ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball today announced the County has been awarded a $326,870 grant through the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program. This vital funding will support the County’s efforts to reduce energy use, curb fossil fuel emissions and improve energy efficiency. 

Leading by example in climate action and protecting our environment for future generations, Howard County has already taken steps cut its energy use through implanting building energy upgrades and pursuing energy independence through the state’s largest solar power purchase agreement. These additional federal funds will further accelerate our ongoing efforts toward a greener and more sustainable future.

Calvin Ball
Howard County Executive

When it comes to carbon pollution in Howard County, buildings are the second largest source behind transportation. The EECBG funds will support the County’s implementation of the energy-related climate mitigation strategies outlined in Howard County’s (HoCo) Climate Forward: Climate Action and Resiliency Plan, which Ball unveiled this past June. These include reducing greenhouse gas emissions from existing buildings, constructing efficient and low-carbon buildings, and decarbonizing the energy supply. 

This grant will augment our planning, program development and engagement efforts so that we can strategically address opportunities for energy efficiency, conservation, and the transition to clean and renewable energy sources. Every step we take to reduce our energy use, improve our energy efficiency and advance our energy independence is a step toward improving the health, safety, prosperity and sustainability of our community.

Tim Lattimer
Administrator, Office of Community Sustainability

As it pertains to County owned government buildings, this DOE funding will assist County staff in auditing energy use, reporting energy cost and consumption data, tracking building-related greenhouse gas emissions, prioritizing building energy-savings projects, and developing electrification plans for buildings currently using fossil fuels.

This funding will also enable the County to engage commercial building owners and developers to collect feedback and data to analyze on-site fossil fuel consumption, as well as offer support and resources to the commercial sector to increase its compliance with state-mandated standards, such as the Maryland Building Energy Performance Standards (BEPS). As outlined by in HoCo Climate Forward, 53 percent of building energy use-related greenhouse gas emissions were attributable to commercial buildings in 2019. 

Additionally, this funding will assist the Office of Community Sustainability (OCS) in its public programming and outreach efforts to educate residents about making sustainable choices, advancing interest in community solar and increasing residential electrification and energy efficiency/conservation. OCS will also seek out community engagement to gather feedback on Howard County’s electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure and support businesses interested in adding workplace EV charging. 

The County’s grant is part of DOE’s larger $550 million EECBG Program, designed to help states, territories, local governments and tribes across the country advance clean energy and infrastructure upgrades. This program is made possible by the Biden-Harris Administration’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and managed by the DOE’s Office of State and Community Energy Programs. 

Howard County’s implementation of its ECBG funds will be supported by Howard County’s DOE-supported Community Energy Fellow, Erin Vicelja. Vicelja joined OCS this past January as part of the DOE’s Community Energy Fellowship Program. Howard County is one of the first municipalities to participate in this fellowship program. 

Vicelja, who holds a master’s degree in International Development, with a specialization in Global Environmental Change and Adaptation, and is working with OCS’s Climate and Energy team to help align the County with BEPS. She is also currently spearheading educational initiatives for businesses and individuals on topics including renewables, energy efficiency, electric vehicles and electrification. 

The EECBG Program is one of many funding opportunities that Howard County has pursued to support its HoCo Climate Forward goals. Howard County currently has numerous grant submissions under review or in the award stage, and frequently leverages partnerships with other jurisdictions, the state and nonprofits. Since 2019, Howard County has received $1.9 million in Maryland Energy Administration grants for solar installations, energy efficiency building upgrades and audits, EV charging stations and green fleet initiatives. 

Media Contacts
Safa Hira, Director of Communications

Stay Connected!

Sign up for the County Executive's weekly newsletter and stay up to date on everything Howard County.

Zip Code