State and Local Policy Database

Washington

State Scorecard Rank

7

Washington

34.5Scored out of 50Updated 9/2016
State Government
Score: 6 out of 6
State Government Summary List All

The state offers significant incentives for energy efficiency investments. The state government leads by example by requiring energy-efficient public buildings and fleets, benchmarking energy use, and encouraging the use of energy savings performance contracts. Washington is one of the few states to require commercial building energy use disclosure. Research focused on energy-efficiency is conducted at the Smart Buildings Center and Washington State University's Energy Program.

Financial Incentives List All

Financial Incentive information for Washington is provided by the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE Washington). Information about additional incentives not present on DSIRE is listed here.

Energy Revolving Loan Fund Grants: These grants finance the use of proven building energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies that currently lack access to capital; includes residential and commercial sectors. Almost $15 million of funds were awarded to two financial institutions: Craft3 (commercial and residential) and Puget Sound Cooperative Credit Union (residential). Projects completed with loans include residential and commercial energy retrofits, residential- and commercial-scale solar installations, anaerobic digesters to treat dairy and organic waste, and combined heat and power projects using woody biomass as a fuel source.

Community Energy Efficiency Program: The Community Energy Efficiency Program (CEEP) is a community based program that identifies and funds pilot projects that will provide community-wide urban residential and commercial energy efficiency retrofits and upgrades. The implemented energy efficiency upgrades projects are estimated to produce about $1.7 million per year in energy cost savings.

Last Updated: July 2017

Building Energy Disclosure List All
  • Building type(s) affected: commercial

SB 5854 - 2009-10 requires all nonresidential customers and qualifying public agency buildings to maintain records of energy data with an energy star rating system. Resulting metrics will be disclosed to a prospective buyer, lessee, or lender.

Last Updated: July 2017

Public Building Requirements List All

Washington State Executive Order 14-04 directed the Department of Enterprise Services, in collaboration with the Department of Commerce, OFM, and the WSU Energy Program, to evaluate progress and develop recommendations for improving the energy efficiency of state buildings. Subsequent work led to 100% agency compliance with initial benchmarking targets. A cross-agency team is currently piloting a simple, scalable process for building retro-commissioning for facilities that are identified (through benchmarking) as performing at less-than-average efficiency.    

Washington State Executive Order 12-06 established new targets for energy savings in state buildings. State agencies are required to achieve a 20% reduction in building energy use by 2020, compared to their 2009 energy consumption. The executive order also requires state agency buildings to be benchmarked. If benchmarking demonstrates that the building has greater than average energy use for the building type, the building must enter an audit and improvement protocol. A previous order, Executive Order 05-01 (signed on January 5, 2005) required a reduction in state agency energy use by 10% by September 1, 2009, (using fiscal year 2003 as the baseline). It also requires major state construction projects over 25,000 sq. ft. to be designed and built according to the LEED Silver standard.

WA Statute RCW 39.35D.030 (January 2005) requires that all major facility projects of public agencies receiving any funding in a state capital budget – including state government projects, public schools, and Housing Trust-funded low-income housing – must be designed, constructed, and certified to at least the LEED Silver standard and must include building commissioning as a component of the design process. LEED has been adopted by state colleges and universities as well as state agencies. All public schools must meet a LEED equivalent standard approved by State the Superintendent of Public instruction.

Washington Senate Bill 5854, passed in 2009, set benchmarking requirements for public facilities as well, requiring utilities to maintain utility data and transfer the data to facility managers using EPA Portfolio Manager. To date, the state has benchmarked about 99% of state agencies representing over 45 million square feet. Of all state-owned and leased buildings, including universities and community colleges, the state has benchmarked about 74%. Washington State Supports local government benchmarking through a fund to the Smart Building Center. Local governments may take advantage of the technical and data management support available for implementing municipal or mandatory benchmarking and disclosure policies for the general population. 

