HB 1747 - DIGEST

Finds that: (1) Buildings have a lifespan of fifty to one hundred years during which they continually consume energy and produce carbon dioxide emissions. Existing homes, commercial buildings, and public institutions consume seventy percent of the electricity load in Washington state and account for more than thirty percent of the state's carbon dioxide emissions;

(2) Energy use in buildings is responsible for more than thirty percent of Washington's global-warming emissions;

(3) Making Washington homes and businesses more energy efficient reduces the load on our electricity grid;

(4) The Washington state energy code is updated every three years and reductions in energy use can be achieved by strengthening building codes for new buildings and major retrofits;

(5) Funding for the state building code, responsible for developing, evaluating, monitoring, and adopting fire, safety, public health, and energy codes, is limited to building permit fees of four dollars and fifty cents per permit collected by local governments. The building permit fee has not changed in twenty-seven years;

(6) Facilitating a benchmarking system that provides energy performance information for existing commercial and public buildings in the state would enable building owners and operators to better manage energy use and costs associated with those buildings;

(7) Up-front financing for energy efficiency improvements can be a barrier to investments in energy efficiency upgrades and needs to be addressed to rapidly increase energy efficiency, to reduce energy use, and to meet our state's climate goals;

(8) Low-income households pay a higher percentage of their income on energy bills than other households. Policies and programs should focus on increasing home weatherization and energy-conserving services to reduce energy bills; and

(9) According to the American council for an energy-efficient economy, improving buildings' energy efficiency by twenty percent by 2030 could create an estimated eight hundred thousand net jobs nationwide, and by thirty percent could create up to one million three hundred thousand net jobs.

Requires the department of community, trade, and economic development to develop and implement a strategic plan for enhancing energy efficiency in and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from homes, building, districts, and neighborhoods.

Directs the department of community, trade, and economic development and the state building code council to convene a work group to inform the initial development of the strategic plan.

Requires the state energy code to accelerate construction of increasingly energy efficient homes and buildings that help achieve the broader goal of building zero fossil-fuel greenhouse gas emission homes and buildings by the year 2031.

Requires the state building code council to adopt state energy codes that require homes and buildings constructed from 2016 through 2031 to meet certain energy efficiency targets, using the adopted 2006 Washington state energy code as a baseline.