State and Local Policy Database


City Scorecard Rank


Baltimore, MD

55.00Scored out of 100Updated 5/2017
Local Government Score:
8 out of 10 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. The Strategic Management Energy Plan includes goals to reduce city government energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. 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 and increasing its’ vehicle fleet efficiency.

Last updated: February 2017

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.


In order to meet its local government energy goal, Baltimore would need to reduce energy use by an average of 3.2% per year.


Baltimore is not currently on track for its local government energy use goal.


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. 

Last updated: April 2017

Procurement and Construction List All

Vehicle Fleets and Infrastructure

The city of Baltimore does not have fuel efficiency requirements for its public fleet vehicles or any procurement policies that prioritize the purchase of energy efficient vehicles. However, 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.  Additionally, this city monitors the use of its public fleet through the FASTER asset management data base software, which incorporates GPS technology to increase public fleet efficiency.

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 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: April 2017

Asset Management List All

Building Benchmarking and Retrofitting

Baltimore benchmarks City facilities in the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. The City has benchmarked a total of 9.4 million square feet.  The City of 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. Those facilities that exceed the benchmark for its type are then prioritized by worst to best scores.  After this, the city identifies best candidates for improvements and locate funding to undertake retrofitting projects. Since 2011, over 100 facilities have been improved with $5.93M in energy improvement investments, saving $307K annually;

Public Employees

We could not confirm if Baltimore has a teleworking program for city employees in place.

Last updated: January 2017

Community-Wide Initiatives
Score: 9 out of 12 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

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: 13.5 out of 28 points
Buildings Summary List All

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

The City of Baltimore's Climate Action Plan sets a target for citywide greenhouse gas emissions reductions of 15% below 2010 levels by 2020. Energy efficiency in existing commercial and residential buildings and schools, and education and outreach are strategies emphasized in the Plan.

Last Updated: January 2017

Stringency of 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.


In Maryland, local authority to adopt and amend codes is permitted. Baltimore has adopted the 2015 Maryland Building Performance Standards for commercial construction into the Baltimore County Building Code with local amendments.


Baltimore has adopted the 2015 Maryland Building Performance Standards for residential construction into the Baltimore County Building Code with local amendments.

Last Updated: March 2017

Building Energy Code Enforcement and ComplianceList All

Baltimore has internal staff dedicated solely to energy code compliance. The city requires building code officials to complete energy code training. 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: January 2017

Requirements and Incentives for Efficient Buildings List All

Green Building Requirements

All commercial and multifamily buildings must follow the Baltimore Green Building Standard. 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 a PACE financing available for residential, multifamily and commercial buildings, as well as 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: January 2017

Benchmarking, Rating, & Transparency List All

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

The multiple listing service for the Baltimore region, MRIS, has included fields for energy efficiency features.

Last Updated: January 2017

Energy & Water Utilities
Score: 12.5 out of 20 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: January 2017

Electric & Gas Energy Efficiency Programs, Spending & SavingsList All

In 2015, according to BG&E’s demand-side management report, they saved 386,505 MWh in net incremental savings at the meter, amounting to 1.28% of its retail electric sales. To achieve these savings, BG&E’s report stated that they spent $128,145,248 on electric efficiency programs, representing 5.15% of retail revenues. In 2015, BG&E reported 0.72 Mmtherms in net gas savings, which equates to 0.18% of gas sales. BG&E also reported $13,484,011 in gas efficiency spending in 2015, which is normalized to $20.40 per residential customer. Spending on electricity and natural gas 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.

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: January 2017

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. 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 2015, according to the DHCD, it achieved 2,521 MWh and 0.30 MMtherms in energy savings, while spending $13,760,000 on its electric and $2,054,072 on its natural gas low-income efficiency portfolio for BG&E customers. These programs served 2,273 low-income households, with each household receiving an average of $6,054 for electric and $904 for natural gas upgrades. Each participating household saved an average of 1,109 kWh and 131 therms.

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.

Last Updated: June 2017

Provision of Energy Data by UtilitiesList All

In order for customers to access their own energy data, BGE provides the Green Button data sharing platform. Additionally, BGE provides benchmarking for multi-family and commercial customers with automated energy consumption data inputs directly into the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. The Baltimore Energy Challenge has a data sharing agreement with BGE in order to track usage for residents who take the Energy Challenge pledge. BGE provides EmPower Maryland and the City of Baltimore program data at the county and by zip code levels for BGE's service territory on a semi-annual basis. 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: January 2017

Efficiency Efforts in Water ServicesList All

Water Efficiency

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.

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.

Green Stormwater Infrastructure

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 stormwater mitigation goals.

Last Updated: January 2017

Score: 12 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

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

Last updated: January 2017

Mode Shift List All

Modal Share Targets

Baltimore has not yet developed targets to promote a modal shift in transportation.

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 first implementation stage of a bike share program, Baltimore Bikeshare, under this program the city currently has 20 stations with a total of 200 bicycles.

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.

Last updated: January 2017

Transit List All

The MTA transit system that serves Baltimore has received $983,430,411 in average annual funding from 2011-2015. This funding level is $351.55 per resident in the service territory of the agency, putting it in the second highest category ($250-399) available in the transit funding. 

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 23, putting it in the third highest category (15-29) available in the City Scorecard.

Last updated: January 2017

Efficient VehiclesList 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 EV charging infrastructure. The city does own 97 electric charging stations available for public use.

Last updated: January 2017

Freight List All

Sustainable freight plan

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

Smart freight

Baltimore does not employ an internet-based application or service to coordinate freight transport.

Last updated: January 2017

Sustainable Transportation Planning List All

We could not confirm if Baltimore has a city-wide sustainable transportation plan in place to reduce VMTs.

Last updated: January 2017

Low-Income in Transit-Oriented Development Areas List All

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

Last updated: January 2017