light pilot. Although, lights do not have motion sensors, the city’s exterior street, building and sports lighting have photocells and operate only during certain hours. 

New Buildings and Equipment

Baltimore Green Building Standards (Council Bill 07-0602) require LEED Silver certification for public buildings and achievement of LEED certification for publicly funded buildings, but we could not confirm if the requirements specifically emphasized completion of the energy efficiency elements of the certification. The city is in the early stages of developing green purchasing guidelines.

Last updated: February 2015

Asset Management List All

Building Benchmarking and Retrofitting

Baltimore benchmarks all city facilities in a utility database called EnergyCap and has begun the process of benchmarking all buildings into Portfolio Manager, although benchmarking requirements are not in place. The city has energy savings performance contracts with Johnson Controls, PEPCO, and Constellation Energy. In 2014, using grant funds, 63 retrofits were conducted in 54 city buildings saving $100K annually in electric costs. 

Sustainable Infrastructure Policies

We did not find information regarding formalized sustainable infrastructure policies. As a built-out city, the vast majority of Baltimore's capital budget is for renovation, replacement, or right-sizing of existing assets or infrastructure. 

Public Employees

Baltimore is conducting a pilot teleworking program at the Department of General Services through the Energy Office. Baltimore also has the City Commute program, but it is unclear if the program is only for city employees or is available to the public at large.

Last updated: February 2015

Community-Wide Initiatives
Score: 6 out of 10 points
Community-Wide Summary List All

The Baltimore Office of Sustainability leads the city’s implementation efforts toward its community-wide energy goals.

Last updated: January 2017

Community-Wide Energy Efficiency GoalsList All

Baltimore has formally adopted community-wide energy and climate goals as part of its Climate Action Plan. The city has a goal to reduce community-wide energy use 13% below a 2010 baseline by 2020. The city’s climate goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 15% below a 2010 baseline by 2020.

Baltimore has been releasing annual progress reports to provide the public with updates on efforts made to achieve the city’s goals. The city is in the process of conducting a community-wide greenhouse gas emissions inventory that will be released in early 2017. This inventory will provide an update on whether the city is on track to achieve its quantitative goals.

Last updated: January 2017

Performance Management StrategiesList All

Annual sustainability reports present information on the city’s community-wide efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy use. Baltimore is currently using an independent firm for evaluation, monitoring and verification of the Baltimore Energy Initiative (BEI) program. BEI is a 3 year, $52.8 million energy efficiency program targeting residents as well as non-profits and businesses. The Baltimore Energy Initiative program has started two dedicated funding sources programs. Both are revolving loan programs - one for non-profit organizations or small businesses, and the other for residential customers. These loan programs were funded through the BEI program and will be self-sustainable and provide long-term money for efficiency investments. Baltimore has six fulltime equivalents in the sustainability office.

Last updated: December 2014

Efficient Distributed Energy Systems - District Energy and Combined Heat and PowerList All

The city's Office of Sustainable Energy has identified water and wastewater treatment plants as high priority sites for combined heat and power (CHP) plants. The city has plans to add 4 MW to a 3 MW CHP system at Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant. The city will also be adding 2 MW to the Patapsco Wastewater Treatment Plant. The city is currently in the design phase of these projects.

Baltimore is administering state grants that are financing the installation of small CHP plants at two large nonprofit buildings serving those with low incomes. Baltimore is also evaluating its government downtown office complex for a district energy system.

Last updated: January 2017

Mitigation of Urban Heat Islands List All

The Baltimore Sustainability Plan includes an urban heat island mitigation goal to double the city's tree canopy by 2037.

Baltimore has adopted several policies and programs which mitigate the city’s urban heat island effect. The Baltimore Energy Initiative provides grants for cool roof installations through the city. In carrying out its obligations under the Maryland Forest Conservation Act, the city has adopted a land conservation policy that requires sites undergoing development to preserve land with at 20,000 square feet of forest, steep slopes, streams, and wetlands. Baltimore’s Variance Policy for Specimen Tree Removal protects trees that are at least 20 inches diameter at breast height. The TransForm Baltimore Zoning Code provides development bonuses for the permanent preservation of open space.