Last Updated: July 2017

Fleets List All

The Washington State Electric Fleet Initiative, launched in December 2015, established the goal that at least 20% of all new state passenger vehicle purchases would be electric vehicles by 2017. Currently the state fleet includes more than 120 EVs. The delivery of an additional 130 long-range EVs (220 mile range) is now underway.  

Washington state agencies must phase in fuel economy standards to achieve an average fuel economy of 36 miles per gallon for passenger vehicle fleets by 2015 (RCW 43.41.130). State agencies must purchase ultra-low carbon fuel vehicles or, when purchasing new conventional vehicles, achieve an average fuel economy of 40 miles per gallon (mpg) for light-duty passenger vehicles and 27 mpg for light-duty vans and sport utility vehicles. When calculating average fuel economy, emergency response vehicles, passenger vans with a gross vehicle weight rating of 8,500 pounds or greater, off-road vehicles, ultra-low carbon fuel vehicles, and vehicles driven less than 2,000 miles per year are excluded.

The largest fuel use in in State Government is the Washington State Department of Transportation ferry system. Washington State Ferries operates the largest ferry system in the United States. In 2013, Washington completed installation bio-fuel blending systems to reduce fleet CO2 impacts. In addition, Government Fleet magazine recognized DOT Fleet Operations for the fourth consecutive year as one of the nation's top 40 most sustainable and efficient public fleets, presenting WSDOT with a 2012 Green Fleet Award.

Governor’s Executive Order 05-01 (signed by Governor Locke January 2005) directs agencies to give priority to the purchase and use of hybrid and other fuel efficient/low emission vehicles and new petroleum-efficient technology vehicles. State agencies were further directed to prioritize purchase of plug-in electric (PEV, such as the Nissan Leaf) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV, such as the Chevrolet Volt) light- and medium-duty vehicles where anticipated driving range will not require routine charging in the field and lifecycle costs are within 5 percent of an equivalent hybrid (HEV, such as the Toyota Prius) (RCW 43.19.648).

The State Administrative and Accounting Manual (SAAM 12.20.30c) established rules regarding minimum annual days of use and mileage requirements for state-owned vehicles. The utilization requirement eliminates all non-essential and cost-inefficient state fleet vehicles. The most fuel inefficient vehicles were removed from the fleet and petroleum use reduced as a right-sizing result. 

Executive Order 1039 puts a freeze on the purchase of four-wheel drive support utility vehicles.

WSDOT Secretary’s Executive Order E 1094 directs employees to minimize idling time in all aspects of WSDOT’s operation.

WSDOT Secretary’s Executive Order E 1047 directs employees to conserve fuel whenever possible by eliminating the need for business travel by using telecommunications, the most energy efficient vehicles, or combining vehicle trips.

Last Updated: July 2017

Energy Savings Performance Contracting List All

Washington has an extensive energy performance contracting program administered by the Washington State Department of Enterprise Services. The program is available to State Agencies, Colleges, Universities, Cities and Towns, Counties, School Districts, Hospital Districts, Library Districts, Port Districts and other local governments. Since the program began in 1986, it has completed more than $1.2 billion in public facility efficiency projects in over 400 public agencies, received $70 million in utility rebates and now saves $40 million in annual energy costs. The program, which started in 1986, has completed millions of dollars in public facility efficiency projects.  In the last 5 years alone, the program has implemented $354 million in public building energy efficiency upgrades. 

Washington has an extensive energy performance contracting program administered by the Washington State Dept. of Enterprise Services. The program is available to State Agencies, Colleges, Universities, Cities and Towns, Counties, School Districts, Hospital Districts, Library Districts, Port Districts and other local governments. Since the program was started in 1986, the program has completed more than $350 million in public facility efficiency projects, received $442 million in utility rebates and now saves $22 million in annual energy costs. The program, which started in 1986, has completed millions of dollars in public facility efficiency projects.  In the last 5 years alone, the program has implemented $288 million in public building energy efficiency upgrades. 

