July 27, 2021

Washington State Clean Buildings Law


In 2019, Governor Inslee signed the Washington State Clean Buildings Performance Standard bill into law, which requires all commercial buildings in the state with an area greater than 50,000 square feet to reach a prescribed Energy Use Intensity (EUI) target beginning in 2026. The legislation requires the Washington State Department of Commerce to develop and implement an energy performance standard for these buildings and provide incentives to encourage efficiency improvements.  To encourage building owners, the state has created a $75 million incentive fund for early adopters. 

Covered buildings affected by the law will be notified by the Washington State Department of Commerce.  The Clean Buildings Performance Standard (CBPS) contains the specific requirements for business owners.  The process of complying with these requirements is complex and we encourage our customers to become familiar with the CBPS.  While Benton PUD will play a role in providing energy usage data to building owners and administering state funded incentives, it is important to understand that owners will be working directly with Washington State Department of Commerce to register their properties and to submit documentation that will be required for the program.     
Below are some of the key points from the Clean Buildings program:

  • EUI targets are based on building categories (e.g., hospitals, supermarkets, schools) derived from regional and national surveys of commercial buildings. 
  • Buildings which are not in compliance with this requirement will need to hire a qualified professional to conduct a walkthrough audit of the building and prescribe energy efficiency measures which will bring the building into compliance.
  • Building owners will need to create a profile of their building using the EPA’s Portfolio Manager (free) software.  Benton PUD will provide the energy use data needed to complete this profile. 
  • Building owners will need to submit an Operations and Maintenance (O&M) plan to the state at least twelve months prior to their compliance deadline.
    • Building Size O&M Plan Deadline
      220,000 + ft2 June 1, 2025
      90,000 to 220,000 ft2 June 1, 2026
      50,000 to 90,000 ft2 June 1, 2027
  • Multi-family residential buildings (apartments) will not need to comply with the Clean Building law but are eligible for Washington State incentives. 
  • Commercial buildings may be eligible for Washington State incentives.  A commercial building must be somewhat higher than their required target to apply for incentives.
  • Half of the Washington State incentives will be on a first come, first serve basis.   

In addition to the incentives being offered by the state, Benton PUD also has a Commercial Energy Efficiency Rebate program for commercial customers who make qualifying energy efficiency improvements.

For more on the CBPS program and standards and how to make sure you comply, go to the Washington State Department of Commerce’s Clean Building webpage.