Early Adopter Incentive Program

RCW 19.27A.220, State energy performance standard Early Adopter Incentive program began July 1, 2021 and applies to non-residential, hotel, motel and dormitory buildings greater than 50,000 sq. ft. An eligible building owner that demonstrates early compliance with the Clean Buildings Standard may receive a one-time base incentive payment of $.85 per gross square foot of floor area, excluding parking, unconditioned, or semi-conditioned spaces. Incentive funds are limited to $75 million.

Qualifications for applying to this program

  • The building must be a Tier 1 or multifamily building over 50,000 sq. ft.
  • The building must be served by 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 who do not pay public utility taxes are not eligible to participate in the Early Adopter Incentive program.
  • The building must be 15 energy use intensity (EUI) or more above the target
  • The building must be brought into full compliance with the Clean Buildings Standard, and meet its energy use intensity target (EUIt). 

An eligible building owner that demonstrates early compliance with the Clean Buildings Standard may receive a one-time base incentive payment of $.85 per sq. ft, excluding parking, unconditioned or semi-conditioned spaces.

Incentive funds are limited to $75 million.

Learn more from the frequently asked questions about the Incentive Program.

Program Guidebook

The Early Adopter Incentive Guidebook serves to provide guidelines for the process of applying to the Incentive Program. The full glossary of terms, forms and templates are located in the Clean Buildings Standard. The guidebook does not cover elements of the Clean Buildings Standard that are otherwise covered by law or rule.

Mandatory compliance is detailed in RCW 19.27A.210, which establishes the Clean Buildings Standard, and ASHRAE Standard 100-2018 (link) with Washington State amendments (WAC 194-50).

Energy Audits for Publicly Owned Buildings

The Energy Audits for Publicly Owned Buildings program will help building owners start making energy savings improvements by granting funding for an ASHRAE Level II energy audits.

Utility Role

This incentive program is managed by Commerce in coordination with participating utilities and the Dept. of Revenue.

Utilities with over 25,000 customers are required to participate. For utilities with less than 25,000 customers, participation is voluntary. Utilities that issue the incentive payment to building owners receive a tax credit from the Department of Revenue. The tax credit is used against Public Utility Tax liability.

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

  • Please take time to fill out the Clean Buildings Utility Contact Form. Commerce will use the information gathered through this form for benchmarking and incentive programs across utility providers. Commerce requests that utilities participating in the incentive program complete this form.

Workshop Dates

The Clean Buildings team is consolidating our Tier 2 workshops series so we can give a more focused introduction to all the aspects of this new program. We’ve shrunk the number of webinars from six to five and scheduled them closer together to help keep everything fresh in mind. The start of the program remains the same at July 1, 2025.

The Tier 2 program covers buildings 20,000 – 50,000 ft2, including multifamily residential buildings over 20,000 ft2. The program offers an incentive of $0.30/ft2 to owners who benchmark their buildings’ energy, develop an energy management plan, and create an operations and maintenance program. $150 million is earmarked for incentives.

Please review the revised workshop schedule. Everyone who accepted invites to the earlier dates will receive updated invites soon.

  • June 13, 2024, 11 am to 12 pm Tier 2 Program Overview          
    Kick-off, overview of Tier 2 what qualifies, requirements for complying, July 1, 2023 starting point for Benchmarking, EMP & O&M.
  • August 15, 2024, 11 am to 12:00 pm Funding Distribution
    Funding Distribution, what is an “enhanced amount” only for multifamily, graduated level based on the different levels, underserved, low-income, Justice40, equity, HEAL act….
  • October 10, 2024, 11 am to 12:30 pm Building Focus
    Questions and answers about the program, how to apply in the Portal, Energy Star Presentation, Benchmarking, EMP & O&M gathering ideas for building needs, what is a Tier 2 building (complexes, campus-level, connected buildings), funding only goes to the Tier 2 building.
    Timelines program start, building, when the portal will be ready for application. Guidebook and 1st steps (how to build momentum for applying to the program), ideas from stakeholders on their needs that need to be identified in the guidebook.
  • November 14, 2024, 11 am to 12 pm Utilities
    Q&A, DOR presentation, Portal application verification and approval, uploading data, barriers, responsibilities and requirements, timing of payment what works best, how much time does a utility need to earmark the funding?
  • December 12, 2024, 11 am to 12 pm Finalizing the Program
    Finalizing the Program, 30 days for comment then finalize the guidebook.

Thanks to everyone who took the short survey in our last announcement letting us know if you were interested in participating in the Tier 2 program. If you know of anyone else who might be interested in the program, please pass our survey to them.


Don’t hesitate to email the Clean Buildings Incentive Program if you have any questions.

Past Webinars

Incentive Program Resources

Quick Links

State Energy Performance Standards

19.27A.200 – Definitions
19.27A.210  – State energy performance standard 
19.27A.220 – Early adoption incentive program 
19.27A.230 – Limit on early adoption incentive payments 
19.27A.240 – Early adoption incentive payment administration  

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