Last updated: January 2017

Buildings Policies
Score: 12 out of 29 points
Buildings Summary List All

Baltimore has some building sector initiatives to improve efficiency including above code requirements. The Department of Permits and Building Inspection manages the building energy code compliance and enforcement for the City of Baltimore.

Last Updated: December 2014

Stringency of Energy CodesList All

The State of Maryland is a home rule state and allows local jurisdictions to adopt building energy codes which are more stringent than the minimum state requirements, or to suit their local conditions. Maryland requires that at a minimum, residential and commercial construction must comply with the 2015 Maryland Building Performance Standards, which are equally as stringent as the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). To learn more about the required building codes for the State of Maryland, please visit the State Policy Database.


In Maryland, local authority to expand codes is permitted, but Baltimore has not adopted a stretch code. Baltimore uses the 2015 Maryland Building Performance Standards for commercial construction. In November 2014 Baltimore passed a new Baltimore City Green Construction code that applies to new and renovated commercial and large multifamily buildings (4 stories and higher). The code is based on the 2012 International Green Construction Code (IgCC) with local amendments and takes effect April 1, 2015.


Although local authority is permitted, Balitmore has not adopted any amendments or strech codes beyond the 2015 Maryland Building Performance Standards for residential construction.

Last Updated: January 2017

Building Energy Code Enforcement and ComplianceList All

Baltimore reported a budget of $6,000,000 for the building code department in 2013. This level of spending normalizes to $46.67 per $1,000 of residential construction spending for the city.

Baltimore has not made third-party plan review or performance testing mandatory for code compliance, nor has it established either as a voluntary code compliance option. Baltimore does not provide upfront support to developers or owners for energy code compliance.

Last Updated: December 2014

Requirements and Incentives for Efficient Buildings List All

Building Energy Savings Goals

 The City of Baltimore has a 15% by 2015 reduction target for all buildings - both public and private citywide - that was adopted in 2009.

Green Building Requirements

All commercial and multifamily buildings must follow the Baltimore Green Building Standards. The new Baltimore City Green Construction code that passed in November 2014 serves as an update to the Green Building Standards. It applies to new and renovated commercial and large multifamily buildings (4 stories and higher). It is based on the 2012 International Green Construction Code (IgCC) with local amendments and takes effect April 1, 2015.

Energy Audit and Retrofit Requirements

Baltimore does not yet require commercial or residential buildings to take energy efficiency actions such as energy audits or retro-commissioning.

Incentives and Financing for Efficient Buildings

Baltimore has a $10M low-interest loan program for energy efficiency for nonprofits and small businesses. The city also offers a low-interest loan program for low-income residential properties. This program is being administered by the city’s Housing and Community Development agency and their Green, Healthy, and Sustainable Homes Division. In addition, the City of Baltimore has adopted a High-Performance Market-Rate Rental Housing ordinance that provides a tax credit for properties that achieve a minimum of LEED Silver certification or Baltimore City Green Building Code Standard Two Star rating. 

Last Updated: March 2015

Benchmarking, Rating, & Transparency List All

Baltimore does not have mandatory or voluntary programs to encourage building benchmarking in any sector.

Last Updated: December 2014

Comprehensive Efficiency Services List All

The BGE SmartEnergy Savers program, which employs Home Performance with ENERGY STAR standards, is available to Baltimore residents. The BGE SmartEnergy Savers program also offers programs and incentives to improve building energy efficiency for small businesses; saving up to 80% on energy-efficient lighting and refrigeration controls upgrades. BGE has a Retrocommissioning Program to monitor, troubleshoot and adjust electrical, mechanical and control systems to optimize energy performance using financial incentives for identifying and implementing operational and maintenance improvements in commercial facilities over 75,000 square feet. 

