State and Local Policy Database


City Scorecard Rank


Baltimore, MD

39.50Scored out of 100Updated 8/2019
Local Government Score:
3.5 out of 9 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, with an interim reduction goal of 25% by 2020. The goals align with those put forth by the Paris Climate Agreement. ACEEE does not project the city will achieve its GHG emissions reduction goal for municipal operations because no data was available to make a projection. 

Energy Reduction Goal

The city adopted the Strategic Management Energy Plan that established a goal to reduce municipal energy 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.

Last updated: June 2019

Procurement and Construction 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. The City plans to purchase up to 50 electric cars in the coming years to displace petroleum fueled vehicles and is coordinating with outside groups for electric vehicle charging stations.

We were unable to find data regarding fleet composition.

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. 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.  An additional 30,000 streetlamps will be addressed in the near future. 

Green Building Requirements 

Baltimore has adopted the International Green Construction Code 2012 as an overlay to the City’s building, fire and related codes, which became effective on 2015. Additionally, in 2013 the city adopted the most recent International Electric Code.  Moreover, the City’s Green Building Standards (Council Bill 07-0602) require LEED Silver certification for public buildings and achievement of LEED certification for publicly funded buildings greater than 10,000 square feet. Although it seems that the city departments tasked with building renovations purchase energy star appliances and high energy efficiency equipment, we could not confirm the existence of any kind of energy efficiency purchasing guidelines.

Last updated: June 2019

Asset Management List All

Building Benchmarking and Retrofitting

Baltimore has benchmarked 9.4 million square feet in ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. 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. Baltimore, through the Office of Sustainable Energy, in the Department of Public Works, 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.  

Public Workforce Commuting

Baltimore has a telework policy for city employees. 

Last updated: June 2019

Community-Wide Initiatives
Score: 6.5 out of 16 points
Community-Wide Summary List All

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

Last updated: June 2019

Community-Wide Climate Mitigation and Energy GoalsList All

Climate Mitigation Goal

The 2019 Baltimore Sustainability Plan established goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 25% below 2007 levels by 2020 and 30% below 2007 levels by 2020. These goals build on those of the prior Climate Action Plan that targeted reducing greenhouse gas emissions 15% below 2010 levels citywide by 2020. ACEEE projects the city will achieve its community-wide GHG emissions reduction goal. 

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

Energy Reduction Goal

The city’s 2012 Climate Action Plan includes a goal to reduce energy use in all buildings 13% below a 2010 baseline by 2020.

Renewable Energy Goal

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

Energy Data Reporting

The city does not report community-wide energy data.

Last updated: June 2019

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

Equitable Community Outreach

We were unable to determine whether permanent city staff have taken a unique and expanded approach in conducting outreach for multiple clean energy initiatives to marginalized groups compared with outreach to 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.

Accountability to Equity

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: June 2019

Clean Distributed Energy SystemsList All

The Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant currently has one megawatt of solar capacity installed and two megawatts of combined heat and power capacity.

Last updated: June 2019

Mitigation of Urban Heat Islands List All

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

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: June 2019

Buildings Policies
Score: 9.5 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: March 2019

Building Energy Code AdoptionList 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- and EV-ready

The city has not passed an ordinance mandating new construction be solar- and/or EV-ready.

Last updated: March 2019

Building Energy Code Enforcement and ComplianceList 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 provides upfront support on energy code compliance on an as-requested basis.

Last updated: March 2019

Benchmarking, Rating, & Transparency List All

Commercial and multifamily

Baltimore does not have a benchmarking, rating, and disclosure policy for commercial and/or multifamily properties.


The city has not adopted a single-family benchmarking and disclosure policy.

Last updates: March 2019

Incentives and Financing for Efficient Buildings and Renewable EnergyList All

Baltimore offers 10 incentives for energy efficiency, solar energy, and low-income energy improvement projects.

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

Baltimore has a $10 million low-interest loan program for energy efficiency for nonprofits and small businesses.

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 city runs a bulk solar purchasing program through the Retrofit Baltimore initiative. The initiative also 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.

Please note that each incentive/program is tallied based on the building types and energy resources eligible for award. For example, a PACE financing program that offers energy efficiency and renewable energy financing to both residential and commercial property owners is counted as four incentives.

Last updated: July 2019

Required Energy ActionsList All

All permits for commercial and certain multi-family residential buildings are required to complete a Green Building Statement of Compliance to determine code applicability and identify a green building compliance path. Achieving LEED Silver certification is among the compliance options. 

Last updated: May 2019

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: March 2019

Energy & Water Utilities
Score: 6.5 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 Bureau of Water and Wastewater, in the Department of Public Works, provides Baltimore with drinking water services, wastewater treatment, and stormwater management.