Last Updated: July 2017

Research & Development List All

The Smart Buildings Center, formerly known as the Northwest Building Energy Technology Hub (NBETH), is a statewide proof-of-concept center and regional test bed for building energy technology development and commercial acceleration. The State of Washington provided $5 million in state capital funds for the program.

The Energy Program at Washington State University (WSU) is a self-supported department that operates similar to a consulting firm. Its mission is to advance environmental and economic well-being by providing energy services, products, education and information based on world-class research.

The Clean Energy Fund Research, Development and Demonstration Match Program is a grant for entities seeking to obtain match required by non-state funders for clean energy technology projects. The Clean Energy Fund was created in 2013 and refunded in 2015 is effectively a green bank for the state. The current budget for the Clean Energy Fund is $30 million.

Last Updated: July 2017

Buildings
Score: 7.5 out of 8
Buildings Summary List All

The 2015 Washington State Energy Code is a state-developed code that is mandatory statewide. As of July 1, 2016, the 2012 versions of the residential and commercial codes include standards more stringent than the 2015 IECC and ASHRAE 90.1-2013. Washington has completed a variety of activities to ensure compliance and involves utilities in its efforts.

Residential Codes List All

The 2015 Washington State Energy Code is a state-developed code that is mandatory statewide. The 2015 version of the residential code is based on the requires compliance with the 2015 IECC, with additional requirements providing an additional 17 reduction in energy use. The City of Seattle adopts an energy code that achieves greater savings than the Washington State Energy Code.

The Washington State Code Develpment Group was awarded the Jeffery A. Johson Award, in part to recognize their recent accomplishments.

Last Updated: August 2017

Commercial Code List All

The 2015 Washington State Energy Code is a state-developed code that is mandatory statewide. The 2015 version of the commercial code is developed using a “best of” approach, selecting from ASHRAE 90.1-2013 and the 2015 IECC. HVAC systems, lighting power and additional efficiency package options have been further modified to achieve additional energy savings. The City of Seattle adopts an energy code that achieves greater savings than the Washington State Energy Code.

The Washington State Code Develpment Group was awarded the Jeffery A. Johson Award, in part to recognize our recent accomplishments. 

Last Updated: August 2017

Compliance List All
  • Gap Analysis/Strategic Compliance Plan: Washington State has developed a strategic plan for buildings, which was updated in 2014. This plan includes recommendations for sustaining and expanding training opportunities, and evaluation of code compliance. A policy review is required by state law every three years. A new strategic plan for buildings is currently under development and is anticipated in November 2017.
  • Baseline & Updated Compliance Studies: A residential code compliance study was completed by the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) in 2013. This report describes the compliance of residential new construction in Washington State with respect to the revised state energy code: 2009 Washington State Energy Code (WSEC). The study team assessed compliance using two different approaches: 1) Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) Checklist Method and, 2) Significant Item Method. The Checklist Method analyzed how well the studied homes complied with each of the 61 code identified process and efficiency requirements, while the Significant Item Method analyzed compliance based on measures that were considered to have only the most significant impact on energy use. The completed study of residential energy code compliance in Washington demonstrates compliance rates at 96 percent and 97 percent for the Checklist and Significant Items Methods respectively. In addition, the study team assessed the energy impacts of code compliance by using a building simulation model to compare the relative energy use of "as-built" homes to the energy use of homes built to meet the prescriptive code. A commercial code code compliance study was completed in 2008 by NEEA and was based on the code enforced in 2001, which was based on ASHRAE 90.1-1999. At the time, compliance was measured at 94%. 
  • Utility Involvement: The regions utilities provide funding to NEEA, which provides the greatest funding for code development and implementation in the region. In May, 2017, NEEA adopted an additional funding path for Commercial Codes Enhancement, providing an additional $1 million to support early development of methods or measures with a focus on code adoption in the next 3-6 years. This is an innovative approach to the development of the next commercial building efficiency standards. Washington has a mandatory conservation standard that requires the state’s electric utilities to pursue “all cost effective conservation”. This requires utilities to support cost effective new construction beyond code as well as existing building retrofit activities. The Energy Independence Act specifically recognizes that utilities may take credit energy savings attributed to codes, third party programs and utility hook-up standards.
  • Stakeholder Advisory Group: Washington State works collaboratively with other NW state in the development and implementation of energy codes. The Northwest Energy Code Group organized through NEEA brings state energy office, code enforcement trainers, and utility staff together to identify code enforcement issues, share training strategies and to develop new code language. This group has contributed to the national code development and enforcement success. Resources developed by these states are available through the energycodes.gov web site. The NW Energy Code Group and participating members have developed many code change proposals that have been adopted by into the model codes, including the IECC, ASHRAE 90.1, 189.1 and ASHRAE 62.2.
  • Training/Outreach: Washington State and NW regional collaborators have provided code training for more than 25 years. Code trainings are taken to the participants as requested by the states building departments, utilities and builder organizations. For the 2009-2012 code cycle, the Washington State University (WSU) Extension Energy program provided 215 trainings for a total of 5,164 students. This includes classroom training on all aspects of the code. It also includes field training with emphasis on completing air leakage testing certification required by the WA code. WSU also provides a detailed web site with numerous training aids, a builders’ field guide and supplemental information to assist in code compliance. http://www.energy.wsu.edu. The Northwest Energy Efficiency Council provides training for the commercial sections of the state energy code. For the 2009 to 2012 code cycle NEEC provided training to approximately 2,500 participants. NEEC also provides a detailed web site with numerous training aids, compliance forms and supplemental information to assist in code compliance: www.neec.net/. For 2016, there were 26 on site residental code trainings throughout the state reaching 898 participants. For 2016, 14 commercial code trainings were provided reaching 540 participants.

