Focus on Climate Change Ramps Up With New West Coast Building Energy Initiatives

As the energy grid across the West Coast becomes more reliant on clean power sources, Washington, Oregon, and California are responding with legislation that will push new and existing buildings to improve their energy efficiencies and carbon emissions. Our Energy team is here to help you chart a path to compliance and carbon reduction.

Here is a brief review of several upcoming pieces of legislation that are likely to impact West Coast owners in 2021 and beyond.

Washington State Clean Buildings Act

Set to phase in between 2026 and 2028, the Act sets new EUI targets buildings must meet, based on size building type and location.

EUI targets Washington buildings must meet for compliance with the state’s new senate bill.

Deadlines begin phasing in June 2026, for commercial buildings larger than 220,000 square feet, followed by buildings larger than 90,001 square feet in June 2027, and buildings larger than 50,000 square feet in June 2028.

While deadlines are several years out, the time to start paying attention to the Washington State Clean Buildings Act is now. There are multiple paths to compliance, however, and there are significant rebates available for early compliance.

Our energy group is assisting clients with early compliance to receive the maximum rebate possible. Learn more here. Or, contact Brian Goldcrump, our Northern Region Energy Lead, directly to discuss preparing your facility for compliance.

The 100 Percent Clean Energy Act of 2018

California’s 100 Percent Clean Energy Act is paving the way for cities across the state to craft their own electrification and decarbonization programs.

Also known as Senate Bill 100, the California Bill sets state-wide goal of powering all retail electricity sold in California with renewable and zero-carbon resources – e.g. solar, wind and others that do not emit greenhouse gases. Additionally, the bill:

  • Updates the state’s Renewables Portfolio Standard to ensure that by 2030 at least 60 percent of California’s electricity is renewable (
  • Requires the Energy Commission, Public Utilities Commission and Air Resources Board to use programs under existing laws to achieve 100 percent clean electricity and issue a joint policy report on SB 100 by 2021 and every four years thereafter. (

We are already working with several organizations looking to electrify and decarbonize. However, some in California are moving ahead of this timeline with commitments to be carbon neutral earlier than what is required by Senate Bill 100. We are partnering with the California State University system to chart a pathway toward carbon neutrality for all of its campuses by 2030. Many of these facilities require solutions beyond electrification to meet their accelerated timelines, and we already provided recommendations leading to 60% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions at the CSU Long Beach campus through a mix of onsite energy generation, HVAC retrofitting, carbon offset purchasing, and system electrification. Working closely with facilities staff and stakeholders at CSU, we’ve learned how to effectively develop tailored solutions to each client.

California Cities Push on with Building Electrification Requirements

So far, more than 40 cities across California have updated their building codes to reduce or eliminate their reliance on fossil fuels. This is being done largely through updates requiring new buildings be fully electrified. While no updates have been made to California’s Title 24 state energy code, these cities are forging ahead on their own to meet the state’s ambitious carbon reduction goals.

Using this interactive map you can see which municipalities have adopted some form of electrification. If you own or operate facilities in these areas that need updating for compliance, Brian Stern, our California Energy Team Lead can help. Click here to reach out.

We’re here to help you find clear solutions to complex problems. If you are in a jurisdiction with existing or upcoming electrification or decarbonization compliance mandates, we can help. To learn more about how we can help your facility meet its decarbonization goals, visit our energy team page.