Shift Zero members testified last week in opposition to HB 2667, a bill that would undermine the energy code, one of the most important tools we have to address climate and energy goals in Washington state. HB 2667 would delete Washington’s 2031 goals for new home construction, delay implementation of the 2018 residential energy code, and direct the State Building Code Council to revise the update to be less energy efficient.
There was a strong showing of advocates emphasizing that our Washington state energy code is widely regarded as one of the best in the nation, keeping us on a path towards the goal of net zero-ready construction by 2031 while delivering cost savings and healthier homes to Washington residents.
In response to concerns about housing affordability from builders and their industry association, advocates called attention to the State Building Code Council process, which takes a rigorous approach to cost issues — balancing up front costs and long term benefits, and supporting consumer and builder choice in meeting the energy code. This process is open and thorough, involving numerous stakeholders including builders, technical advisory group meetings, amendments, and comment periods. The 2018 updated residential energy code passed out of the State Building Code Council with overwhelming support on a 10-1 vote, demonstrating confidence in these measures.
Instead of considering this legislation, Shift Zero members and allies urged the legislature to develop policies and programs that support better built homes. For example, the state could provide additional funding to WSU to support more builder trainings and technical assistance. In addition, in past legislative sessions, localities have urged the legislature to allow jurisdictions to go even further on the residential energy code–providing this kind of option would allow jurisdictions to make further progress on climate goals.
The bill is not currently scheduled for further action, but we will monitor it and alert Shift Zero members. In the meantime, we encourage you to reach out to your Representatives and Senators and let them know of your support for strong energy codes.