Olympia, WA - On Friday, March 29th, the Washington State House of Representatives passed HB 1257, which would create a nation-leading performance standard for large commercial buildings in order to reduce energy use, as well as unhealthy and unnecessary air pollution. Incentives would be provided for building owners to retrofit their properties to address rapidly rising emissions from buildings. Now the bill moves to the State Senate for consideration.
“The cleanest form of energy is the energy we don’t use in the first place,” said Environment Washington Fellow Chris Connolly. “Building emissions have been increasing, but these common-sense measures will ensure we reduce the amount of unnecessary energy wasted and help to get building emissions under control.”
Buildings are responsible for over a quarter of Washington’s greenhouse gas emissions and are the fastest growing source - up 50% since 1990. Without addressing large commercial buildings, Washington’s action on other sectors’ emissions is being undermined.
The Clean Buildings for Washington Act would set energy efficiency standards for commercial buildings larger than 50,000 square feet, which represent just 6% of all commercial buildings but produce an oversized proportion of emissions. Building owners would receive incentives for reducing energy usage and meeting their standards early.
“Energy efficiency receives broad public support and offers a win-win opportunity - building owners will save money, while creating healthier and more comfortable places for Washingtonians to live and work,” said Environment Washington Director Bruce Speight. “We applaud the Washington State House of Representatives for passing HB 1257, and thank Rep. Beth Doglio for her leadership.”
The bill also sets efficiency standards for natural gas utilities and directs new buildings with parking to be equipped with electric vehicle charging infrastructure. These measures will ensure an easier transition to a world powered by clean energy.
Clean buildings have the added benefit of being healthier and more comfortable to live and work in. Recent research shows that energy efficiency projects reduce illnesses and medical care costs, improve test scores, and increase worker productivity.
Environment Washington is a statewide, membership-based environmental advocacy organization that works for clean air, clean water and open spaces. www.environmentwashington.org.