State and Local Policy Database


City Scorecard Rank


Baltimore, MD

41.50Scored out of 100Updated 10/2020
Community-Wide Initiatives
Score: 5.5 out of 15 points
Community-Wide Summary List All

The City of Baltimore recently adopted the 2019 Baltimore Sustainability Plan.

Last updated: September 2021

Community-Wide Climate Mitigation and Energy GoalsList All

Climate Mitigation Goal

The 2019 Baltimore Sustainability Plan established goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 30% below 2007 levels by 2030. ACEEE projects the city will achieve its near-term community-wide GHG emissions reduction goal. 

The city conducts greenhouse gas inventories, but these reports are not currently publicly available.

Energy Reduction Goal

We did not find information regarding a community-wide energy reduction goal for the city.

Renewable Energy Goal

We did not find information regarding a community-wide renewable energy goal for the city.

Last updated: September 2021

Equity-Driven Approaches to Clean Energy Planning, Implementation, and EvaluationList All

Equitable Community Outreach

We were unable to determine whether relevant decision-makers have taken a unique and expanded approach in conducting engagement for multiple clean energy initiatives with marginalized groups compared to engagement with other city constituencies. However, as part of planning for the 2019 Baltimore Sustainability Plan, the city recruited 125 volunteer ambassadors who represented the racial demographics of Baltimore. The ambassadors conducted surveys in their communities, and as a result, black residents accounted for 47% of respondents.

Equitable decision-making

We were unable to determine if the city has created a formal role for marginalized community residents or local organizations representing those communities to participate in decision-making that affects the creation or implementation of a local energy, sustainability, or climate action plan.

Equity Accountability Measures

Baltimore's Equity Assessment Program requires city agencies to assess existing and proposed policies and practices for disparate outcomes based on race, gender, or income. 

Last updated: September 2021

Clean Distributed Energy ResourcesList All

The city has not adopted a formal policy, rule, or agreement that supports the creation of clean distributed energy systems.

Last updated: September 2021

Mitigation of Heat Islands List All

UHI Mitigation Goal

The 2019 Baltimore Sustainability Plan includes a goal to double the city’s tree canopy by 2037.

UHI Policies and Programs

Baltimore adopted several policies and programs which mitigate the city’s urban heat island effect. 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. The TransForm Baltimore Zoning Code also provides development bonuses for the permanent preservation of open space. Baltimore’s Variance Policy for Specimen Tree Removal protects trees that are at least 20 inches diameter at breast height.

The city’s Office of Sustainability created the Baltimore Green Network Plan to increase green spaces that achieve more equitable and resilient outcomes for the city.

Last updated: September 2021

Buildings Policies
Score: 8.5 out of 30 points
Buildings Summary List All

The City of Baltimore has the authority to adopt building energy codes at the municipal level but has not done so. The city has not adopted a mandatory benchmarking and disclosure ordinance. Baltimore offers a multitude of incentives to residential, multifamily, and commercial properties for energy efficiency, solar energy, and low-income energy improvement projects.

Last updates: June 2021

Building Energy CodesList All


The State of Maryland is a home rule state and allows local jurisdictions to adopt building energy codes that 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.


Baltimore has adopted the 2015 Maryland Building Performance Standards for commercial construction into the Baltimore County Building Code with local amendments The city’s zEPI score for their commercial energy code is 55.3.


Baltimore has adopted the 2015 Maryland Building Performance Standards for residential construction into the Baltimore County Building Code with local amendments. The city’s zEPI score for their commercial energy code is 55.9.

Solar-readiness policies

The City does not require solar PV system installation for new construction.

EV-charging readiness and infrastructure policies

The city has not passed an ordinance mandating new construction be EV-ready.

Low-energy use requirements

The Green Building Standards require LEED Silver certification for public buildings and achievement of LEED certification for publicly funded buildings greater than 10,000 square feet. 

Last updated: June 2021

Building Energy Code Compliance and EnforcementList All

Baltimore does not staff any full time employees solely dedicated to energy code enforcement. The city requires third party plan reviews and site inspections to verify code compliance. The city does not provide upfront support on energy code compliance.