Last Updated: July 2017

CHP
Score: 2.5 out of 4
CHP Summary List All

The state has an interconnection standard that applies to CHP and CHP is included as an eligible resource in the state's energy efficiency resource standard. One new CHP system was installed in 2016.

Interconnection StandardsList All

Policy: Washington Administrative Code Chapter 480-108

Description: The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commissionhas adopted interconnection standards for distributed generation systems, including CHP, up to 20MW in size. Two separate tiers for interconnection exist; the first tier applies to systems smaller than 300kW. The second tier applies to systems between 300kW and 20MW, and generally follows the interconnection standards promulgated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

Last Updated: August 2017

Encouraging CHP as a ResourceList All

CHP in energy efficiency standards: Washington has an energy efficiency resource standard for the state's electric utilities. It calls for electric utilities that serve more than 25,000 customers in the state of Washington to pursue all available conservation that is cost-effective, reliable, and feasible. Specifically, utilities must (1) identify achievable cost-effective conservation potential through 2019, with reviews and updates every two years for the subsequent 10 years and (2) establish and meet biennial targets for conservation.  Highly efficient CHP systems – that is, systems with a useful thermal energy output of no less than 33% of the total energy output – count towards a utility’s conservation target.

Last Updated: August 2017

Deployment IncentivesList All

Net metering: Washington's net-metering law, originally enacted in 1998, applies to systems up to 100 kilowatts (kW) in capacity that generate electricity combined heat and power technologies, including fuel cells. All customer classes are eligible, and all utilities—including municipal utilities and electric cooperatives—must offer net metering. Net metering is available on a first-come, first-served basis until the cumulative generating capacity of net-metered systems equals 0.25% of a utility’s peak demand during 1996. This limit increased to 0.5% on January 1, 2014.

Last Updated: August 2017

Additional Supportive PoliciesList All

In June 2015, the Washington legislature passed comprehensive legislation – H.B. 1095 – that establishes a statewide policy fostering the development of CHP. The state now requires major public sector facilities and district energy systems to analyze their critical loads and obtain a CHP feasibility assessment. The bill also improves air quality permitting for faster/easier processing of permits using a general permit or permit by rule with an output-based emissions approach.

The state also encourages the use of renewable-fueled CHP systems and waste heat to power (WHP), which qualify under its Renewable Energy Standard.

