The State of Washington Clean Buildings Act July 1, 2021 Landmarks

July 1, 2021, is a milestone day for the Washington Clean Buildings Act. The day marks two important events for many Washington state building owners:

  • All owners of covered commercial buildings should have received a notification letter for the program’s initial compliance schedule

  • The Act’s Early Adopter Incentive Program begins

What is the Clean Buildings Act?
The Washington State Legislature signed The Clean Buildings bill (HB 1257, 2019) into law on May 7, 2019. This law requires the Washington State Department of Commerce (Commerce) to develop and implement an energy performance standard for commercial buildings greater than 50,000 square feet and provide incentives to encourage energy efficiency improvements. Industrial and agricultural buildings are exempt. The Department used the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Standard 100-2018 to establish Energy Use Intensity (EUI) targets specific to different building occupancy types.

Does This Apply to Your Building?
The Clean Buildings Standard (Standard) is mandatory for all covered commercial buildings located in Washington state. The Standard defines a covered commercial building as “a building where the sum of nonresidential, hotel, motel and dormitory floor areas exceeds fifty thousand square feet of gross floor area, excluding the parking garage area.” The Standard may also be applied voluntarily for multifamily residential buildings seeking early adopter incentives.

While the first mandatory compliance date is not until June 1, 2026, the Early Adopter Incentive program begins on July 1, 2021. Early compliance can make a significant difference in energy efficiency and cost savings for building owners. Additionally, once the mandatory compliance period begins, a building not in compliance will face financial penalties.

What is the Early Adopter Incentive Program?
The Early Adopter Incentive Program includes a $75 million pool of incentive funds for buildings that qualify. The program begins on July 1, 2021, and funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis. The qualification for applying to the program include:

  • The building must be a covered commercial or multifamily building over 50,000 square feet of gross floor area

  • The building must have at least one electric utility, gas company, or thermal energy company providing or delivering energy services

    • This is a state incentive and can be administered in addition to utility conservation incentives

    • Utilities that do not pay public utility taxes are not eligible to participate in the Early Adopter Incentive program

  • The building must be 15 EUI or more above the target

  • The building must be brought into full compliance with the Standard and meet their EUI target

There is a one-time base incentive payment of $.85 per gross square foot of floor area (excluding parking, unconditioned, or semi-conditioned spaces) for eligible building owners who demonstrate compliance with the Standard.

Are you in compliance?
EEI is ready to help! EEI is a consulting firm with licensed professional engineers, certified energy managers, energy management professionals, and certified commissioning professionals. Our energy experts can manage the grant application process and guide you through the necessary improvements and verifications to receive maximum funding.

Contact EEI today to get started:

June 17, 2021
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