ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Maryland has joined the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Climate Challenge, pledging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from state government operations by at least 50% within 10 years, Gov. Larry Hogan said.

The state is already part of the Department of Energy’s Better Building Challenge, Hogan’s office said. As part of that program, the Maryland Department of General Services reduced energy consumption in state government buildings by 20% between 2008 and 2015, according to the federal agency.

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“Our administration continues to set an example by identifying energy efficiency opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our state buildings,” said Hogan. “Maryland has one of the nation’s most comprehensive, detailed, and balanced plans to address and mitigate climate change, and this partnership only strengthens our efforts.”

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In 2019, Hogan signed an executive order to reduce emissions from all state-owned buildings and make them more energy efficient. The state’s building portfolio has 90.7 million square feet, which includes the University System of Maryland campuses.

Department of General Services Secretary Ellington E. Churchill Jr. said his agency’s Office of Energy and Sustainability will purchase equipment and commodities and reduce energy consumption in a way that “minimizes costs, enhances sustainability, and achieves the state’s climate goals.”

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With thousands of miles of shoreline and many low-lying areas, Maryland is vulnerable to the effects of climate change, the Department of Energy said.

CBS Baltimore Staff