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Washington State Requirements for Energy Use Tracking and Reporting

One of the reasons state agencies invest in building energy use accounting is to comply with state policies and regulations that require the tracking of energy use:

Building Energy Benchmarking Act

This act (RCW 19.27A.190 – 2009) requires that all state agencies, colleges, and universities input energy use data into U.S. EPA’s ENERGY STAR PM for state-owned buildings and campuses – at least those that are over 10,000 square-feet. This also includes leased facilities where utility bills are paid directly by an agency rather than the owner. OFM estimated in 2017 that state agencies lease rough 8.7 million square-feet of facilities. State agencies can perform this task themselves, or they can outsource it to another organization. Furthermore, ENERGY STAR scores impact an agency’s ability to renew property leases as follows:

  • 75 – No energy audit needed
  • 74-51 – Perform a preliminary energy audit, and the owner/lessee must agree to implement cost-effective energy conservation measures (ECMs) within the first two years of a new lease agreement
  • <50 – The agency, in consultation with the Department of Enterprise Services, must complete a preliminary energy audit. If potential cost-effective ECMs are identified, the lessor must perform an investment-grade audit and implement cost-effective ECMs

The State Agency Climate Leadership Act

This act (RCW 70.235.050 and 060) requires agencies, as well as colleges and universities, producing more than 5,000 metric tons of CO2-equivalent to track, report, and reduce their greenhouse gases.

Washington State Energy Performance Standard for Commercial Buildings (Clean Buildings Standard, HB 1257, 2019)

This standard will require all owners of commercial buildings (not including multi-family) over 50,000 gross square feet (excluding parking garage area) to implement an energy management plan and to demonstrate that their building uses less energy that a specified energy target. A voluntary early adopter program provides financial incentives for buildings (including multi-family) whose weather-normalized site energy use intensity (EUI) is 15 EUI greater than the target. Applications for the early adopter program will be accepted starting the summer of 2021. For more information, go to the Clean Buildings website: https://www.commerce.wa.gov/growing-the-economy/energy/buildings/

Washington State Department of Enterprise Services (DES)

DES provides oversight of state agencies using PM. This includes bi-annual PM benchmarking reports. These show the energy use index for facilities owned or leased by state agencies, colleges and universities. It summarizes challenges they had and makes recommendations for increasing their success.

Washington State Office of Financial Management (OFM)

OFM maintains a facility inventory database, accessed through their Facility Portfolio Manager Tool (FMPT). As of 2017, the database showed:

  • State agencies owned 26.1 million SF and only 55% of those required to have energy benchmarks in PM actually had these
  • Colleges owned 20.7 million square feet of facilities and leased roughly 1 million square feet of facilities, and only 30% of those required to have energy benchmarks in PM actually had these
  • Universities owned 51.2 million square feet of facilities and only 17% of the facilities requiring current PM accounts actually had them