The Washington Economic Development Finance Authority (WEDFA) and the Washington State Department of Commerce are low-cost loans for manufacturers of renewable energy technology equipment that would be applicable to some CHP systems.  

Last Updated: August 2017

Utilities
Score: 11.5 out of 20
Utilities Summary List All

Washington's private and public utilities have long records of offering customer energy efficiency and conservation programs supported by regional organizations including the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA), the Northwest Power and Conservation Council (NPCC), and the Bonneville Power Authority (BPA). Washington voters approved the Energy Independence Act in November 2006 that established an energy efficiency resource standard (EERS) by setting new requirements for electricity resources, including greater use of renewable energy and conservation. Utilities are required "[T]o pursue all available conservation that is cost-effective, reliable and feasible." The legislation also requires utilities to use methodologies for analyzing and selecting demand-side resources that are consistent with the methodologies used by NPPC.

The most recent budgets for energy efficiency programs and electricity and natural gas savings can be found in the State Spending and Savings Tables.

Customer Energy Efficiency Programs List All

Customers in Washington are served by a wide variety of utilities—public utility districts, municipal utilities (including one of the nation's largest municipal utilities, Seattle City Light), investor-owned utilities, and rural cooperatives. Energy efficiency programs are provided by each type. Investor-owned utilities carry out energy efficiency programs with oversight by the state's regulatory body, the Utilities and Transportation Commission. Publicly-owned utilities provide programs to their members with oversight by their respective governance bodies. The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, a regional organization seeking to transform markets for energy efficiency, provides a strong unifying force for the many individual utility programs offered across the state—particularly for products and services most amenable to market transformation approaches, such as consumer products and building design, construction and operation. BPA also has played and continues to play a strong leadership role in supporting individual utilities' efforts.

Washington is a non-restructured state and has no public benefits funding to support programs. Investor-owned utilities recover the costs of energy efficiency programs through tariff riders. Program costs are reported and adjusted annually in proceedings before the Utilities and Transportation Commission. Most publicly-owned utilities in Washington also provide funding for energy efficiency programs and services.

The most recent budgets for energy efficiency programs and electricity and natural gas savings can be found in the State Spending and Savings Tables.

Last Updated: July 2017

Energy Efficiency as a Resource List All

Washington, as part of the four-state region served by the Bonneville Power Authority and the Northwest Power and Conservation Council, incorporates energy efficiency as a resource for planning and investment decisions. The Northwest Power and Conservation Council has approved its Seventh Power Plan on February 10, 2016. The plan calls for the region to acquire 1,400 average megawatts of energy efficiency by 2021; 3,000 average megawatts by 2026; and 4.300 average megawatts by 2035. The Council states: "In more than 90 percent of future conditions, cost-effective efficiency met all electricity load growth through 2030 and in more than half of the futures all load growth for the next 20 years. It's not only the single largest contributor to meeting the region's future electricity needs; it's also the single largest source of new peaking capacity. If developed aggressively, in combination with past efficiency acquisition, the energy efficiency resource could approach the size of the region's hydroelectric system's firm energy output, adding to the Northwest's heritage of clean and affordable power."

The Power Plan is a regional energy blueprint developed by the NWPCC that guides the region's largest electricity supplier, the federal Bonneville Power Administration. Under federal law, the Council revises the 20-year plan every five years. While Bonneville implements the plan, the plan also serves as a reference document for the region's electric utilities in their own planning.

Each investor-owned utility models energy efficiency as a resource along with supply-side resources within its integrated resource plan, in accordance with WAC 480- 100-238 and WAC 480-90-238. These rules require that the plan identify "the mix of energy supply resources and conservation that will meet current and future needs at the lowest reasonable cost to the utility and its ratepayers," where lowest reasonable cost means "the lowest cost mix of resources determined through a detailed and consistent analysis of a wide range of commercially available sources. At a minimum, this analysis must consider resource cost, market-volatility risks, demand-side resource uncertainties, resource dispatchability, resource effect on system operation, the risks imposed on ratepayers, public policies regarding resource preference adopted by Washington state or the federal government and the cost of risks associated with environmental effects including emissions of carbon dioxide."

