Advocacy Update – November 2020

This month in local and state advocacy: state election results; Washington's new (draft) State Energy Strategy; AIA's Climate Advocacy Week; Seattle Design Review Board vacancies; and more!


State Energy Strategy Draft Released
Washington’s draft State Energy Strategy has been released for public comment. Section D focuses on energy consumption and emissions from the built environment and can be found on pages 63-90. The State Energy Strategy is a roadmap for the state to consider when evaluating how we meet decarbonization goals across buildings, transportation, industry, and electricity sectors. The draft strategy is open for written public comment through Dec. 7, followed by public hearings. It is dense and ambitious, and it could benefit from language that prioritizes the many action items included. More info on the State Energy Strategy is available here. Comments on any part of the strategy may be emailed to If you would like your comments to be considered as part of AIA’s response, please contact Kirsten.

State Election Results
Look for AIA|WA’s more detailed report on the state legislative elections at the end of this month, but in short: the state legislature appears to have emerged from the general election with the same party make-up it had before the elections in both the House and the Senate. There is a slight question mark in the 5th District (Issaquah/eastern King County), where incumbent Senator Mark Mullet (D) is leading his more liberal Democratic challenger by 73 votes. But with the results staying as they are, one Democrat and one Republican lost their seats in both the House and the Senate. This does not make a big difference the House, and it only makes a small one in the Senate, where the Democrat-Republican split is narrower. In the Senate, the defeated Democratic incumbent, Dean Takko from the 19th District in the southwest corner of Washington, was much more conservative than the Democratic challenger who defeated the Republican incumbent in the 28th District (Tacoma/southern Pierce County), T’wina Nobles, potentially moving the Senate a fraction to the left. Overall, Democrats expected to gain more seats in both houses, and this result may scuttle some of the most progressive legislation on their agenda.


AIA Seattle Climate Advocacy Week | Nov. 30-Dec. 4
The City of Seattle is updating its commercial energy code as part of its 2018 Construction Code update. These code changes will be considered by the City Council in early December, after the city’s budget process is complete. Once approved, the new codes will go into effect in February or March 2021, depending on Council timing.

AIA Seattle strongly supports the city’s commercial energy code revisions because these changes will help Seattle dramatically reduce fossil fuels in buildings over the next decade. We’re hosting Climate Advocacy Week to support the effort, asking members to help us make sure our city councilmembers know how important buildings are to combating climate change. Climate Advocacy Week includes a kick-off briefing, a climate-focused happy hour, and an opportunity for Seattle architects to join their colleagues in online meetings with your city councilmembers. To learn more or to RSVP, click here. Your advocacy will make a big difference!


Seattle Design Review Board Vacancies
Seattle is looking for candidates to fill 15 upcoming openings on the city’s Design Review Boards. Board members evaluate the design of new buildings based on citywide and neighborhood-specific design guidelines. The boards review large mixed-use developments, multifamily housing, and commercial projects. These volunteer positions will start on April 4, 2021, when retiring board members’ terms expire. Design profession representatives are specifically sought for the Northwest Board and the West Board, but other positions (development, landscape design, local residential/community) are also available. Applications are due Dec. 31. More info here.

AIA Washington Council’s Capitol Connections | Jan. 24-29, 2001
Sign up for AIA|WA’s Capitol Connections, architects’ annual lobby day in Olympia, where members get to discuss issues important to the profession directly with their state legislators. The event will be entirely virtual this year, with a kick-off webinar briefing, an opportunity to hear from key legislators on our issues, and online meetings with legislators throughout the week. Be part of the political process from your home office or dining room! More info here.


AIA Seattle Committee Meetings
The Center for Architecture and Design is closed until the governor’s Stay Home Stay Healthy order is lifted. Most meetings and events have moved online. Check AIA’s events page for more details on specific events.

  • AIA Seattle’s Housing Task Force continues to meet monthly on the second Thursday of each month at noon via Zoom.
  • AIA Seattle’s Transportation Task Force meets on the second Tuesday of each month from 5:30-6:30 pm via Zoom.

For info on how to access either meeting, contact Kirsten.

Clean Buildings Act Overview for Architects | Dec. 11
This AIA|WA webinar will provide an overview of Washington’s new energy performance standard for large commercial buildings. The state Department of Commerce, which runs the program, will provide an overview, followed by a Q&A session. This webinar is designed to help architects understand the new standards (voluntary until 2026) and start thinking through the types of conversations they will need to have with commercial clients about it. More info here.

Navigating the State Legislative Session | Jan. 8, 2021
AIA|WA is hosting this webinar immediately before the legislative session begins to review how the legislative process works and help you learn to navigate the state’s legislative website with ease. These skills will allow you to follow the bills and issues you are interested in and better understand how you can maximize contacts to your legislators and best impact the process. More info here.


We’d 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
206-957-1926 |