Buildings are the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions, and the second largest source overall in Washington state—jumping by 50 percent since 1990, compared to 10 percent in total emissions growth. With today’s passage of House Bill 1257 by Rep. Beth Doglio (D-Olympia), the House of Representatives took action to reverse that trend by promoting energy efficiency in new commercial buildings. The bill is part of Governor Inslee’s clean energy package.
Population growth, Washington’s hot economy and the related boom in commercial building construction are a major reason for this growth in greenhouse gas emissions from buildings.
Energy efficiency is the fastest and cheapest way to cut carbon emissions and other harmful pollution. Rep. Doglio led a rigorous stakeholder process with builders, utilities, local governments, labor & trades, and environmental advocates to form an achievable policy that will save consumers money, add value to our building stock, and create clean energy jobs.
The bill requires building owners to make cost-effective energy efficiency upgrades—upgrades that pay for themselves through energy savings so there is no net cost to the building owner.
“As we contemplate a future that relies less and less on fossil fuels, we need innovative approaches to reduce our state’s greenhouse gas emissions from the building sector. This bill will comprehensively reduce emissions from the built environment—4.3 million metric tons by 2035, which is more than a quarter of the way to meeting Washington’s climate targets and puts us on a path to do much more,” said Doglio.
Details of the bill:
- Requires the Department of Commerce (Department) to establish a State Energy Performance Standard for covered commercial buildings by November 1, 2020.
- Requires the Department to establish a State Energy Performance Standard Early Adoption Incentive Program
- Establishes incentive benchmarking requirements for covered commercial buildings:
- June 1, 2026, for a building with more than 220,000 gross square feet;
- June 1, 2027, for a building with more than 90,000 gross square feet but less than 220,001 gross square feet;
- And June 1, 2028, for a building with more than 50,000 gross square feet but less than 90,001 gross square feet
- An eligible building owner that demonstrates early compliance may receive a base incentive payment of $0.85 per square foot of floor area, excluding parking, unconditioned, or semi-conditioned spaces.
- Establishes a Natural Gas Conservation Standard
- Authorizes a gas company to propose a renewable natural gas program
- Requires each gas company to offer a voluntary renewable natural gas service available to all customers
- Establishes a societal cost of greenhouse gas emissions for the purposes of the Natural Gas Conservation Standard
- Requires electric vehicle charging capability at all new buildings that provide on-site parking
The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.