Washington continues to lead by example on building performance with new investments to improve energy efficiency in state agency facilities

Over $4 million in grants for repairs and upgrades at state-owned facilities will yield net cost savings and reduced emissions

OLYMPIA, WA – The Washington State Department of Commerce today announced more than $4.1 million in grants through the State Project Improvement (SPI) program, which aims to improve the performance of state-owned facilities and reduce greenhouse emissions from state operations. The program incentivizes purchasing choices that will increase energy efficiency of capital projects already approved in agency budgets, creating higher return on the state’s investments.

Three grants were awarded:

Department of Labor and Industries (LNI) – $3,348,261  LNI will expand on a project that upgrades HVAC and adds heat pumps, retrofits existing fluorescent lighting fixtures and associated controls.  This will result in a flexible operating system that allows for implementation of zone light level adjustment as needed.  The LED fixtures will be controlled by occupancy and daylight sensors.  Significant energy and operational savings are anticipated along with elimination of the environmental cost of fluorescent light disposal.

Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT)

  • $624,731 for radio sites at 14 locations around the state. These projects will upgrade on-site air-conditioning HVAC with a high-efficiency heat pumps that will also improve current heating systems.  The high-efficiency model heat pumps will allow remote monitoring and alarm the agency when temperatures are exceeding allowable limits.
  • $139,406 to upgrade the air conditioning HVAC system at the Forest Learning Center in Toutle with energy efficient heat pumps and provide enhanced controls for more energy savings and to enable remote monitoring.

To be eligible for funding, the project must have been planned for and in the agency budget, demonstrate a net cost savings, and result in reduced greenhouse gas emissions.  Grants are awarded in the amount required to improve the project’s energy efficiency.

“For decades, Washington has recognized that these are smart investments of taxpayer dollars,” said Commerce Director Mike Fong. “Energy efficiency measures, such as upgrades to HVAC, lighting and other systems, are the most cost-effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve building performance, and we will continue to lead by example as we invest in the state’s carbon reduction goals.”

Buildings are the second largest sector contributing to carbon emissions, behind transportation, responsible for more than a quarter of statewide emissions. To date, Commerce has provided $10.5 million to fund energy retrofits at public buildings, and is a key partner with the State Efficiency and Environmental Performance (SEEP) Office to achieve reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and eliminate toxic materials from state agency operations.

Washington is consistently among the top states for energy efficiency policies and programs that save energy, advance equity, and produce environmental and economic benefits, as evaluated annually by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (The State Energy Efficiency Scorecard | ACEEE).

Washington’s 2021 State Energy Strategy identifies energy efficiency in buildings as a core strategy for meeting climate goals, targeting a 26% reduction in energy use in buildings by 2050.

The state Clean Buildings Performance Standard is the first in the nation, creating energy performance standards for large commercial buildings. Capturing this opportunity for energy efficiency in commercial buildings – where the lifespan is 50 to 100 years – is a key pillar in securing Washington’s climate goals.  While the Clean Buildings Performance Standard doesn’t go into effect until 2026, an early adopter financial incentive program is available to building owners now. For more information on the Clean Buildings Early Adopter Incentive Program, visit https://www.commerce.wa.gov/growing-the-economy/energy/buildings/early-adopter-incentive-program/ .

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