Last updated: June 2021

Policies Targeting Existing BuildingsList All


Baltimore offers residential, commercial, and multifamily property owners access to property assessed clean energy (PACE) financing for both energy efficiency and solar energy projects.

Through the High-Performance Market-Rate Rental Housing ordinance, the city offers a tax credit for buildings that achieve LEED Silver or higher.

Baltimore’s Housing Department assists low-income households with energy efficient improvements through their Energy Conservation Services.

Through the LIGHT program, the city matches household with available services to perform home weatherization and energy efficient upgrades.  

The Retrofit Baltimore initiative provides home energy upgrades to low-income residents at no cost.

Baltimore partnered with Healthy Neighborhoods, a local nonprofit, to provide low-interest loans and grants for energy efficient upgrades to low-income nonprofits and small businesses.

The Baltimore City Community Resiliency Hub Program supports solar plus battery storage system installations at organizations.

Voluntary programs

The Baltimore Energy Challenge teaches low and no cost ways to save energy to Baltimore residents, businesses, and schools. Our AmeriCorps members install energy and water conservation equipment in homes. Installations include energy-efficient light bulbs, water-efficient showerheads, pipe wrap, power strips, and more. Since 2007, Civic Works has made energy installations in over 17,000 homes and reduced energy use by an average of 636 kWh per house each year.

Last updated: June 2021

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Workforce DevelopmentList All

The city’s Office of Sustainability’s Community Resilience Hub supports the Civic Works nonprofit to develop a local renewable energy workforce.

Last updated: June 2021

Score: 15 out of 30 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: October 2021

Sustainable Transportation Planning List All

Sustainable Transportation Plan

The Land Use and Transportation chapter of the Baltimore Climate Action Plan (CAP) contains strategies and measures for reducing VMTs, energy usage and GHG emissions.  The CAP will be updated in 2020.

VMT/GHG Target and Stringency

At this time, the City does not have a codified vehicle miles traveled (VMT) or greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction target.

Progress Achieved Toward VMT/GHG Targets

Baltimore GHG inventory will be updated in 2020.

Last Updated: October 2021

Location Efficiency List All

Location Efficient Zoning Codes

Transform Baltimore is a citywide transect-based code with a mixed use overlay to encourage the development of mixed-use neighborhoods.

Residential Parking Policies

The City has no minimum parking required downtown or in its main streets/commercial districts. Parking requirements are reduced in transit-oriented development zones as well as those affiliated with historic buildings 50 years or older.

Location Efficiency Incentives and Disclosure

There are no incentives available through the City to promote location efficiency.

Last Updated: October 2021

Mode Shift List All

Mode Shift Targets

At this time, the City does not have a codified mode share target for trips within the city.

Progress Achieved Toward Mode Shift Targets

No progress has been achieved, as there are no targets in place.

Complete Streets

In 2018, Baltimore adopted a new Complete Streets Ordinance.  The Complete Streets approach will elevate the priority of pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit users in planning and roadway design to increase quality of life and mobility in Baltimore City.

Last Updated: October 2021

Public Transit List All

Transportation Funding

The transit entities that serve the City of Baltimore have received $122,403,871.20 on average annually between 2015 and 2019. That equates to roughly $196.84 per capita between 2015 and 2019 within the service area. 

Access to Transit Services

The Transit Connectivity Index measures transit service levels. It is based on the number of bus routes and train stations within walking distance for households scaled by frequency of service. The City of Baltimore’s Transit Connectivity Index value is 8.4, scoring 1.5 points in the City Scorecard.

Last Updated: October 2021

Efficient VehiclesList All

Vehicle Purchase Incentives

At this time, Baltimore does not offer incentives for citizens to purchase hybrid, plug-in, or EV vehicles.

Vehicle Infrastructure Incentives

Baltimore Gas and Electric offers a rebate program for upgrades from Level 1 to Level 2 chargers for residential users. BGE also offers a rebate program for Multifamily Property Owners. BGE offers a 50% rebate on the cost of equipment, warranty and installation for eligible Level 2 chargers. Property managements and owners can get a maximum of $25,000 in rebates for each of their properties. BGE also offers a special time-of-use rate for EV charging. The pricing plan provides the benefit of reduced electric bills to customers who charge their EV during off-peak hours.

