Climate and Energy

The Environmental Finance Center at the University of Maryland helps municipalities, institutions of higher education, and other Mid-Atlantic organizations plan for management and financial decisions related to energy, greenhouse gas mitigation, and climate adaptation.


Municipalities, organizations, and homeowners have more options than ever before when considering their energy consumption and production future. There is a multitude of barriers to investing in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and alternative transportation that must be examined and overcome before decision-makers can confidently move away from business as usual. Through EFC technical assistance, we will test informational and financial barriers and provide the research and analysis needed to support energy decisions.  

Example of Work:  Through the Maryland Smart Energy Communities Program, the EFC is providing technical assistance to over 30 local governments in the state. The EFC is actively assisting with energy inventories, energy management planning, and investment decisions.


Local, day-to-day activities such as commuting and home electricity consumption are important contributors of greenhouse gas emissions. There are numerous opportunities for mitigating the emissions we create, many of which can actually result in a cost savings such as energy efficiency investments. EFC assists in the development of greenhouse gas inventories and mitigation strategy cost analysis.

Example of Work: The EFC developed a sophisticated model for estimating greenhouse gas emissions associated with the commuting patterns of the Universities at Shady Grove campus community.


Whether a small town on the Chesapeake Bay or a county dependent on an agriculture-based economy, it is critical to understand how climate change impacts your community. Local decisions related to land use planning, economic development, and emergency management will benefit from climate change knowledge. EFC assists communities in assessing their vulnerabilities to short and long-term climate change, developing potential adaptation measures, and evaluating adaptation (and inaction) costs.

Example of Work: In working with the coastal community of Oxford, MD, the EFC has integrated sea level rise projections into our recommendations for financing and managing the town’s stormwater program.


♦ Oxford, Maryland Addresses Climate Change at Local LevelInternational Policy Digest, August 2, 2014

♦ Oxford Sets Tone for Addressing Flood RisksThe Star Democrat, June 13, 2014

Md. Powerplant Emissions Decline is Sixth-Highest in Nation, Southern Maryland Online, November 16, 2013

♦ Oxford prepares for future stormwater infrastructure updatesThe Star Democrat, September 25, 2013

For more information, contact Sean Williamson at


Maryland Smart Energy Communities Program

Maryland Smart Energy Communities (MSEC) is a great opportunity for Maryland city, county, and local governments to take control of their energy future. By adopting a set of policies related to energy efficiency, renewable energy, and/or transportation, a community will be designated a Smart Energy Community and receive grant funding for energy projects. The first round of funding saw 35 communities participate with grant awards ranging from $35,000 (for smaller towns) to $500,000 (for large counties).