Last Updated: March 2015

Energy & Water Utilities
Score: 10.5 out of 18 points
Energy & Water Utilities Summary List All

Baltimore Gas and Electric (BG&E), an investor-owned utility (IOU), is the primary gas and electric utility serving the City of Baltimore. To help BG&E reach the EERS target, the City of Baltimore is an active promoter of BG&E’s energy efficiency programs. The State of Maryland requires spending and savings targets for its utilities through an EERS and requires documentation of planned energy efficiency programs to the Public Service Commission annually. To learn more about the state requirements for electric and gas efficiency please visit the Maryland page of the State Database. On the state level, Baltimore strongly advocates for additional spending requirements for energy efficiency projects for its utilities.

The Bureau of Water and Wastewater, in the Department of Public Works, provides Baltimore with drinking water services, wastewater treatment, and stormwater management.

Last Updated: December 2014

Electric & Gas Energy Efficiency Programs, Spending & SavingsList All

In 2013, according to BG&E, they spent $90,971,300 on electric efficiency programs, representing 4.49% of its annual revenue. Due to these programs, BG&E reported a net incremental electricity savings of 259,200MWh representing 0.84% of its retail sales. Since 2012, BG&E has not sponsored any natural gas efficiency programs. Spending on electricity efficiency represented in this section covers BG&E’s entire service jurisdiction, most of which is within Baltimore proper. BG&E offers electric efficiency incentives and technical assistance to residential and business customers.

The City of Baltimore promotes BG&E's Smart Energy Saver's programs through the Baltimore Energy Challenge and the Baltimore Energy Initiative Loan Program. Baltimore uses funds from the MD PSC and an Exelon settlement. Using peer to peer education and networking, Energy Captains share information on the free and subsidized programs offered by BG&E. The low-interest loan program is assisting nonprofits and small businesses to become more energy efficient by upgrading their facilities. On the state level, Baltimore advocates for additional funding from the MD PSC and BG&E.

The Baltimore Energy Initiative, funded through the Maryland’s PSC CIF, and the Baltimore Energy Challenge both support and advocate for natural gas savings.

The Baltimore Energy Initiative, funded through the Maryland’s PSC CIF, and the Baltimore Energy Challenge both support and advocate for natural gas savings. They provide free programmable thermostat installation and education on how to use it for gas furnaces. This is a service not covered by the local utility.

Last Updated: February 2015

Energy Efficiency Targets & Funding Agreements List All

Baltimore’s utilities do not have a local target, but they are subject to state targets. The City of Baltimore does not purchase energy for city operations through a franchise agreement or municipal aggregation.

Last Updated: December 2014

Provision of Energy Data by UtilitiesList All

In order for customers to access their own energy data, BG&E provides the Green Button data sharing platform. Commercial multifamily and multi-tenant customers must benchmark their facility using Portfolio Manager or an equivalent tool to apply for BG&E’s Full Retro-commissioning Services. BG&E is in the process of implementing automated whole-building data services for benchmarking. The Baltimore Energy Challenge has a data sharing agreement with BG&E in order to track usage for residents who take the Energy Challenge pledge. Community data is available upon request for community planning and evaluation, but it is not yet publically available online. At this point, The City of Baltimore does not yet advocate for policies requiring utilities to expand the availability and granularity of energy usage data.

Last Updated: February 2015

Efficiency Efforts in Water ServicesList All

Water Efficiency

The Department of Public Works has not yet established a water efficiency goal, and does not have funded programs to help customers save water. However, Blue Water Baltimore does provide free water audits and rebates for rain barrels, green roofs, and other conservation landscaping to all city residents.

In 2014, the Mayor of Baltimore moved the Office of Sustainable Energy to the Department of Public Works (DPW). The Office was moved to target the opportunities for efficiency from the largest energy user in the City. DPW is laying the groundwork for a water conversation plan for the City Agencies – starting with identifying the energy costs of the water system. This plan will require cooperation across multiple departments and is dependent on the completion of the Baltimeter tool and new billing system that will allow the City to better measure and manage water it uses.