EV Charging Locations

The City has 550 charging ports available for public use, equivalent to 92.7 stations per 100,000 people.

Electric School Bus Goal

Baltimore does not have an electric school bus goal.

EV Transit Bus Goal

Baltimore does not have an EV transit bus goal.

Last Updated: October 2021

Freight System EfficiencyList All

The Baltimore Department of Transportation has a Commercial Vehicle Management Plan, which is a proactive approach to managing freight movement throughout the city.

Last Updated: October 2021

Clean, Efficient Transportation for Low-Income CommunitiesList All

Affordable New TOD Housing Policy

Baltimore does not have any requirements or incentives in place to develop or preserve affordable housing in transit-served areas.

Connecting Existing Affordable Housing Stock to Efficient Transportation Options

All dockless bike/scooter companies permitted to operate in Baltimore City are required to offer low-income customer plans, non-smartphone access, and cash payment alternatives. Equitable deployment of vehicles is also required and tracked daily. Baltimore residents who live in food deserts can take a subsidized Lyft ride to grocery store. The Baltimore Grocery Access Program provides eligible local families living in parts of south and west Baltimore with a $2.50 flat-rate fare on trips to and from participating grocery stores. Up to 200 eligible residents receive discounted Lyft rides for up to eight rides per month. The Maryland Transit Administration also offers special fare programs for students, seniors, the disabled, and others.

Last Updated: October 2021

Energy & Water Utilities
Score: 9.5 out of 15 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 Baltimore City Department of Public Works provides Baltimore with drinking water services, wastewater treatment, and stormwater management. 

Last Updated: July 2021  

Electricity and Natural Gas Efficiency SavingsList All

In 2019, BG&E reported 272,014 MWh in electric net incremental savings at the meter, amounting to 0.92% of its retail electric sales. In 2019, BG&E spent $107,593,917 on electric energy efficiency programs, which represents 5.25% of its electric retail revenue. 

In 2019, BG&E reported 1.13 MMtherms in net gas savings, which equates to 0.28% of gas sales. In 2019, BG&E spent $15,341,552 on natural gas energy efficiency, which equates to $23.99 per residential gas customer. These savings figures cover 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. BG&E offers a suite of programs under their Smart Energy Savers program. These programs are supported by a surcharge on the utility bill mandated under the State of Maryland’s EmPower MD program. The City has been active on the Public Service Commission’s EmPower working group which helps provide information, assistance and recommendations to PSC Commissioners on EmPower MD programs. 

The Baltimore Energy Initiative and the Baltimore Energy Challenge actively promote the BG&E Smart Energy Savers programs to residents and businesses, and the City collaborates with BG&E on how the City’s Energy Challenge and other programs can widen the marketing reach for BG&E programs. The Baltimore Energy Initiative Loan Program assists nonprofits and small businesses in increasing their energy efficiency through upgrades to their facilities. 

Baltimore City’s Office of Sustainability prepares Baltimore City for aging infrastructure, a growing population, changing climate, and a progressing economy. The Office focuses on energy efficiency, renewable energy, waste and recycling, clean air and water, local food systems, education, outreach, alternative transportation, and social equity. BGE collaborates with the Office of Sustainability to help them achieve their energy savings goals. 

Last Updated: July 2021  

Low-Income & Multifamily EE Programs List All

Low-Income Programs 

Baltimore Gas and Electric offers the EmPOWER Low Income Energy Efficiency Program to qualified low-income residents, including both renters and homeowners. This program is implemented by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) and offers both single-family and multifamily low-income dual fuel programs. The Baltimore City Department of Housing and Community Development partners with the State and BGE to administer and implement local low-income efficiency programs. These programs provide no-cost energy efficiency upgrades including installation of insulation, air sealing, replacement of old refrigerators and HVAC systems, health and safety measures, and water efficiency measures. DHCD streamlines eligibility requirements by automatically approving applicants from the Maryland Office of Home Energy Programs for the EmPOWER Maryland programs. 

In 2019, BGE achieved 2,621 MWh and 0.15 MMtherms, whiles spending $9,974,457 on its electric low-income programs and $4,142,895 on its natural gas low-income programs. BGE’s served 2,571 electric and natural gas customers with its low-income program in 2019. 

