Rep. Doglio’s energy efficiency in buildings proposal one step closer to law

Legislation to reign in greenhouse gas emissions from the build environment continues moving through the legislature with today’s Senate passage of House Bill 1257 by Rep. Beth Doglio, D-Olympia. The Senate made minor changes to provisions regarding electric vehicle charging, so the bill now comes back to the House for one last vote. The bill is part of Governor Inslee’s clean energy package.

“This priority legislation represents a huge step towards meeting our climate targets by reducing emissions nearly four and a half million metric tons by 2035. Washington state will be well down the road towards a clean economy with the passage and implementation of this bill,” said Doglio.

The three additional bills in the clean energy and climate action package–clean fuels (HB 1110), 100% clean energy (SB 5116), and hydrofluorocarbon emissions (HB 1112)–are also still alive as the legislative session nears its end.

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.

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.

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