by Brandon Crane, Senior Associate
The latest news is that the Seattle Energy Code rollout has been delayed until October 2, 2023. The Washington State 2021 Energy code is still due to take effect on July 1, and here are a few things we think you should know about each code.
1. The number one thing to know is that the Washington State 2021 Energy Code is ALL ELECTRIC.
It is the first statewide all electric code in the country, following Seattle’s all-electric lead. There are some exceptions, but once the 2021 energy code goes into effect, prepare to bid farewell to boilers. Interestingly, other states have enacted legislation that prohibits their state and local governments from enacting similar legislation.
2. The Washington 2021 Code’s new electric provisions are for HVAC and domestic water heating.
Owners will be allowed to have gas and electric resistance for a few specific uses where heat pumps don’t work well. For example, exceptions exist for kitchen makeup, outside air preheat, pasteurization, and other processes where the change isn’t practical.
3. The Washington 2021 Energy code completely overhauls the Additional Efficiency Options for an energy focused green rating system approach (C406).
Among other things, this will mean a continuation of the use of VRF and DOAS, and we’ll be replacing boilers with air-to-water heat pumps. This is going to have structural and architectural impacts for size and weight considerations. You will see things like additional points requirements for tenant improvements in core and shell buildings. You can also expect a new point system with new targets.
4. Many retrofits will also need to have all-electric heating and hot water.
In many cases, the Washington 2021 Energy Code will require HVAC and domestic water heating retrofits in existing buildings to transition to heat pumps and to electrify, moving from gas and electric resistance. There are limited exceptions, such as power delivery to the building if there isn’t enough existing capacity for your AHJ. Change of occupancy will require electrification without exception.
5. The 2021 Seattle Energy Code has more exemptions than state code.
For the first time, the Seattle Energy Code makes additional exceptions and provisions to building electrification for community amenities including low income housing and non-profit organizations. The exceptions allow them to avoid the costs and complexity of electrification, and adds vital social considerations to address Seattle’s unique issues.
There’s a lot more to the code, of course, including important changes to commissioning requirements. The projected date of July 1 is coming up fast, when the Washington 2021 Energy Code code goes into effect.
For more information, watch our in-depth presentation on the 2021 Washington State Energy Code and 2021 Seattle Energy Code here:
2021 Seattle and Washington State Energy Codes – YouTube