Governor announces plan for ultra-efficient buildings

Gov. Jay Inslee recently unveiled a plan that he hopes would launch a dramatic reduction of Washington state’s greenhouse gas emissions over the next 15 years.

The Governor said the proposal would accelerate the innovation and efforts already underway across the economy to transition to 100% clean energy, construct ultra-efficient buildings, establish a clean-fuel standard, electrify the state’s transportation system and phase-down super-pollutants in certain products. Gov. Inslee believes the policies would reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Washington state to 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2035.

Among the slate of policy measures is one for “Clean Buildings.”

“In the Pacific Northwest, we’re good at developing energy efficiency,” the Governor said in his policy brief. “We can meet 100 percent of our electricity growth over the next 20 years with it. But to do that in a way that also allows us to reach our emission-reductions targets, we’ll need more efficiency than we’re getting through current programs.”

Read the Clean Building policy brief for more information. In summary, the Governor is proposing a bill that would:

1. Build ultra-efficient new buildings
a. Establish a “stretch code” that provides tools to local governments that want to innovate and lead.
b. Allow local governments to voluntarily adopt residential stretch codes ahead of schedule.
c. Leverage state investments to encourage net zero carbon homes and schools, and transform public buildings.

2. Retrofit and modernize buildings
a. Implement an early action energy reduction incentive program.
b. Adopt a performance-based energy standard for commercial buildings.
c. Adopt energy efficiency standards for equipment.
d. Adopt an efficiency standard for natural gas.

AGCW’s Government Affairs Committee is reviewing the proposal. AGCW members with comments or questions should contact Chief Lobbyist Jerry VanderWood, 360.352.5000.