Clean Buildings | Commercial Compliance

Clean Buildings Act

Cowlitz PUD is available as a resource for customers facing compliance with the Clean Buildings Act. The Clean Buildings Act was signed into law May 2019. The law requires Tier 1 commercial buildings with a gross floor area of 50,000 ft2 or greater to comply with the standards as outlined in WAC 194-50. Tier 2 buildings, defined as commercial buildings 20,000-50,000 ft2and all multifamily buildings 20,000 ft2 and larger are expected to comply in the future, with the Department of Commerce required to complete rulemaking for Tier 2 buildings by Dec. 1 2023.

Below is the timeline for implementation of the standards for Tier 1 buildings:

Clean Buildings Timeline


Early adopter incentives are available through the Department of Commerce for Tier 1 buildings at $0.85/ ft2 and Tier 2 buildings at $0.30/ ft2. It’s important to act early as funds are limited to $75 million and $150 million for Tier 1 and Tier 2 buildings, respectively. Cowlitz PUD can assist in understanding how your building may be eligible for these incentives.


Approximately 160 buildings in Cowlitz County are expected to comply with the Clean Buildings Act. It is critical to understand your path to compliance and get started early. Penalties for non-compliance can be as high as $1.00 ft2  per year. At a high level, the following are the steps to compliance:

  1. Benchmark and have a qualified person calculate the building’s Energy Use Intensity Target (EUIt).
  2. Designate an individual as energy manager for the building.
  3. Develop and adopt an energy management plan.
  4. Develop and implement an operation and maintenance (O&M) program.
  5. Meet EUIt (if not already meeting or cannot calculate EUIt) by following the Investment Criteria process outlined in WAC 194-50 to identify and implement cost-effective energy efficiency measures.

Cowlitz PUD Assistance

In addition to the early adopter incentives offered by the Department of Commerce, Cowlitz PUD offers rebate programs that may be used in conjunction with the early adopter incentives. These include the commercial lighting, HVAC, insulation, window & door, and water heating rebate programs. Contact Cowlitz PUD to determine if your building is eligible.

Additionally, Cowlitz PUD can provide:

  • Baseline energy data for use in benchmarking within Energy Star Portfolio Manager
    • For buildings with two (2) or fewer occupants, building owners must secure permission from all account holders for data to be released.
  • Assistance in calculating your building’s Energy Use Intensity Target (EUIt)
  • Assistance in understanding early adopter incentives your building may be eligible for.


WA Department of Commerce Clean Buildings

Early Adopter Incentive Program

Cowlitz PUD Commercial Energy Efficiency Programs

Cowlitz PUD Energy Efficiency Services:  or 360-501-9514

Clean Buildings Timeline

2019: Legislation adopted
2020: Commerce developing WA state buildings database
WA 194-50 adopted 10/30/2020
2021: Early Adopter Incentive Applications open 7/1/2021
Commerce begins compliance notifications to owners 7/1/2021
2026: Buildings greater or equal to 220k square feet need to be compliant by 6/1/2026
2027: Buildings between 90k and 220k square feet need to be compliant by 6/1/2027
2028: Buildings between 50k and 90k square feet need to be compliant by 6/1/2028