Last Updated: July 2017

Energy Efficiency Resource Standards List All

Summary: Utilities set biennial targets to achieve all cost-effective electricity conservation. Targets average ~1.4%  incremental electricity savings per year.

Washington voters approved ballot initiative 937, the Energy Independence Act, in November 2006 which set new renewable energy resource and conservation requirements for large electric utilities to meet. The law, codified in Chapter 19.285 RCW, had rules adopted for its implementation in 2007 and 2008 (WAC 480-109WAC 194-37).  The energy conservation section requires each qualifying utility (those with more than 25,000 customers in Washington) to “pursue all available conservation that is cost-effective, reliable and feasible.” Seventeen utilities, both publicly owned and investor owned, currently meet the definition of qualifying utility.

The law requires utilities to use methodologies consistent with the Northwest Power and Conservation Council’s (NPCC) to determine their achievable ten-year cost-effective conservation potential, and update that potential assessment every two years. Utilities also must establish a biennial acquisition target beginning in 2010-2011, and update that target every two years. If a utility does not meet its conservation goals, it must pay an administrative fine for each MWh of shortfall, starting at $50 and adjusting annually for inflation beginning in 2007.

Although Washington does not have a natural gas EERS, in 2014 all four investor-owned natural gas utilities committed to funding a 5-year, $18.3 million natural gas market transformation pilot through the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance. The three largest initiatives have the potential to produce over 280 million therms of savings per year with an average 20-year levelized cost of $0.28/therm.

Last Updated: July 2017

Utility Business Model List All

The proposed full decoupling mechanism in Avista's 2014 general rate case (Dockets UE-140188 and UG-140189) was approved by the Commission in November 2014.  As part of decoupling, Avista committed to increasing acquisition of electric conservation savings by 5 percent above its Energy Independence Act (EIA) biennial conservation targets while the decoupling mechanism is in effect.  

Similarly, Puget Sound Energy's full decoupling mechanism went into effect July 2014, accompanied with the commitment to increase the acquisition of electric conservation savings by five percent above its EIA biennial conservation target and increase the funding available for low-income conservation.  Additionally, through its decoupling petition PSE committed to pursuing natural gas market transformation, which led to the NEEA natural gas market transformation pilot.

Pacific Power and Light's decoupling mechanism went into effect September 2016 (Docket UE-152253). As part of decoupling, all electric investor owned utilities in Washington have now been committed to increasing acquisition of electric conservation savings by 5 percent above the Energy Independence Act (EIA) biennial conservation targets while the decoupling mechanism is in effect. Note that Pacific's is only required to acquire 2.5 percent additional electric savings during the 2016-2017 biennium. 

Electric investor-owned utilities may propose “positive incentives for an investor-owned utility to exceed the [biennial conservation] targets,” as allowed by RCW 19.285.060(4). No incentive mechanism is currently in place or proposed, however. Utilities can also be penalized if they fail to meet energy savings goals (RCW 19.285.060). 

Last Updated: July 2017

Evaluation, Measurement, & Verification List All
  • Cost-effectiveness test(s) used:TRC and UCT
  • Uses a deemed savings database: yes

The Regional Technical Forum, a part of the Northwest Power and Conservation Council, maintains a regional deemed savings database and develops protocols for calculating savings from certain efficiency measures.  The electric investor-owned utilities are required to use these savings values, unless they can demonstrate that a company-develop savings value is more appropriate than a regional value.  This allows the utilities flexibility to develop service territory-specific values or update values based on new information more frequently than the Regional Technical Forum. The RTF continually updates the database.