Energy Efficiency and Self-Generation

The Department of Public Works has not set an energy efficiency goal for water operations, nor has established programs to expand energy efficiency through the Baltimore water services system. However, Baltimore’s Back River wastewater treatment facilities do have a system to generate 3 MW of energy to be used on-site from methane recapture. There are also two approved CHP projects targeted for water treatment facilities that will be installed in FY15 and FY16 that are funded through the PSC CIF.

Green Stormwater Infrastructure

Across Maryland, there is a stormwater fee charged to residents and all businesses based on the property’s area of impermeable surface. As a result, the City of Baltimore has enacted its own stormwater fee legislation. This fee goes towards management of the stormwater facilities and might fund an educational program in the future. Fee reductions are offered to encourage property owners and developers to incorporate storm water management practices on their property.

In 2014, the City of Baltimore launched the Growing Green Initiative (GGI) as a way to advance green infrastructure in the city. GGI engages communities, as well as city government to develop green spaces that advance our stormwater mitigation goals.

Last Updated: February 2015

Score: 16 out of 28 points
Transportation Summary List All

The transportation authority serving the City of Baltimore is The Maryland Transit Administration, a state agency. MTA also provides the public transportation for the city and the broader metropolitan area, including train, bus, light rail, and subway service. The Baltimore Metropolitan Council is the MPO in charge of conducting metropolitan transportation planning. Its area of jurisdiction encompasses Baltimore, and the five surrounding counties. The Baltimore City Department of Transportation is the city agency charged with managing the city’s transportation network.

Last updated: December 2014

Location Efficiency List All

Transform Baltimore is a citywide transect-based code with a mixed use overlay to encourage the development of mixed-use neighborhoods. The city requires one parking space per residential dwelling. Baltimore adopted its complete streets policy in 2013, Council Bill 09-0433. The adoption of the guidelines encourages the inclusion of complete streets principles in all new road construction projects. There are no incentives available through the city to promote location efficiency.

Last updated: December 2014

Mode Shift List All

Transportation and Land Use Planning

Baltimore has not yet written or implemented a policy to encourage improved integration of transportation and land use planning such as a VMT reduction or mode share target.

Car and Bicycle Sharing

There is one car sharing program currently available to the residents and visitors of Baltimore, zipcar. Baltimore is currently in the planning stages of a bike share program, Charm City Bikeshare.

Transportation Demand Management Programs

To reduce the frequency of single-occupancy trips, Baltimore provides a number of commuter services as an incentive for residents/workers who use alternative modes of transportation under the iRide Baltimore program. These services include Rideshare, Guaranteed Ride Home, and Vanpool. In addition to commuter incentives, the city also conducts employer outreach to educate local businesses about employee transportation tax credits.

Last updated: December 2014

Transit List All

The MTA transit system that serves Baltimore received $947,713,577 in total funding in 2012. This funding level is $430 per resident in the service territory of the agency. In comparison, 2011 spending on roads and parking by the city was $207,249,898, or $333 per city resident. This results in a ratio of per capita regional transit funding to per capita city highway and parking funding of 1.29 to 1.

The Transit Connectivity Index measures how many transit rides are available per week within walking distance from the average household. The City of Baltimore’s Transit Connectivity Index value is 49,649, putting it in the second highest category (20,000 - 50,000) available in the City Scorecard.

Last updated: December 2014

Efficient Vehicles and Driver Behavior List All

At this time, Baltimore does not offer incentives for citizens to purchase hybrid, plug-in, or EV vehicles. There are no incentives available for the construction of commercial or private EV charging infrastructure. The city does own 2 electric charging stations available for public use. Baltimore has not yet established efficient driving rules, such as an anti-idling ordinance, for private vehicles.

Last updated: December 2014

Freight List All

There are 27 intermodal freight facilities within the City of Baltimore’s boundaries, all of which we classify as efficient because they are port- or rail-capable. Baltimore’s share of regional freight traffic in 2011, normalized by population, is 12,893 ton-miles. As a result there are 2.09 efficient intermodal facilities per thousand ton-miles of freight traffic, putting the city in the highest category for this metric (2+) available in the City Scorecard.

Last updated: December 2014