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Advocates applaud Maryland Gov. Moore’s executive order to develop healthy air standards for HVACs and water heaters this year


Governor Moore Signs Executive Order

GHHI and Climate Advocates applaud Governor Wes Moore’s issuance of an Executive Order directing the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) to develop zero-emission heating equipment standards


Baltimore, MD – Governor Wes Moore, Maryland cabinet secretaries, city and state leaders, climate advocates and community leaders gathered in Baltimore today at Henderson Hopkins Elementary School in East Baltimore to celebrate the signing of an Executive Order by the Governor that requires that Maryland develop zero-emission heating equipment standards. By developing and adopting zero-emission heating equipment standards, Maryland will ensure that homes and buildings in Maryland utilize clean energy heating appliances that are energy efficient, reduce monthly utility costs and create a healthier indoor environment for occupants. Eliminating fossil fuel burning heating equipment is a critical component of the state’s plan to achieve its nation leading climate reduction goals of reducing carbon emissions by 60% by 2031.

In today’s Executive Order, the Governor instructs the state departments to create plans to reach zero emissions that will drive Maryland significantly faster in its efforts to reduce its greenhouse gas footprint. Governor Moore continues to take ambitious actions and implement multiple strategies to ensure that Maryland achieves its aggressive statewide goals for emissions reductions.

“Today’s announcement from Gov. Moore not only cements Maryland’s legacy as a climate leader, but will create more equitable access to climate and health resources, paying dividends for generations to come,” said Ruth Ann Norton, President & CEO of the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative. “Phasing in zero-emission heating equipment standards, coupled with policies that build healthier, more affordable homes, will provide urgent relief in the form of cleaner, healthier air for low-income families and a future where all Marylanders can thrive.”

Growing evidence has highlighted the negative health impacts of fossil fuels from residential usage. In September 2023, GHHI, CASA, Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN), and RMI published the report Cutting Through the Smog[1] which highlighted that fossil fuel furnaces, HVAC systems, water heaters and other equipment emit more than three times as much health-harming nitrogen oxides as Maryland’s power plants. This disproportionately affects low-income residents and communities of color where pollution, environmental justice and health issues are compounded. The report highlights that outdoor pollution alone from fossil fuel equipment in Maryland caused an estimated 163 premature deaths in 2017, causing 3,500 cases of respiratory symptoms, 6,500 lost workdays, and $1.3 billion in public health impacts per year.

By moving to electric heat pumps and heat pump hot water heaters, Maryland will eliminate the source exposure of fossil fuel combustion and toxic gas leakage from fossil-fuel heating appliances and provide equitable access in disadvantaged communities to more energy efficient and healthier electric technologies for homes and buildings. By eliminating combustion heating appliances through the Governor’s action today, Maryland will greatly improve indoor air quality and help reduce a number of health disparities such as asthma and respiratory ailments.

GHHI thanks its many climate advocacy partners who have tirelessly pursued and supported zero emission standards that culminated in today’s signing of the Executive Order by Governor Moore including: CCAN, Sierra Club Maryland Chapter, RMI, Maryland PIRG, CASA, Maryland League of Conservation Voters and Interfaith Power & Light among others.

GHHI is the nation’s leading authority on the benefits of a whole-house approach that aligns, braids and coordinates energy efficiency, health and safety to create an integrated home repair and retrofit delivery model to improve health, economic and social outcomes and that support state and national climate goals.

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About the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative
GHHI is dedicated to addressing the social determinants of health and racial equity through the creation of healthy, safe and energy efficient homes. By delivering a standard of excellence in its work, GHHI aims to eradicate the negative health impacts of unhealthy housing and unjust policies for children, seniors and families to ensure better health, economic and social outcomes for low-income communities of color. For more information about the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative, its work and impacts, visit


Media Contact

Ruth Ann Norton
President and CEO

[1] CASA, Green & Healthy Homes Initiative, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, and RMI, Cutting Through the Smog: How Air Quality Standards Help Solve the Hidden Health Toll of Air Pollution from Maryland’s Homes and Businesses (September 2023).

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