Last Updated July 28, 2023
Energy Standards for Public Buildings
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies:
With the passage of Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5509 – Related to High Performance Green Building, State facilities in Washington must be designed and built to the US Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver standards. The bill has been transferred into statute at RCW 39.35.D.
All new major facility project construction and renovation projects over 5,000 sq. ft., where the renovation costs exceed 50%, as defined in RCW 39.94.020, must be designed, constructed, and certified to at least the LEED Silver standard.
The Department of Enterprise Services (DES) was given a leadership role in the development of procedures to ensure the state is successful in this effort. In consultation with affected public agencies, the DES develops and issues guidelines for administering this policy. The purpose of the guidelines is to define a procedure and method for employing and verifying activities necessary for certification to at least the LEED Silver standard for major facility projects.
DES is also responsible for reporting to the Governor and the Legislature related to progress implementing this policy. Public agencies, must monitor and document ongoing operating savings resulting from major facility projects designed, constructed, and certified.
Public K-12 school construction projects receiving state assistance must be built to the Washington Sustainable Schools Protocol (WSSP), or LEED for Building Design and Construction (Schools). The WSSP requires a 10% reduction in energy use beyond what is required by the Washington State Energy Code. The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction will enforce these guidelines and provide relevant information to school districts. The GA will develop and issue guidelines for state agencies.
The Department of Commerce (formerly the Department of Community, Trade, and Economic Development) has adopted the Evergreen Sustainable Development Standard, and set a minimum level of sustainable performance for projects applying to the Housing Trust Fund (HTF).
Some projects may be exempt based on the following criteria:
- Projects for which the applicable agency and the design team determine the LEED Silver standard or the Washington sustainable school design protocol to be not practicable;
- Transmitter buildings, pumping stations, hospitals, research facilities primarily used for sponsored laboratory experimentation, laboratory research, or laboratory training in research methods, or other similar building types as determined by the department.
If LEED Silver is not practicable for a project, the applicable agency must determine if any LEED standard is practicable for the project. If LEED standards or the Washington Sustainable School Design Protocol are not followed for any reason, the applicable agency must report these reasons to the department.
Annual Energy and Water Consumption Reporting
Buildings owned by a public agency are required to provide energy and water consumption, as well as renewable energy and water capture qualities in an annual report to DES by June 1st of each year. This is required through 2016 per the RCW 39.35D statute. If the owner has had difficulties with collecting the actual electricity and/or heating energy (gas, steam, hot water, etc.) data, then a Metering and Measurement Report must also be submitted. This report should also be submitted if some or all of the data is prorated.
This data is compiled and presented in the Biennial Green Building Report to the legislature (up to 2016).
For More information, please visit the program website, learn about Green Building and LEED, or reach out to the contacts listed below. For a full list of contact information, visit the Department of Enterprise Services Contact Page.