Opportunity to Reduce Commercial Building GHG emissions may be Lost in Rule Making. Comments directed to the State Department of Commerce will be most impactful before the end of August. 

WE NEED YOUR HELP: Let the state know that their proposed building targets are too low.

Large commercial buildings are the major contributors of GHG in the commercial building sector.  Last year the State passed the Clean Building Act to reduce GHG emissions in large commercial buildings in the State.  It was a strong bill requiring these buildings to meet energy use target by 2026.

Unfortunately the devil is in the details! The State Department of Commerce is now developing the rules for this process including the targets for energy use reduction. They are proposing that buildings will have to use 15% less than the current average energy use in these buildings.  Their own experts say these buildings can achieve 25-35% reductions and other experts put it as high as 50% reduction in energy use.

The 43rd District democrats Environmental Caucus has been following the rule making and urges you to contact the State Department of Commerce and at least tell them to set the targets at 25-50% to fulfill the stated purpose of the bill:  ” In developing energy performance standards, the department shall seek to maximize reductions of greenhouse gas emissions from the building sector.”

Send your input to Chuck Murray, Senior Energy Policy Specialist and Emily Salzberg, Buildings Unit Managing Director, buildings@commerce.wa.gov. Please send now as they are writing final rules this month and then again during public hearings scheduled for September.

For clarifications, other recommendations to strengthen bill and comments already submitted by caucus: contact Holly Townes at 43rdenvcaucus@gmail.com

Sample letter:

Dear Chuck Murray Sr. Energy Policy Specialist and Emily Salzberg Building Unit Managing DIrector,

As a citizen of Washington State concerned about climate change I was thrilled when the Clean Building Act was passed by our legislature in 2019.

I am disappointed to learn that the rules for implementing the bill are not as stringent as experts believe they could be.  The purpose of the legislation is  In developing energy performance standards, the department shall seek to maximize reductions of greenhouse gas emissions from the building sector.” It is my understanding that the consultants who were hired to help draft the new standard indicated that the buildings could achieve a 25-35% reduction in energy use.  Other experts suggest that 50% reduction in energy use is possible.  I was disappointed to learn that the Department of Commerce is considering only a 15% reduction in energy use.

As we face the short timeline to respond to the climate crisis we need our buildings to be as resilient and energy efficient as possible.  Please write strong rules for this legislation targeting a minimum of 25% reduction in energy use and preferably 50%.