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Commercial building code updates set to reduce carbon emissions

by Staff Report
| April 25, 2022 1:00 AM

OLYMPIA — The Washington State Code Council, which oversees the state’s building regulations, voted 11–3 on Friday to adopt a new commercial and multi-family building energy code that will be the “most climate-friendly in the country,” according to a press release from Seattle-based renewable energy advocacy group Climate Solutions.

The code updates, which are set to take effect in July 2023, will impact all new commercial buildings in Washington including multi-family residences four-stories and taller. Affected new construction will have to be built using high-efficiency heat pumps for water and space heating as well as additional improvements to make the buildings more efficient, a move intended to save energy, the press release said.

The new guidelines are expected to cut more than 8 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions by 2050, according to the press release.

The code commission vote coincided with an Earth Day visit by President Joe Biden to Seattle, where the president touted proposed legislation that includes additional funding to help low-income home owners improve energy efficiency in their houses.

In a separate press release issued on Friday, Climate Solutions Field director Joelle Robinson said the vote “sets an example” to the nation on how to tackle climate change by reducing “toxic emission from gas-burning furnaces” and make public health and safety a priority.

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