Early implementation of Washington State’s Clean Building Performance Standard can help building owners save money

In early 2019, the Washington State Legislature passed HB-1257, the Washington Clean Buildings Performance Standard, into law. The legislature requires that the majority of facilities greater than 50,000 gross square feet will need to meet or exceed a prescriptive energy usage target based on the type of facility, with the largest buildings needing to comply by June of 2026. At Performance Validation, we are working collaboratively with utility providers across Washington, the Department of Commerce, and our clients to provide innovative approaches that bring portfolios into compliance while also realizing meaningful and lasting energy savings. 

So, where do you start?  

It is most cost-effective to start the compliance process early. Since the legislation was passed, Performance Validation, has been working with utility providers throughout Washington to help them shape their incentive programs, and to help clients take advantage of the free money available to them. In addition, we are working with the Department of Commerce to help leverage early adopter incentives to further offset the direct costs associated with the compliance process. Clean Building Standard consultants, like Performance Validation, can have our work scopes up to fully reimbursed by executing a compliance plan strategically for an entire building portfolio.  

Early Adopter Incentive Program Details

The Savings VS Penalties 

• Building is 10% over Energy Use Intensity (EUI) target.
• Energy audit, retrofits, commissioning – owner investment of $220,000 (could be largely offset with grants & incentives).
• Cost to recertify every 5 years of $15,000 (energy savings maintained)
• No financial penalty assessed by the department of commerce.
• 10% Energy Savings (roughly $20,000/year)

Total Cost After 15 years: (-$85,000)
• Financial penalty is assessed by the Department of Commerce (recurring every 5 years):
• Base penalty: $5,000
• $1 / square foot / year for 18 months (total of $300,000)
• Total recurring penalty: $305,000
• No energy savings realized

Total Cost After 15 years: $915,000
Cost difference for NOT pursuing compliance over 15 Years: $1,000,000

First Steps Building Owners Should Take 

  1. Establish a champion for the Clean Building Performance Standard at each facility. This individual can then connect with a qualified professional such as Performance Validation to help with the process (including the two next steps below). 
  1. Create your account on the Department of Commerce Clean Building Portal & register your building with ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager (ESPM). Ensure the most recent 12 months of utility data are present and accurate on ESPM.  
  1. Verify your EUIt, compare your EUI to your EUIt and determine the proper compliance path and required actions. 

At Performance Validation, we understand your needs and put every building on its own unique compliance path to better leverage incentives and set up your building for lasting compliance and energy savings. To talk to our team of experts about your specific building needs, please contact us at 253.856.3322 or matt.white@perfval.com

Quick Resources 

Washington State Department of Commerce 

Clean Buildings Performance Standard FAQ 

Clean Buildings Document Library 

Early Adopter Incentive Program 

Welsh Commissioning Clean Building Performance Standard Webinar 

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