Notifications regarding new Clean Buildings Performance Standard are in the mail; building owners encouraged to help refine agency’s data

  • October 21, 2021

Multifamily residential buildings such as apartment and condominium buildings are not subject to new standard

OLYMPIA, WA – The Washington State Department of Commerce mailed notification letters last week to owners of large commercial buildings who might need to comply with Washington’s new Clean Buildings Performance Standard. The standard applies to certain commercial buildings larger than 50,000 gross square feet, excluding the parking garage area.

The notifications are a first step to help building owners prepare for compliance activities. The letters also provide an opportunity for building owners to help Commerce refine its data about which buildings are subject to the standard.

  • Building owners should review their notification letter which includes an access code and instructions on how to create a secure online account to the Department of Commerce’s Clean Buildings Portal. Building owners will use this portal to manage building compliance.
  • If a building owner received a notification letter but no longer owns the building or believes the building is not subject to the standard, they can report their building as misidentified through the guest access link on the portal using the access code provided in their letter.
  • If a building owner did not receive a letter but believes their building is subject to the standard, they can complete a notification letter request form.

“This policy is a significant undertaking and we appreciate everyone’s help ensuring we start this off with the best possible data,” said Michael Furze, assistant director of the energy division at Commerce. “Our team is working hard to make sure we’re reaching the right folks, so feedback and questions are welcome.”

Due to variances in the publicly available data used to compile the notification list, Commerce may have been unable to accurately identify some buildings or owners. Examples include structures that are not actually buildings, such as docks and piers, and buildings under 50,000 gross square feet. Building ownership changes may also have contributed to some previous owners receiving a notification letter in error. Additional information about which buildings are subject to the standard can be found on Commerce’s clean buildings web page.

Buildings are the second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions behind transportation and represent the most cost-efficient opportunity to lower energy costs and reduce pollution from fossil fuel consumption. Washington’s landmark Clean Buildings bill led to development of the performance standard.

Compliance with the standard is mandatory for all covered commercial buildings in the state beginning in 2026, depending on building size.

Limited Early Adopter Incentive funding available

Building owners can also use the clean buildings portal to submit applications for the state’s Early Adopter Incentive Program. The incentive program provides funds to eligible building owners who demonstrate early compliance with the performance standard.

“Washington’s economic success and continued growth created an additional challenge in terms of carbon pollution,” Furze said. “Buildings are the second-largest carbon emitter behind transportation. By converting our built environment to be more energy efficient, we’re helping our communities reduce harmful emissions and creating livable, affordable environments now and in the future.”

Read more about how and when building owners need to comply with the Clean Buildings Performance Standard, the Early Adopter Incentive program, available resources for building owners and more at Commerce’s Clean Buildings webpage.

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