Last Updated: March 2019

Electric & Gas Energy Efficiency Programs and SavingsList All

In 2017, BG&E reported 251,140 MWh in net incremental savings at the meter, amounting to 0.87% of its retail electric sales. In 2017, BG&E reported 0.87 Mmtherms in net gas savings, which equates to 0.24% of gas sales. 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.

Last Updated: March 2019

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 2017, BG&E’s low-income programs saved 2,378 MWh and 0.23 MMtherms and served 2,619 households.  

Multifamily Programs

Baltimore Gas and Electric offers the Residential Retrofit: Quick Home Energy Check-Up for Multifamily (MEEHA) program. This comprehensive program provides loans and grants to multifamily rental properties for energy audits and purchase/installation of energy saving measures. 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. Additionally, this utility offers the Master-Metered Multi-Family Quick Home Energy Check-Up Program for master-metered multifamily properties. This comprehensive program offers direct install of high efficiency CFLs, LEDS, low-flow showerheads, pipe insulation, faucet aerators, water heater tank wrap, water heater temperature turndown and smart strips. In 2017, BG&E’s multifamily programs saved 216 MWh and 0.0003 MMtherms and served 1,049 households.

Last Updated: March 2019

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. At this time, the City of Baltimore does not advocate for policies requiring its utilities to expand the availability and granularity of energy usage data.

Last Updated: March 2019

Renewable Energy Efforts of Energy UtilitiesList All

Renewable Energy Incentives

In 2017, BG&E did not provide renewable energy incentives for the construction of new distributed solar or wind systems.

City-Led Efforts to Decarbonize the Electric Grid

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: April 2019

Efficiency Efforts in Water ServicesList All

City-wide water efficiency and goals

Although 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, it is currently working on developing a water conservation plan. Additionally, Blue Water Baltimore does provide free water audits and rebates for rain barrels, green roofs, and other conservation landscaping to all city residents. The energy utility does not provide efficiency programs alongside the water utility. The Department of Public Works has also launched their BaltiMeter project, which aims to replace water metering infrastructure and upgrade the meter reading system.

Water plant efficiency and self-generation

The Department of Public Works has not set an energy efficiency goal for water operations, nor has it 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.

Last Updated: March 2019

Score: 13.5 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: January 2017

Sustainable Transportation Planning List All

Sustainable Transportation Plan

The City’s 2019 Sustainability Plan was recently adopted. We could not find evidence of specific goals to reduce VMTs.

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

We could not determine if the City tracks VMT or GHG numbers.

Last Updated: March 2019

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: March 2019

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

Baltimore adopted its complete streets policy in 2010, Council Bill 09-0433. The adoption of the guidelines encourages the inclusion of complete streets principles in all new road construction projects.

Car Sharing

There is one car sharing program currently available to the residents and visitors of Baltimore, zipcar. The City has had dedicated on-street and City-owned off-street parking spaces for carsharing since 2010. It allows up to 250 such parking spaces to be available for that use. Currently 57 spaces are dedicated to on-street and 2 spaces for off-street carsharing. There is a Request for Qualifications and Interest (RFQI) being solicited by the City presently. It is intended that more than one carsharing service will be available as a result of this RFQI. Only one carsharing serve is available on-street and in City-owned facilities today.

Bike Sharing

Bikeshare shut down in 2017, and the City launched dockless bike and scooter programs. Lime and Bird are the scooter vendors, and Lime is the bike vendor. Each company is allowed 1,000 vehicles of each type: scooters, bikes, and e-bikes. Following the shutdown of its Bike Share, the City plans on creating designated dockless spots on the sidewalk.

Last Updated: May 2019

Transit List All

Transportation Funding

The MTA transit system that serves Baltimore has received $431,943,389.40 in average annual funding from 2013-2017. This funding level is $154.70 per resident in the service territory of the agency, putting it in the highest category (greater than $150) available in the transit funding.

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 8.9, putting it in the second highest category (8-8.99) available in the City Scorecard.

Last Updated: March 2019

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

There are no incentives available for the construction of EV charging infrastructure.

EV Charging Locations

The City owns 152 charging stations available for public use.

Renewable Charging Incentives

At this time, the City of Baltimore has no incentives or requirements available for the installation of private or public EV charging infrastructure powered by renewable energy (solar, wind, etc.).

Last Updated: March 2019

Freight System EfficiencyList All

Baltimore does not have a sustainable freight transportation plan in place, nor does it have any policies that address freight efficiency.

Last Updated: March 2019

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

The City of Baltimore’s bikeshare systems, Lime and Bird, offer discounts to low-income customers.

Low-Income Access to High Quality Transit

In the City of Baltimore, almost 56% of low-income households have access to high-quality transit.

Last Updated: April 2019