Washington State Home Builders Lead the Nation in Energy Code Compliance

May 23, 2013

Washington State has the nation's highest rate of residential energy code compliance, according to results of a new study released on May 8. The Washington State Department of Commerce and Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA), representing an alliance of Northwest utilities and energy efficiency organizations, announced the results.

NEEA commissioned the compliance study, which included 69 homes in 17 counties. Using two different methodologies, the study found compliance rates were 97% and 96%, respectively. Additionally, energy modeling of each home in the study showed that many homes go beyond the minimum code requirements. In 2009, Washington State adopted one of the most rigorous residential building energy codes in the country.

The effort to measure compliance has roots in the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), which provided federal stimulus funding to states. A condition of receiving the ARRA funds was that states adopt the 2009 version of the national model energy code or a state-developed equivalent and develop a plan to achieve at least 90 percent compliance with that code by 2017. Washington’s residential energy code exceeded the national 2009 model code, but the Department of Commerce had no data to show how it was doing on compliance until this research. See the NEEA press release.