case studies: washington state department of commerce

Setting Standards to Limit Energy Used by Commercial Buildings

The state of Washington took an important step to encourage greater energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gases by passing House Bill HB 1257 in 2019. In accordance with this law, the state Department of Commerce established a State Energy Performance Standard for buildings with floor area exceeding 50,000 square feet. By setting this standard, the state seeks to maximize reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from the building sector. The standard includes energy use intensity targets by building type and methods of conditional compliance. Examples of such methods are energy management plans, operations and maintenance programs, energy efficiency audits, and investments in energy efficiency measures designed to meet the targets.

The state hired SBW to develop the first set of Energy Use Intensity (EUI) targets. We analyzed data collected through field studies, such as the most recent national Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey and the Northwest Commercial Building Stock Assessment. We also analyzed the City of Seattle’s benchmarking datato understand energy use in large buildings in the city. Based on these analyses and input from stakeholders, the state adopted EUI targets for 2026 that are 15 percent less than the average for all commercial buildings. The state will update this standard by July 1, 2029, and every five years thereafter. To learn more about our work in support of this standard, follow this link.