Evaluation of ratepayer-funded electric energy efficiency programs in Washington is required in the state administrative code WAC 480-109-120(4)(v) and relies on regulatory orders. Evaluations are conducted by the independent third-party consultants selected by the utilities. Each electric utility has filed, develops, and maintains an EM&V Framework as well as an EM&V Plan, which is filed with each Biennial Conservation Plan. Washington uses two of the benefit-cost tests identified in the California Standard Practice Manual. These are the Total Resource Cost (TRC) and the Utility/Programs Administrator Cost Test (UCT).Washington specifies the TRC to be its primary test for decision making. The benefit-cost tests are required for overall portfolio and program-level screening. Companies may implement Low Income programs that have a TRC ratio of 0.67 or above. The rules for benefit-cost tests are stated in the Energy Independence Act of 2006

The Commission's Energy Independence Act rule (WAC 480-109) requires an independent third-party evaluation of biennial conservation savings to be included in each utility's biennial conservation report. Independent third-party evaluators are  selected by the utilities in consultation with their conservation advisory groups and Commission staff. 

For natural gas, the Commission initiated a rulemaking procedure in July, 2012 to address the cost-effectiveness of natural gas conservation portfolios in light of low natural gas prices and avoided costs (Docket UG-121207).  The Commission issued a policy statement on natural gas conservation cost-effectivness as a result of this proceeding. The policy statement identifies the Commission’s preference for the TRC as the primary cost-effectiveness test, but allows natural gas utilities to request to use the UCT as the primary test where there are significant non-energy benefits that are known but unquantified, thus biasing the TRC against conservation.

Last Updated: July 2017

Guidelines for Low-Income Energy Efficiency Programs List All

Requirements for State and Utility Support of Low-Income Energy Efficiency Programs

No specific required spending or savings requirements identified.

Cost-Effectiveness Rules for Low-Income Energy Efficiency Programs

Washington specifies the total resource cost (TRC) test to be its primary test for decision making. The benefit-cost tests are required for overall portfolio and program-level screening. Per WAC 480-109-100, low-income weatherization is not included in the portfolio or sector-level cost effectiveness analysis. Companies may implement low-income programs that have a TRC ratio of 0.67 or above. The rules for benefit-cost tests are directed by the Energy Independence Act of 2006, codified in Chapter 194-37 WAC, which specifies that the TRC test include all non-energy impacts that a resource or measure may provide that can be quantified and monetized. Washington also applies an additional 10% benefit to account for non-quantifiable externalities, consistent with the Northwest Power Act.

WAC 480-109-100(10)(a) allows utilities to fully fund low-income conservation measures that are determined to be cost-effective consistent with the procedures in the Weatherization Manual, as well as associated repairs, administrative costs, and health and safety improvements. However, in Docket UE-131723, signed March 12, 2015, the commission revised the rule language to allow, rather than require, utilities to pursue low-income conservation that is cost-effective consistent with the procedures of the Weatherization Manual. “In recognition that low-income conservation programs have significant non-energy benefits, we find it appropriate for utilities to maintain robust low-income conservation offerings despite the unique barriers these programs face.”

Coordination of Ratepayer-Funded Low-Income Programs with WAP Services

Washington State is investing $15 million from 2015 to 2017 to provide weatherization in all counties of the state through its Matchmaker program, which matches state dollars with utility and other programs’ investments in weatherization. This biennium $4.3 million is being reserved in Matchmaker for the new Weatherization Plus Health initiative, which combines energy- and cost-saving weatherization improvements in low-income homes with measures that reduce health risks and health costs for vulnerable families. It is targeted to improve the home environments for children and adults with asthma.

In addition, the state applies over $70,000 of DOE WAP funding toward cosponsoring the Energy Project with the Washington State Community Action Partnership (WSCAP). The Energy Project serves the entire Washington weatherization network and has served as a model leveraging project for other states. The Opportunity Council in Bellingham serves as the administrative agent under an agreement with the WSCAP. Over the 23 years of its operation, the Energy Project’s activities have resulted in approximately $188 million of additional funding for low-income households. The Energy Project works to advocate for energy program funding and program designs that help low-income households by providing technical assistance to local agencies, negotiating programs with local utilities in coordination with the affected agencies, educating decision makers, evaluating and reporting progress, and researching new approaches and best practices for providing service.

