The Washington State Legislature continues its “long” session in 2015 with significant challenges for funding education and transportation in the state. While these issues have prominence, along with a proposal to establish a carbon “cap and trade” system, a number of energy bills have been introduced. NEEC highest priority legislation, HB 1278 sponsored by Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, would create stronger enforcement mechanisms for the existing state statute which requires commercial building owners to benchmark the energy performance of their buildings and to disclose that information to prospective buyers, lenders, and tenants. HB 1278 has passed out of the House Environment Committee and the General Government and Information Technology Committee. Amendments to the originally proposed bill would alter the size threshold for benchmarking from the existing level of 10,000 square feet to 20,000 square feet (aligning with thresholds adopted by the City of Seattle). The GGTI Committee also amended the bill to allow single tenant properties to claim proprietary reasons for not disclosing their energy use. The bill has good prospects for passing the House but faces an uncertain future in the Senate. For a complete update on the status of all energy legislation in Washington, visit the Bill Tracker link at the NEEC home page.
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