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Washington Clean Buildings Law

The Washington Clean Buildings Act, also known as the Clean Buildings Law, was signed into law in May 2019. The law required the Washington State Department of Commerce (Commerce) to develop and implement an energy performance standard for commercial buildings greater than 50,000 square feet, and provide incentives to encourage energy efficiency improvements. For more information on the law and how to comply, visit the Washington State Department of Commerce.  

Sign up for email updates from the Washington State Commerce Department

Does this apply to my building?

This standard is mandatory for all covered commercial buildings larger than 50,000 square feet (sf) located in Washington State.

How will building owners be notified?

By July 1, the Washington State Department of Commerce will post a list of commercial buildings that may need to comply, along with relevant next steps. Owners of buildings over 50,000 square feet should review this list to determine if their building is covered by the new law.

How to comply

Compliance with the law requires several steps. First, building owners need to develop two plansan energy management plan and an operations and maintenance plan. In addition, buildings will either need to meet an energy performance standard OR meet the law by conducting energy audits and implementing cost-effective energy conservation measures. In select cases, building owners may obtain temporary exemptions. If a building owner does not comply, the State may levy fines. Newly constructed buildings must meet more stringent performance requirements. Lastly, select building types are exempt, e.g., industrial facilities, but an exemption must be filed to and approved by Commerce.

Compliance Dates

Compliance dates are organized based on the floor area of buildings that fall under the law. Building owners will then need to comply every five years after their first compliance date. 

Compliance dates by building size 

  • June 1, 2026 – over 220,000 sf (and then every five years thereafter) 
  • June 1, 2027 – 90,001 – 220,000 sf (and then every five years thereafter) 
  • June 1, 2028 – 50,000 – 90,000 sf (and then every five years thereafter) 

Benchmarking with Energy Star Portfolio Manager

The Clean Buildings Law requires buildings to report their energy performance using Energy Star Portfolio ManagerBenchmarking will also help determine which compliance path building owners may pursue. Tacoma Power must provide aggregated, building level electric consumption data to the building owner or a duly authorized building owner representative. If a building has three or fewer occupants, building owners must secure permission from account holders to authorize release of data. If a building owner elects to appoint a representative, a release form authorizing the representative must be completed. 

To start the utility data collection process, see our resource page and sign up process:

Energy Star Portfolio

Tacoma Power financial incentive programs

In certain cases, building owners may need to upgrade equipment to comply with the law. Tacoma Power offers a range of energy conservation rebates and incentives to help offset investment costs.

We can also provide a high level electricity performance assessment to help identify potential opportunities. However, the assessment will not satisfy the energy audit requirements of the Clean Buildings Law and we do not provide funding for energy audits.

Early adopter incentive program

To support building owners that need to improve their building energy performance, Commerce will administer the Early Adopter Incentive program that begins July 1, 2021.  To see if your project may be eligible visit Clean Buildings – Early Adopter Incentive Program.  

Additional resources

Tacoma Power’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager

Tacoma Power Business Rebates

Washington State Department of Commerce Clean Buildings

Compliance information

Early Adopter Incentive Program

Additional Building Owner Support

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