February 2022 Advocacy Update

This week in federal, state, and local advocacy: the White House engages on building performance; comments needed on the state commercial energy code; an update on legislative action in Olympia; Seattle's Land Use Omnibus bill will reach the City Council soon; and opportunities on the Seattle Planning Commission, the state Board for Architects, and more!


National Building Performance Standard Effort
At the United States Conference of Mayors winter meeting in January, President Biden announced a new partnership with state and local governments to reduce carbon emissions from the built environment. Known as the Building Performance Standards Coalition, participating jurisdictions include the states of Washington and Colorado and 31 cities, including Seattle. This partnership will support Seattle and state efforts to equitably transition our buildings off fossil fuels to a clean energy future and energize policy innovation. We’re currently working with Seattle’s Office of Sustainability and Environment and the Washington Dept. of Commerce to determine how architects can participate in this effort.


State Building Code Council – 2021 Commercial Energy Code
The 2021 commercial energy code amendments will be voted on by State Building Code Council members on April 22. You can view the proposed rule here. Written comments may be submitted through March 11. The SBCC will also have public hearings on the amendments on Feb. 25 and March 11 – signups are being accepted for verbal (remote) testimony at the Feb. 25 meeting, with overflow expected at the March 11 meeting. AIA is paying close attention to new requirements for the use of efficient electric heat pumps for space and water heating in new commercial and large multifamily buildings. We encourage architects and firms who support these amendments to weigh in with the Council in one of the following ways:

  • Submit written comments by March 11 to sbcc@des.wa.gov;
  • Provide verbal comments to the SBCC at its Feb. 25 meeting (contact Kirsten for more info); or
  • Sign on to a building industry letter in support of the heat pump provisions (as an individual or a firm)

AIA|WA Energy code info session: Kjell Anderson AIA, the architects’ representative to the SBCC, will hold an info session on the proposals that are up for consideration TODAY, Feb. 17, at 2pm. More info here.

State Legislative Session Update
Tuesday was the cutoff date for all bills to have passed out of their house of origin and move on to the second house. Those that failed to pass are dead. Here is a review of key AIA bills that remain alive and will be considered in their second house:


  • HB 1770 – Requires the State Building Code Council to develop a residential energy reach code that local governments can opt to use instead of baseline state code; also includes net zero ready requirements.
  • SB 5722 – Extends building performance requirements to smaller buildings.
  • HB 1280 – Requires an analysis of the use of all-electrific systems as part of the pre-design work for large state buildings.
  • HB 1099 – Adds a climate element to the state’s Growth Management Act requirements.

ACT NOW: If your senator is a member of the Senate Environment Committee (check here), please consider emailing them to ask for support on HB 1770 and HB 1280. We expect them to vote on both bills in committee early next week. Contact Kirsten if you need help with messaging or the email address.


  • HB 1882 – Creates a housing benefit district pilot program to plan and fund land acquisition for affordable housing near major transit stops (this bill did not pass its house of origin but it has an exemption because it impacts the budget).
  • HB 1660 – Eliminates local restrictions related to ADUs, including owner occupancy requirements and some parking requirements.
  • SB 5818 – Limits SEPA and GMA appeals related to affordable housing projects.

Note: HB 1782 on missing middle housing was eligible for a vote on the House floor, albeit in very reduced form, but Democratic leadership did not allow a vote. This almost always means that the bill did not have the votes to pass. This bill is dead for this year, but it will be back in some form next year. In the meantime, AIA will work with legislators to provide the kind of envisioning of missing middle housing that AIA Seattle’s Comp Plan Work Group will be working on, as well as ideas on how housing projects can move through local review more quickly (without eliminating local review – which was the subject of two bills this year) 

HB 1592 – Provides for provisional licenses for military spouses with a license from another state, but allows licensing authorities to determine whether the qualifications are equal to Washington’s.

For questions about any of these bills or other legislation under consideration, contact Kirsten.