In 2020, the city of Baltimore reports that they had spent capital funding on furnace replacements for low-income households in the city.

Multifamily Programs 

Baltimore Gas and Electric offers two Multifamily energy efficiency programs. The first, the Multifamily Energy Efficiency and Housing Affordability (MEEHA) program, is a comprehensive program that provides loans and grants to multifamily rental properties for energy audits and the purchase/installation of energy saving measures. While it is funded by BGE through the EmPower Maryland Energy efficiency program, it is run and administered by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD MD). Energy efficiency measures eligible for funding include lighting retrofits, hot water heater retrofits and replacements, ENERGY STAR qualified HVAC systems, insulation, windows, draft stopping and duct sealing, appliances and fixtures, hot water conservation measures, and renewable energy generation and water heating equipment. The second program is the residential Multifamily Quick Home Energy Check-Up program, which offers the direct install of high efficiency LEDs, efficient-flow showerheads, pipe insulation, efficient-flow faucet aerators, ShowerStart thermostatic shut-off valves (TSVs), water heater temperature turndowns, and smart strips to BGE residential customers, at no additional charge to the customer. 

In 2019, BGE’s multifamily programs 954 MWh and 0.0028 MMtherms while serving 2,293 electric housing units in 22 multifamily properties and 189 natural gas units in 5 multifamily properties.  

Last Updated: August 2021  

Provision of Energy Data by UtilitiesList All

BGE provides benchmarking for multi-family and commercial customers with automated energy consumption data inputs directly into the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager.  

The city of Baltimore provides community wide energy usage information for planning and evaluation purposes through their GHG Inventory and is requested and provided annually for reporting, planning, and evaluation purposes. BGE provides community-wide energy usage information to Baltimore City government agencies upon request for community planning and evaluation purposes. The 2019 Baltimore Sustainability Plan has identified "total electricity and natural gas consumption per capita" as a measure of success for tracking and reporting. 

In 2019, the Baltimore City Council passed Resolution 19-0127R, advocating for the Maryland General Assembly to create legislation requiring the Public Service Commission to collect and analyze retail electric and natural gas supplier actual rates, usage, and zip-code information and data for residential customers, eliminate retail supplier individual residential market contracts, make aggregated supply options that would lower costs available to households, and enact additional consumer pricing and contract safeguards for all Maryland residents who choose third-party energy supply. 

Last Updated: July 2021  

Decarbonization and Climate Change Mitigation Efforts of Energy UtilitiesList All

Utility Climate Mitigation Goal  

In 2018, Exelon, the parent company of BG&E, announced a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its internal operations by 15% by 2022 from a 2015 baseline. To achieve this goal, Exelon will need to reduce emissions by 4.2% annually from 2018 levels. 

City-Led Efforts to Decarbonize the Electric Grid 

In 2020 the Baltimore City Council passed Council Bill 20-0197R, a Council Resolution Concerning Support of Senate Bill 315/House Bill 561 on Community Choice Energy. The bill died in committee during the 2020 legislative session, and if passed would have authorized a county, municipality, or group of jurisdictions to form or join a community choice aggregator.  

The City of Baltimore supported efforts by advocates and submitted testimony to support increasing the state of Maryland's Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). After two years of efforts, the state approved an increased RPS to 50% of the total grid by 2030 and requires the state to examine pathways for achieving 100% clean power by 2040. 

Last Updated: July 2021  

Efficiency Efforts in Water ServicesList All

Citywide Water Efficiency and Goals 

The energy utility does not currently provide efficiency programs alongside the water utility, but BG&E does offer some water efficiency measures alongside its energy efficiency programs. Additionally, Blue Water Baltimore provides free water audits and rebates for rain barrels, green roofs, water heaters, and other conservation landscaping to all city residents. The Department of Public Works has also expanded their BaltiMeter project, which aims to replace water metering infrastructure and upgrade the meter reading system. 

The Department of Public Works has not yet established a water efficiency goal and does not have any funded programs to help customers save water. 

Water Plant Efficiency and Self-Generation 

The Department of Public Works uses energy use data to address efficiency issues, but the city does not a specific strategy in place.  

