Throughout the 2023 legislative session, building decarbonization advocates voiced strong support for state investments to enable low and moderate income households greater access to electric heat pumps and energy efficiency upgrades. Clean energy building retrofits deliver healthier homes that protect residents from heat and smoke, improve air quality, and lower energy burden. We were excited to see a handful of key budget allocations that will scale up existing programs like Weatherization Plus Health, and generate new incentives to make clean energy retrofits more affordable:
- $80 million towards a program subsidizing heat pumps and other efficient electric appliances that prioritizes low- and moderate- income households, adult family homes, and small businesses. Paired with $40 million in funding for weatherization and energy efficiency projects, this will enable more families to transition off gas and benefit from healthy home upgrades. These programs are in addition to the $83 million in federal funding coming to Washington for heat pumps.
- Public buildings throughout the state will receive over $42 million in funding for energy audits and clean energy retrofits, helping governments lead by example moving to more efficient, electric buildings.
- $250,000 to convene stakeholders and plan for a statewide energy rebate navigator. This proviso is a follow on to HB 1391, which would create a “Navigator” program to connect residents and building owners with energy incentives and did not advance this session. The Navigator will be a critical resource to help Washingtonians access tangible benefits of the clean energy transition, and Shift Zero advocates will pursue again next session.
- $35 million for energy bill assistance and energy assessments through the state’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and Weatherization providers, including a requirement for grant participants to receive a heating/cooling assessment.
Shift Zero partner priorities HB 1433 – Home Energy Score Labeling, which would bring a home energy labeling system for existing single-family homes to Washington, and HB 1427 – Solar Energy Resiliency Act which would extend the availability of net metering to ensure fair access to solar, did not advance this session. Advocates will continue to push for support in the interim.
Other bills of interest that were successful this session:
- HB 1329 – Utility shut-off prohibition. This bill will prevent electric and water utilities from terminating service to residential customers during National Weather Service heat-related alerts.
- HB 1390 – District energy systems. Requires owners of state campus district energy systems to develop a decarbonization plan, and establishes an alternative compliance pathway to meet the State Building Energy Performance Standard.
Thanks to outreach and education by Shift Zero members and allies, we are seeing a growing number of champions for policies and programs that make buildings part of the climate solution. Thank you to the following legislators for your leadership on advancing clean buildings in Washington State!
- Rep. Beth Doglio
- Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon
- Rep. Timm Ormsby
- Rep. Alex Ramel
- Rep. Steve Tharinger
- Sen. Liz Lovelett
- Sen. Mark Mullet
- Sen. June Robinson
- Sen. Christine Rolfes