How to Comply

View of the Seattle waterfront and commercial buildings

This standard is mandatory for all covered commercial buildings located in the state of Washington. A covered commercial building is a building where the sum of nonresidential, hotel, motel and dormitory floor areas exceeds 50,000 square feet, excluding the parking garage area.

Federal buildings and buildings belonging exclusively to recognized Tribes are not required to comply with the standard. Buildings approved for exemption certificates are only valid for the current compliance review cycle. The building owner of a covered commercial building must report compliance with the standard to the department in accordance with the initial compliance schedule as follows and every five years thereafter.

Compliance dates are by building size

  • June 1, 2026 – over 220,000 sf
  • June 1, 2027 – 90,001- 220,000 sf
  • June 1, 2028 – 50,000- 90,000 sf

By July 2021, all building owners can view the list of possible covered commercial buildings on the Building Owner Notification page

Building owners will also receive a letter with instructions on how to log into the Clean Buildings Portal to verify the accuracy of the building’s characteristics and to submit required compliance documentation.

Commerce is currently performing a quality assurance audit on the list of buildings, to verify which buildings may be subject to the Standard. Letters will be sent to building owners after the audit has been completed. If a building owner of a covered commercial building does not receive a notification, this does not release them from the legal obligation to comply.

Violation and Enforcement

Commerce is authorized to impose administrative penalties upon building owners who fail to submit documentation demonstrating compliance. Failure to submit appropriate documentation by the scheduled reporting date will result in progressive penalties by legal notice.

See Annex Z5 to learn more on violations, assessment of administrative penalties, mitigation and review of penalty decisions.

Ready to get started?

This is a process-oriented standard with long lead times to help keep compliance costs down. It is most cost-effective to start the compliance process early.

The Clean Buildings Performance Standard consists of ASHRAE Standard 100-2018 and state amendments WAC194-50. Follow the link below to fill out a form that will give you access to the integrated document.

Clean Buildings Performance Standard – Integrated Document (form)

a. Watch training videos and presentations on the Clean Buildings Performance Standard.
Start with Clean Buildings 101 or the WSU RCM Webinar: Efficiency through the Clean Buildings Performance Standard.

b. Sign up for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) training series on using Energy Star Portfolio Manager for benchmarking.

c. Explore the Smart Building Center remote learning library.

Establish your building performance metric by benchmarking the building using Energy Star Portfolio Manager (ESPM). Benchmarking will help to determine which compliance path to pursue. Establish the weather normalized energy use intensity (WNEUI) for each building in ESPM. Create the energy use Intensity target (EUIt) for the building in accordance with Annex Z, Section Z6.2. For assistance on how to determine your building’s EUIt, click on this guide sheet

Note: Buildings unable to develop a target EUI shall pursue compliance in accordance with the investment criteria performance metric and are not required to create an ESPM.

Tip: Understand your utility providers’ role in compliance. Utilities are required to provide energy consumption data to building owners upon request. Large utilities (greater than 25,000 customers) are required to provide this data using Energy Star Portfolio Managers’ automated upload protocol. Smaller utilities are to provide the data to building owners in an excel document, meeting Energy Star Portfolio Manager specifications (See RCW 19.27a.170). account.

Develop and implement the Energy Management Plan (EMP) and associated Operations and Maintenance Program (O&M) for each building as outlined in Sections 5 and 6 of ASHRAE Standard 100-2018 and WAC 194-50.

The EMP and O&M are mandatory requirements for all covered commercial buildings. Implementation of these requirements can begin at any time. The O&M Requirements must be implemented 12 months prior to the mandatory compliance date

Tip: Designate an Energy Manager and identify your qualified person. A qualified person requires specific expertise, and certification. Click here for defined roles and responsibilities.

Follow the instructions in the letter. You will receive information on how access to the building owner portal. A list of possible covered commercial buildings will be available on the Clean Buildings webpage on July 1, 2021.

Need more time to comply?
Conditional Compliance is a temporary compliance method that can be applied to avoid the penalty if the EUIt or Investment Criteria will not be met by the scheduled compliance date. See Annex Z4 for more details. Application for conditional compliance must be submitted a minimum of 180 days prior to the scheduled compliance date. 

Paths to Compliance

*Click on image to enlarge

Paths to compliance – written guides and videos: 

    a. Compliance through exemption (pdf)
    b. Compliance by meeting the EUIt (pdf) and video (link)
    c. Compliance through investment criteria (pdf) and video (link)
    d. Conditional compliance granted by the compliance date (pdf)

Paths to compliance – flow charts:

    a. Compliance paths (pdf)
    b. Compliance by meeting EUIt (pdf)
    c. Compliance through investment, with a measurable EUIt (pdf)
    d. Compliance through investment, without a measurable EUIt (pdf)

Quick Links

Compliance Deadlines

Covered commercial buildings must meet the
following reporting schedule:

June 1, 2026
More than 220,000 sq. ft.
__________________________________
June 1, 2027
More 90,000 sq. ft. but less than 220,001 sq. ft
__________________________________
June 1, 2028
More 50,000 sq. ft. but less than 90,001 sq. ft

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