Testify on WA energy building codes on Oct. 16th in Olympia!

Washington state’s Building Code Council is considering a package of energy code improvements crucial to achieving the state goal of a 70% reduction in annual energy use by 2031.

Despite their negligible costs and broad climate, comfort and energy-saving benefits, the proposals will likely draw opposition from some in the building industry and elsewhere. That’s why clean and affordable energy advocates must proclaim their support for these reasonable and cost-effective measures.

We have two opportunities to weigh in on the proposals:

1. Submit written testimony before Oct. 23 to the Washington State Building Council at sbcc@ga.wa.gov

2. Appear and testify at council’s upcoming public hearing, set for 10 a.m., Friday, Oct. 16 at the DES Building in Olympia, 1500 Jefferson St. SE

Comments and testimony should reference the reality that energy efficiency has been and remains the cleanest and cheapest way to meet our state’s building energy needs. Since 1980, energy efficiency has satisfied more than half of the region’s growth in electric demand, saving Washington consumers and businesses more than $2 billion a year!

The Building Code Council lists the full suite of proposed code changes – many of them purely technical – on its website. Here’s the major proposals and how they’ll move us to a cleaner and more affordable energy future:

Proposal 15-E009 – Ductless heat pumps. This cost-effective device lowers heating energy use by 50% compared to electric resistance heat, with a 2½-year consumer payback and net lifecycle benefits of $5,500.
Proposal 15-E012 – Additional efficiency credits. This proposal will add low-rise multifamily buildings to the existing rule and reduce residential energy use by 12%.
Proposal 15-E029 – Insulation for concrete masonry walls. This proposal ends an exemption that the Council said should have been ended already by requiring money-saving insulation of masonry walls, just like other wall types.
Proposals E15-E066, 69 and 70 – Dedicated outdoor air systems. Using smaller ventilation fans ducted to designated areas improves fresh air distribution and residents’ comfort while cutting energy use. The approach is already working well in Seattle, Tacoma and Portland.
Proposal 15-E114 – LED lights. Requiring these lights reduces lighting energy consumption 15-30%. As prices continue to fall, LEDs will become even more cost effective.
Proposal 15-E126 – Menu of additional efficiency options. This proposal will reduce total building energy use by 3% for each option chosen.

More details are included in the NW Energy Coalition’s written comments, available here.

Your verbal testimony at next Friday’s public hearing in Olympia will be limited to three minutes. If you’re submitting written comments, your testimony should amplify your written remarks.

Please tell the members of the Washington Building Code Council to support this cycle’s code improvements package. Let’s keep Washington on track to meet our statutory energy-saving targets and cut business and family power bills at the same time!

For more information, contact NW Energy Coalition senior policy associate JJ McCoy at jj@nwenergy.org