Baltimore’s Back River wastewater treatment facilities have a system to generate 3 MW of energy to be used on-site from methane recapture. DPW operates a 2MW combined heat and power plant which uses methane produced by the anaerobic digestion process.  

Last Updated: July 2021

Local Government Score:
3 out of 10 points
Local Government Climate and Energy Goals List All

The City of Baltimore formally adopted the 2019 Sustainability Plan to drive climate and energy action in both the community and municipal operations.

Climate Mitigation Goal

The 2019 Sustainability Plan establishes a goal to reduce citywide greenhouse gas emissions 30% below 2007 levels by 2023. The goals align with those put forth by the Paris Climate Agreement. Based on ACEEE’s analysis of past years emissions data, ACEEE projects that the city will not meet its near-term GHG emissions reduction goal for municipal operations. 

Energy Reduction Goal

The city does not have a comprehensive goal to reduce energy use in municipal facilities, but the city's Strategic Management Energy Plan established a goal to reduce municipal electricity use by 30% below 2006 levels by 2022.

Renewable Energy Goal

Baltimore aims to use renewable energy to power 20% of city-owned building energy use by 2022. As of 2020, the City has achieved renewable energy use of 18% for City-owned buildings and anticipates being able to achieve the 20% goal by 2022.

Last updated: June 2021

Procurement and Construction Policies List All

Fleet Policies and Composition

Baltimore adopted a Transportation Petroleum Goal to reduce petroleum usage 20% by 2017. The City adopted a strategy to reduce vehicle fuel consumption by replacing the average age of the fleet, by aggressively replacing older vehicles with newer and more efficient vehicles. In 2020 and 2021 the City is purchasing 19 battery electric vehicles. In 2020, Baltimore purchased 25 Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) Ford Escapes and 50 Ford Explore Hybrid Pursuit vehicles. Baltimore's municipal fleet is currently composed of 0.41% efficient vehicles, including hybrid and battery electric vehicles. 

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." The Baltimore Complete Streets Manual, projected to be adopted in 2021, includes lighting guidelines which specify that figure selection should meet the recommendations of CIE 126-1997, Guidelines for Minimizing Sky Glow and specify that programmable lighting should be set so that lights are dimmed or completely extinguished when sufficient daylight is available. All traffic lights have been changed to LEDs. 

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. In 2018, Baltimore’s Department of Transportation & Office of Sustainable Energy awarded a contract to replace 12,304 streetlamps with LED fixtures using financing paid by the energy savings. This is projected to save 11,976,100 kWh per year. Baltimore has converted 75% of streetlights to LED.

Onsite and offsite renewable systems 

The City has installed 13 MW of onsite and offsite renewable energy generation capacity.

Inclusive procurement

Article 5, Subtitle 28 (Minority and Women’s Business Enterprises; Small Local Business Enterprises) of the Baltimore City code requires that the Minority and Women’s Business Opportunity Office (WBOO) establish appropriate MBE and WBE participation goals on each specific City contract, including energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. The City’s most recent energy efficiency project to install LED lights at a Filtration plant had a MBWE requirement of 30%. The City’s current RFP for an off-site renewable power purchasing agreement has an MBWE goal of 30%.

Last updated: May 2021

Asset Management List All

Building Benchmarking 

Baltimore benchmarks municipal energy use for approximately 14 million square feet of City facilities in an internal database, which represents 85% of the City's square footage. The DGS Division of Capital Projects and Energy is in the process of rebuilding the utility management database and reviews energy use on a quarterly and ad hoc basis. Baltimore's 2019 Sustainability Plan lists an action item to develop and pass a benchmarking legislation and a annual disclosure ordinance for energy and water use. 

Comprehensive Retrofit Strategy

Baltimore, through the Division of Capital Projects and Energy, in the Department of General Services, engages in a comprehensive analysis of all energy used by city functions. The City of Baltimore started energy retrofits on buildings with over 25,000 ft² in 2004. Since then, 60% of buildings have undergone efficiency retrofits. When a building is considered, the City conducts a comprehensive assessment of all energy usage and work to implement savings through the HVAC, building envelope, and lighting systems.  

Last updated: June 2021