The Washington State Clean Buildings Act and its impact on our cities

With buildings creating approximately 40% of the world’s annual greenhouse gas emissions and 27% in Washington state, officials have moved toward enacting legislation to curb the startling statistic.

In order to decrease the substantial carbon emissions from buildings in Washington State and globally, the Washington State Clean Buildings Act has been created. Known in the AEC industry as HB-1257, this will greatly affect the standards that new buildings are built to and to which retrofits are applied.

One requirement, for example, is energy use. All commercial buildings will be required to hit a certain Energy Use Intensity (EUI) target that must be measured and met yearly in order to comply.

July 1, 2021 was the first day of the Act’s Incentive Program, giving financial incentives to those who chose to comply ahead of the mandatory start. The mandatory start depends on the building size:

  • June 1, 2026: Buildings 220,000 square feet and larger
  • June 1, 2027: Buildings 90,000 square feet and larger
  • June 1, 2028: Buildings 50,000 square feet and larger

Learn more about HB-1257, the nuances of how to comply, and what is required of your building by reaching out to us at We have a 30-minute presentation that walks you through projects that have been retrofitted to be more energy efficient or met specific energy efficient targets. You can also explore common methods to decrease a building’s energy use or see examples of walking tours with owners on projects to gain compliance for the Clean Buildings Act.