What is the Washington Clean Buildings Performance Standard?
The Clean Building Performance Standard enacted by Washington State Legislative House Bill 1257 in 2019 is a performance-based energy efficiency framework focused on existing buildings greater than 50,000 square feet. This framework provides each applicable building an Energy Use Intensity (EUI) target based on use and climate zone. Each facility must meet or beat its EUI target one of the two years prior to reporting. Future reporting is required every five years going forward. Building owners can submit before their mandatory dates, and incentives are available to early adopters of the program.
Who Does the Washington Clean Buildings Performance Standard Affect?
The standard applies to all non-residential buildings greater than 50,000 gross square feet. Under this standard, building owners are the specific entity responsible for ensuring requirements are met. The Washington State Commerce Department will notify all property owners of their responsibilities by July 1, 2021.
How do you Comply with the Performance Standard?
Building owners comply with clean buildings performance standard by ensuring their facility’s EUI is less than their building type EUI target by reporting deadlines. Building EUI must be tracked using the EPA’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager®. Buildings may require additional operational and maintenance services or upgrades and possible capital expenditures to achieve the necessary EUI targets. Besides meeting EUI targets, building owners must complete and submit Commerce forms (Compliance Forms A, B, and C) and submit an energy management plan and an operations and management (O&M) plan.
What is the Early Adopter Incentive Program?
An eligible building owner can receive a base incentive payment of $0.85 per gross square foot, not including parking and other unconditioned spaces, for energy-efficient upgrades made to meet EUI targets. A total program incentive allotment of $75 million will be issued on a first-come, first-serve basis. Applications for the Early Adopter Incentive Program can be submitted starting July 1, 2021. Building owners will not receive incentive payments until energy efficiency measures are completed, and compliance reporting is finalized — including at least 12 months of measurement and verification. Other requirements include:
- The building’s baseline EUI exceeds its target by 15 or more EUI units.
- At least one of the building’s utility providers is participating in the incentive program.
- Owners must submit incentive applications by the deadline for each property size category.
What Happens if you Do Not Comply?
Commerce will penalize building owners in the case of noncompliance. Penalties of up to $5,000 annually plus a daily fine of up to $1 per year, per square foot will be assessed. Fines are not to exceed 18 months of accrued penalty.
Early Adopter and Mandatory Compliance Dates
|Facility Square Footage (Excluding Parking)||Early Adopter Incentive Submission Dates||Mandatory Compliance Dates|
|220,000 square feet or greater||July 1, 2021 – June 1, 2025||June 1, 2026|
|90,001 – 220,000 square feet||July 1, 2021 – June 1, 2026||June 1, 2027|
|50,000 – 90,000 square feet||July 1, 2021 – June 1, 2027||June 1, 2028|
Exceptions for Buildings
- The building did not have a certificate of occupancy or a temporary certificate of occupancy for all 12 months prior to the building owner’s compliance schedule.
- The sum of the building’s gross floor area is less than 50,000 square feet.
- The building meets at least one of the several specific conditions of financial hardship.
- The building did not have an average physical occupancy of at least 50% throughout the 12 months prior to the building owner’s compliance schedule.
- The primary use of the building is manufacturing or other industrial purposes.
- The building is an agricultural facility.
Navigating the Clean Buildings Performance Standard
The initial step to complying with the Clean Buildings Performance Standard is to ensure your building is registered and your building’s data is up to date with the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager® website. Portfolio Manager® is an online energy management and tracking tool used to determine your facility’s EUI. Once you assess your building’s EUI, action will need to be taken regardless of whether your building meets its EUI target. All building owners will need to submit Commerce forms, an energy management plan, and an O&M plan. Depending on how close your building’s EUI is to its target, it may need an energy audit to identify upgrades to improve the facility’s EUI score. If your facility’s EUI is significantly greater than the target (approximately more than 10 points over), you may need to plan for capital expenditures to meet the standard. ATS is well versed in all the available options and incentives available to meet this standard. Often there will be low-cost options to improve your EUI score.
How Can ATS Help?
ATS has the expertise and know-how to be your Washington Clean Buildings Performance Standard partner. We are experts in your building automation equipment and sequencing, and we can assist your team in setting up your Portfolio Manager® account. If you need assistance meeting your building’s EUI target, ATS has low-cost service solutions like FacilityAI which autonomously tunes your facility with efficiency in mind. If you need to make significant improvements, ATS can help you navigate the incentive program and ensure you make the improvements that significantly impact your facility’s energy use.