How you can participate

  • You can contact your three legislators at any time about legislation or a policy issue. You can find their emails here. If you need to look up who your legislators are, you can do so with your home address here.
  • You can register your position on bills, sign up to testify at a committee hearing, or offer written comments on a bill. Contact Kirsten for help.

 Thank you to the AIA Seattle members who have testified “in” Olympia since our last report!

  • Christopher Patano AIA | EHDD | SB 5722 – building performance standard extension
  • Duane Jonlin FAIA | City of Seattle | HB 1770 – energy codes
  • Chris Hellstern AIA | The Miller Hull Partnership | HB 1770 – energy codes


Seattle Land Use Omnibus
SDCI has drafted new land use omnibus legislation to fix smaller issues with the land use code. The legislation is currently in the SEPA appeal process and will then be transmitted to the City Council. AIA is asking members to review the provisions and let us know if you have concerns or suggested edits. For more info or to submit comments, go to AIA’s worksheet or contact Kirsten.


Seattle Planning Commission Vacancy
The Seattle Planning Commission is looking for a new member to help advise the Mayor’s Office and City Council about planning and development related decisions. Candidates must be current residents of Seattle and be able to attend three meetings per month, with additional time out of meetings to attend events or review materials as needed. Additional info from the Commission:

Ideal candidates add diverse experience to the Commission, and can bring to light issues facing all parts of the city as a result of their professional and lived experiences. We look for applicants who have a combination of the following characteristics:

  • Bring a commitment to making Seattle a great place to live and have interest in, knowledge of, or professional experience in land use, zoning, or other aspects of planning.
  • Have a strong understanding of racial equity, and the impacts of racialized policies and practices in the field of planning.
  • Have a commitment to community-building and community engagement.
  • Understand transportation investments and how they impact the neighborhoods around them.
  • Can speak to the needs of affordable housing and/or understand what role affordability plays in the city.
  • Have a passion for communicating planning topics to a diverse audience.

Please contact Planning Commission staff for more information about applying.

Washington Board for Architects Position Open
The Washington State Board for Architects will have a Board Member position available starting in June 2022. The seven-member, governor-appointed board is made up of one member of the public and six registered architects who reside in Washington and have at least eight years’ experience in responsible charge of architectural work. The Board’s primary function is to protect the public’s health, safety, and welfare through regulating the practice of architecture. Board member responsibilities include:

  • Attending board meetings (approx. four a year)
  • Participating in board committees for specific projects
  • Acting as a case manager or as part of the judicial panel in disciplinary cases
  • Representing the board responsibly to the profession and the public
  • Attending national council meetings as needed
  • Reviewing applications as needed

More information about this position is available here. Applications can be found here, and should be submitted by April 15.


AIA’s 2022 Policy Projects: Comprehensive Plan & Design Review    
In 2022 we’ll be working on two major public policy efforts: the Seattle Comprehensive Plan and ongoing work to make Seattle’s Design Review process more effective for everyone. We’d like your input and participation! Specific opportunities are below, but please reach out to Kirsten if you have comments at any time.

Comprehensive Plan
Seattle’s update of its Major Comprehensive Plan (2022-24) is arguably one of the most critical points in the city’s history. Required by the state to plan for how the city will accommodate growth over the next two decades, the Comp Plan will address crucial questions around how we distribute opportunity, what our neighborhoods should look like, and what changes we need to make to create a more sustainable and resilient city. You can be part of this effort by joining our Comp Plan Work Group, which meets every 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month from 12-1pm. Or, you can sign up to receive updates about our efforts so that you can plug in wherever you like. Contact Kirsten for more info.

Design Review
We’re looking for architects’ feedback on Seattle’s Design Review process and how it might be improved to achieve the design and community objectives it was intended to accomplish. Join us for AIA’s Design Review Work Session on Friday, March 4, 1-2pm. Member and non-member architects, designers, and associates welcome.

We would love to hear from you! To comment or for more information on these or any other topics, please contact:

Kirsten Smith
Manager of Policy + Advocacy
AIA Seattle & AIA Washington Council
206-708-3199 | kirstens@aiaseattle.temp312.kinsta.cloud