New Tier of Buildings added with the Clean Buildings Expansion Bill

by Erik Makinson

On March 25, Governor Inslee signed the Clean Buildings expansion bill into law. This bill expands the scope of the Clean Buildings Act to include properties between 20,000 ft² – 50,000 ft². This is a big deal because there are exponentially more commercial buildings in this new tier than those previously impacted by the 50,000 square feet threshold.

Under this bill, multifamily residential, nonresidential, hotel, motel, and dormitory buildings, or “Tier 2 covered buildings”, between 20,000 ft² – 50,000 ft² will have to take steps to satisfy compliance requirements. These steps include energy management planning, operations and maintenance planning, and energy use analysis through benchmarking with supporting documents submitted by July 1, 2027.

At this time, it's unclear what targets these buildings will be subjected to, though the Department of Commerce has again been tasked with creating the rules.

Incentives for completing the compliance requirements before July 1, 2027 range between $6,000 and $15,000 on a per ft² basis ($.30 per ft²). There is a total of $150 million in incentive funds available statewide through this program. In many cases, these incentives can pay for the creation of the energy management and O&M plans, so early action will be important.