Clean Buildings

On May 7, 2019 the Clean Buildings bill (HB 1257, 2019) was signed into law. The objective is to lower costs and pollution from fossil fuel consumption in the state’s existing buildings, especially large commercial buildings. The law requires the Washington State Department of Commerce to develop and implement an energy performance standard for these buildings and provide incentives to encourage efficiency improvements.

Commerce created this webpage to provide communications on the development of rules. This includes links to the state law, schedules for rulemaking workshops, and access to other relevant information. Interested parties can also sign up for email notifications on this webpage.

State Energy Performance Standard for Commercial Buildings

Commerce will use a staged approach to implement the state energy performance standard for covered commercial buildings. From 2021 to 2026, the standard will be used to administer a voluntary efficiency incentive program. Beginning in 2026, the standard will be implemented as a mandatory requirement.

The standard will apply to large non-residential building greater than 50,000 square feet in floor area. Large multi-family residential buildings will be eligible for the incentive program, but are not covered by the mandatory requirements.

All buildings will need to develop energy management plans, including creating energy benchmarking reports. The mandatory standard will require building owners to demonstrate that their buildings consume less energy than a specified energy use intensity target or be in the process of reducing the buildings energy use intensity. The incentive program will provide early adopters financial support when they demonstrate they moved a non-compliant building into compliance with the standard.

Rules Development

By November 1, 2020, Commerce must establish a state energy performance standard for covered commercial buildings. In developing energy performance standards, the department shall seek to maximize reductions of greenhouse gas emissions from the building sector. The standard must include energy use intensity targets by building type and methods of conditional compliance that include an energy management plan, operations and maintenance program, energy efficiency audits, and investment in energy efficiency measures designed to meet the targets. 

ANSI/ASHRAE/IES standard 100-2018 Energy Efficiency in Existing Buildings will be used as the model standard. The rulemaking will modify the standard to meet specific requirements of the law. As part of the rulemaking, Commerce will propose energy use intensity targets specific to buildings in the state of Washington and create procedures for reporting conditional compliance and efficiency investment criteria. Administrative procedures will be part of the rules development. Along with developing technical and administrative rules for the mandatory standards, Commerce will be creating an early adopter incentive program.

Rulemaking Activities

Upcoming meetings and comment deadlines

Public Hearing on CR-102 and proposed rules

Sept. 22, 2020
8:30 a.m.

Commerce has submitted its CR-102 and proposed rules for phase two of its clean buildings rulemaking. The rules were published in the State Register on Sept. 2. A virtual hearing will be held on Sept. 22, 2020 at 8:30 a.m. Written comments on the rules are due at the same time. Please RSVP at if you plan to testify. We strongly encourage those who wishes to testify and those who wish to attend to login to the hearing via computer for optimal functionality.

Proposed rules incorporated into ASHRAE Standard 100

Based on input from interested parties, Commerce has created a combined draft of the proposed rule and ASHRAE Standard 100. This information does not change the proposed rule, nor provide new information. The draft simply packages together all of the proposed modifications to ASHRAE Standard 100 in one document.

The proposed rule incorporates by reference ASHRAE Standard 100, with modification.  The proposed rule only includes the sections of ASHRAE Standard 100 that have proposed modifications. This is consistent with the Administrative Procedure ACT, Incorporation by reference (RCW 34.05.365).

The combined draft linked here provides the proposed changes in the context of ASHRAE Standard 100. This has been created at the request of participants. We also want to remind you there are several other references that may be useful. The original text of ASHRAE standards 100 and 211 are linked in the upper right corner of this webpage.

Meeting information

Past workshops

Preparing to Meet the Standard

Benchmark your buildings: To participate in the early adopter incentive program and demonstrate compliance with the standard, building owners will need to know the buildings energy use intensity. This is a measure of energy use per square foot of floor area. We recommend all building owners benchmark their buildings using Energy Star Portfolio Manager. This will help them assess their eligibility for incentives and obligations to make improvements under this law.

Develop and execute an energy efficiency plan: Incorporating energy efficiency in long term facility operations, maintenance and revitalization plans is the least cost method for assuring compliance. The law was specifically developed with long implementation timelines to allow building owners the opportunity to make improvements using this least cost method. Help is available from your local energy utility. The U.S. EPA Energy Star buildings program provide good introductions to proactive approaches. Commerce in collaboration with the Washington State University Energy Program will also be developing support materials in the coming months.


Additional Resources

Need Help?

Emily Salzberg
Buildings Unit Managing Director
Phone: 360-561-8182

Chuck Murray
Senior Energy Policy Specialist
Phone: 360-725-3113

Austin Scharff
Rules and Legislative Coordinator
Phone: 360-764-9632

Sign up for Email Updates​

Email Updates
To sign up for updates or to access your subscriber preferences, please enter your contact information below.