Sustainable Solutions

Key Environmental Bills on the Books in Washington State for 2024

Adjourned earlier this year on March 7, the 2024 Washington state legislative session discussed a variety of topics concerning the environment, as well as the challenging landscape that has developed for policy advancements, particularly on the environmental sustainability and climate change fronts. The session unfolded with a mix of outcomes, despite Gov. Jay Inslee’s clear commitment to tackling climate change, further highlighting the complexity of achieving legislative progress on this critical issue.

There were a few stand outs to the legislative session, which according to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) include,

Washington HB 1433: Energy labeling of residential buildings

Washington HB 1433 stood out for its innovative approach to improving residential energy efficiency through a detailed energy labeling system. The bill proposed a dual strategy: not only making energy performance scores mandatory before listing properties for sale, but also fostering a culture of transparency and accountability in energy usage. The envisioned labeling system would offer homeowners and buyers a clear understanding of a property’s energy consumption patterns, potential cost savings through energy efficiency upgrades and a roadmap for reducing their carbon footprint.

Despite not being enacted into law before the legislative session concluded, there is potential for revisiting and refining this initiative by working closely with the bill’s authors to reintroduce it in the next session.

Washington HB 1899: Rebuilding after wildfires

Washington HB 1899, which was successfully passed and became effective on March 18, implements a holistic approach toward rebuilding efforts following wildfires.

Through the establishment of a disaster relief payment program, the legislation provides financial aid to both homeowners and local governments, encouraging the adoption of environmentally sustainable building practices. This includes the integration of renewable energy sources and materials that have a minimal environmental impact. To reduce overall energy consumption and GHG emissions, the law mandates that new construction comply with strict energy efficiency standards.

Additionally, in acknowledgment of the increasing relevance of electric mobility, the law requires new buildings to be equipped with electric vehicle charging stations, showcasing a progressive stance on transportation and energy usage.

The legislation also promotes the incorporation of solar energy systems in reconstruction projects, furthering the state’s commitment to energy independence and sustainability.

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