State Rep. Christine Rolfes (D-Bainbridge Island) was honored by the NW Energy Coalition on Tuesday morning with a resolution praising her leadership in passing 2009’s Efficiency First legislative package, SB 5854, which will dramatically improve energy efficiency in buildings throughout Washington state.
The board of the NW Energy Coalition – a regional alliance of utilities, businesses, environmentalists and other groups committed to clean, affordable energy development – unanimously voted to recognize Rolfes’ efforts.
More than 30 percent of energy used in Washington state goes to power houses, office towers, stores and other indoor spaces, yet buildings are one of the state’s biggest energy wasters. The Efficiency First legislation gradually raises standards for new building construction, while improving energy efficiency in existing public buildings through insulation, better windows and improved heating and cooling systems.
The NW Energy Coalition resolution notes the critical role energy efficiency plays in reducing pollution and creating jobs. The bill will avoid about 30 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, equal to taking about 5 million cars of the road for one year.
According to the resolution, Rolfes has “positioned Washington state to be a leader in energy efficiency with her leadership and advocacy for super efficient energy codes, innovative energy performance standards and efficiency standards for public buildings.”
Rolfes described the Efficiency First legislation as “a down payment on energy independence for Washington (that) will help preserve our quality of life. Energy efficiency is the fastest, cheapest and cleanest way to meet Washington’s growing demand for electricity.”