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Efficiency First

2009 Environmental Priority: Efficiency First

Download a fact sheet on Efficiency First.

Efficiency First:  HB 1747 and SB 5854

Prime Legislative Sponsors:
Senator Derek Kilmer
Representative Christine Rolfes

Energy efficiency is the cheapest, quickest and cleanest way to meet rising energy needs, confront climate change and boost our economy. More than 30% of Washington’s greenhouse-gas emissions come from energy use in buildings. Making homes, businesses and public institutions more energy efficient will save money, create good local jobs, enhance energy security, slash global-warming pollution and speed economic recovery while reducing the need to invest in costly new generation.

 

Legislative Summary

Energy Efficiency Strategic Pathway (Section 3)

 

 

This section implements the CAT recommendation to develop a state strategy for building efficiency and carbon reduction. The Department of Community Trade and Economic Development (CTED) will develop and implement a strategic plan for enhancing energy efficiency in homes, buildings, districts, and neighborhoods. The strategic plan will be updated every three years and will direct the State Building Code Council (SBCC) and will be completed in a timeline in conjunction with the SBCC tri-annual energy code update. CTED will convene a workgroup to develop the initial strategic pathway.


Super-Efficient Energy Codes
(Section 4 and 5)

This is a top recommendation of the 2009 CAT, amends the current SBCC code to direct the adoption of stringent new building codes until 2030. The new codes are consistent with the direct energy use portion of the Architecture 2030 goals.

 

Energy use performance scores and disclosure for buildings (Section 6-7)

This section requires large utilities to maintain records of the energy consumption data of all nonresidential and qualifying public agency buildings to which they provide service, and obtain written authorization to upload energy consumption data to the US EPA Energy Star Portfolio Manager database. Building owners and operators will then complete the portfolio manager and will obtain a performance score. Disclosure to a prospective buyer, lessee, or lender of the building performance score for commercial buildings will be required as follows:

 

•January 1, 2011, +50,000 square feet; and

•January 1, 2012, +10,000 square feet.

 

By December 31, 2009, CTED shall recommend to the legislature a methodology to determine an energy performance score for residential buildings and an implementation strategy to ensure disclosure of that score at the time of sale.

 

Improve energy efficiencies in existing public sector buildings (Section 8)

This section requires state agencies, colleges, universities, and school districts and report to a state portfolio manager master account set up by the Department of General Administration. For buildings with an energy score below fifty, they will undertake a preliminary audit by 2011. They will then implement cost-effective energy conservation measures are required by July 1, 2015. The state may not renew leases with buildings that have a portfolio manager score below fifty.


Local bonding authority for energy efficiency (Sections 9-12)

The proposed language allows a city, town, PUD or county to provide financing to deliver and implement programs and projects that conserve energy.

 

This proposal would permit the city/PUD/county to:

 

•Make conservation loans, regardless of fuel source;

 

•Impose rates or charges for “conservation”  services;

 

•Include specific authorization to make grants or no- or very-low-interest loans available to aid the “poor and infirm”

 

•Issue general obligation or revenue bonds, payable from rates/charges or from loan repayment streams (and provide for funding of a reserve that could operate similarly to a guaranty fund);

 

•Own and sell (to add additional funding to the loan pool) the offsets/conservation credits to: the general fund, public utilities, or to investor owned electric utilities (to the extent used to reduce electricity consumption).


Reduce energy costs for low-income residents (Section 13-16)

 

This section amends the current statute regarding low-income weatherization to increase the number and depth of weatherization activities throughout the state.


Contacts: Carrie Dolwick, carrie@nwenergy.org, (206) 621-0094 or James Irwin, james.irwin@sierraclub.org, 206.378.0114 x 320

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