Last updated: July 2017

Self Direct and Opt-Out Programs List All

Washington state allows utilities to develop self-direct options for industrial and commercial customers, but of the investor-owned utilities only Puget Sound Energy has developed a program. Puget Sound Energy's self-direct program is only available to Industrial or Commercial customers on electric rate specific rate schedules. The self-direct program operates on a 4 year cycle comprised of two phases, non-competitive and competitive.  During the non-competitive phase, customers have exclusive access to their energy efficiency funds, which are the funds collected over the 4 year period.  When this phase closes, any unused funds are pooled together and competitively bid on by the members of the self-directed program.  Customers receive payment in the form of a check once the project is complete and verified.  Participating customers do not receive any rate relief when they complete energy efficiency investments. 100% of projects are pre- and post- verified by the utility.  This includes review and revision of savings calculations by the utility to determine incentive levels. The program is included in the third party evaluation cycle like all other utility conservation programs. More information on large customer self-direct programs can be found in the ACEEE report, Follow the Leaders: Improving Large Customer Self-Direct Programs.

Last Updated: July 2017

Data AccessList All

Washington's privacy policies for disclosure of customer energy use information are provided in WAC 480-100-153. In 2015, RCW 19.29A was amended to be consistent with WAC 480-100-153.

Last Updated: July 2017

Transportation
Score: 7 out of 10
Transportation Summary List All

The state implements a variety of policies to encourage efficient transportation initatives, and has a dedicated revenue stream for transportation projects.

Tailpipe Emission Standards List All

Washington adopted California’s Low-Emission Vehicle Program in 2005, committing to a 30% reduction in average new vehicle greenhouse gas emissions from 2002 levels by 2016.

Last Updated: July 2017

Transportation System Efficiency List All

Transportation and Land use Integration: Washington State has long been a leader with respect to smart growth initiatives. In 1990, the state passed the Growth Management Act (GMA) aimed at targeting the uncoordinated and unplanned sprawl that threatens the environment and quality of life in Washington. The GMA establishes state goals, compliance deadlines and advice on the preparation of local comprehensive plans without overriding the authority of local and regional governmental institutions. As of February 2000, 92% of local communities mandated to plan fully for future growth had adopted comprehensive growth plans.

VMT Targets: Washington has also established an ambitious state VMT reduction target that aims to reduce VMT per capita by 18% in 2020, 30% in 2025 and 50% by 2050 relative to 1990 levels. 

Complete Streets: Chapter 257, written into law in 2011 establishes a complete streets grant program and incorporates complete streets principles into construction and retrofit projects. 

FAST Freight Plans and Goals: Washington has a state freight plan that identifies a multimodal freight network, but it does not include freight energy or greenhouse gas reduction goals.

Last Updated: July 2017

Transit Funding List All

In 2012, Washington adopted House Bill 2660, which created a transit service mitigation program account to provide grants to transit agencies in the state.

Last Updated: July 2017

Incentives for High-Efficiency Vehicles List All

Electric vehicles are exempt from state motor vehicle sales and use taxes under the Alternative Fuel Vehicle Tax Exemption program.

Last Updated: July 2017

Equitable Access to TransportationList All
Washington considers the proximity of transit facilities when distributing state grants and federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits to qualifying property owners. Last Updated: July 2017
Appliance Standards
Score: 0 out of 2
Appliance Standards Summary List All

Policy: RCW § 19.260.010, et seq., Minimum Efficiency Standards

Description: Washington enacted its initial appliance efficiency legislation in 2005, creating minimum efficiency standards for eleven products. All eleven have been preempted by standards introduced in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and one other will be preempted by federal standards that become effective in 2009. 

In May 2009 Governor Chris Gregoire signed HB 1004, adding efficiency standards for five more products that became effective January 1, 2010, of which only one has been preempted by federal standards. The adoption or recommendation of additional standards is the responsibility of the Energy Policy Division within the State Department of Commerce.   

Last Updated: June 2017