Advocacy Update – September 2023

This Month in Advocacy: SBCC Advances Energy Code Amendments; Exciting Opportunities with AIA Washington Council; and the delayed release of Seattle's Comprehensive Draft Plan and Environmental Impact Statement.

Photo: Jared Wenzelburger, The Chronicle

SBCC Advances Energy Code Amendments with Revised Effective Date

In a recent meeting, the State Building Code Council (SBCC) made significant strides in advancing energy code amendments that promise to shape the future of construction and energy efficiency in our state. Here are the key highlights from the SBCC’s latest decisions:
Energy Code Amendments Move Forward: The SBCC voted decisively to move forward with crucial energy code amendments. These amendments aim to enhance the energy efficiency of buildings, promoting sustainability and environmental responsibility.
Effective Date Postponed: In response to the need for a robust public comment process and consideration of legislative sessions, the SBCC has decided to delay the effective date of the new energy codes. Originally scheduled for October 29, 2023, the codes will now take effect on March 15, 2024. This extension allows for a thorough and inclusive rulemaking process.
Proposed Revisions Foster Efficiency: The proposed revisions to both residential and commercial energy codes have undergone rigorous evaluation by technical committees. They strike a balance between maintaining code stringency and encouraging high-efficiency electric appliances, all while avoiding mandatory heat pump installation.
Gas Appliances and Total Energy Performance: For those who opt for gas appliances, the proposed revisions require that they achieve the same total energy performance as a building equipped with heat pumps. This incentivizes energy efficiency across various appliance choices.
Flexibility Through Credit-Based Scaling: The SBCC’s proposed code measures introduce a credit-based scale, providing builders and property owners with flexibility while ensuring adherence to climate-friendly standards. This approach aligns with the Council’s commitment to sustainable building practices.
A Response to Legal Considerations: These actions by the SBCC are a response to a recent decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals concerning preemption by the federal law known as EPCA (Energy Policy and Conservation Act). The decision underscores the importance of flexibility in energy code regulations, especially in relation to heat pump mandates.

Exciting Opportunities with AIA Washington Council

AIA Washington Council (AIA|WA) is offering two incredible opportunities for passionate individuals to make a meaningful impact on the profession. Read on to learn about these exciting roles and how you can be a part of shaping the future of architecture.

1. State/Territory Associates (STAR) Representative to the AIA National Associates Committee (NAC)

The AIA National Associates Committee (NAC) represents associates from various paths in the field of architecture and plays a crucial role in addressing both local and national issues. AIA|WA is seeking candidates for the position of STAR Representative to NAC. As a STAR Representative, you will serve as the voice of Washington State’s associate members and contribute to shaping new policies. This 2-year commitment offers a unique opportunity to connect with peers from across the country, advocate for the profession, and build lasting friendships.

Key Details:
Application Deadline: September 30, 2023
Eligibility: AIA Associate members in good standing within Washington State
Commitment: Regular meetings, conferences, and board responsibilities
Application Process: Submit a one-page letter, resume, and two letters of reference

2. Board Associates Program
Are you interested in gaining valuable non-profit management and board governance experience? AIA Washington Council’s Board Associates Program is designed for AIA members within the state of Washington. This program offers a 15 to 27-month term as a non-voting board member, providing a unique opportunity to enhance your leadership skills, collaborate with industry professionals, and contribute to the architecture community.

Key Details:
Eligibility: AIA or Associate AIA members working in the AEC industry with 1-10 years of experience
Commitment: Active participation in board meetings, policy committees, and collaborative projects
Benefits: Mentorship, networking opportunities, and career growth activities

Both of these opportunities offer a chance to make a significant impact on the architecture profession and connect with like-minded individuals who share your passion. Whether you’re interested in representing your peers at a national level or gaining hands-on experience in board governance, AIA | WA has a place for you!
Don’t miss out on these fantastic opportunities! If you are interested in applying for either of these roles, learn more here or contact Tammie Sueirro.

Join us in shaping the future of architecture in Washington State and beyond!

Release of Seattle’s Draft Comp Plan Expected Late Fall

Originally slated to be shared in June, the release of the Draft Comprehensive Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) is now expected sometime in late fall.

The delay is driven by OPCD’s commitment to creating a Plan that accurately reflects the aspirations and concerns of the community. By allowing for more time, they aim to carefully integrate the feedback received, address evolving state regulations, and give full consideration to the significance of issues addressed in the Plan.

As the release date approaches, members are encouraged to stay engaged in the Comp Plan Work Group and continue offering their perspectives to shape the future of their neighborhoods and environment.