SBCC residential hearing
Washington will build all new homes with heat pumps!

Friday, November 4th was a big, great day in our efforts for cleaner, healthier homes and buildings!

So many of you helped ensure this success. Look what we can do together:

The Washington State Building Code Council (SBCC) voted Nov. 4th to adopt new statewide residential building codes that will drive the transition to cleaner and healthier homes powered by our state’s 100% clean electricity. The new codes require heat pumps for space and water heating in new home construction and follow similar action earlier this year on commercial and multifamily buildings, making Washington’s statewide building codes among the strongest in the nation for using heat pumps in all new construction. The new building codes also improve kitchen ventilation to protect health. Washington’s code updates add to the wave of recent actions around the country, including approximately 90 jurisdictions in 11 states that have adopted building electrification policies since 2019. The Inflation Reduction Act is expected to provide the average family $10,600 in incentives to electrify. 

This has been a major effort to ensure that our new homes are built all-electric—without relying on fossil gas—and we wanted to acknowledge all the hard work, passion, and commitment that’s gone into making climate-friendly, healthy homes a reality for Washington.

Washington’s residential building codes will take effect in July 2023. Read more about all the code updates here

Many of you joined the ranks of the more than 100 people who testified in support of the code updates at the SBCC’s two public hearings, and more than 4,600 residents and experts who submitted comments in support of the new residential codes.  

Thank you for everything you have done to help Washington pass the most climate-friendly statewide building energy codes in the country.

Next up is enabling upgrades in existing homes, and that’s where leadership from our state legislature can make a big difference. We need good statewide programs to assist households living on lower incomes with accessing the cost-savings, health and safety benefits of electric heat pumps.

Author Bio

Joëlle Robinson

Field Director, Climate Solutions

Joëlle engages community members and diverse constituencies—faith, health, youth, parents, business—to make their voices heard for climate solutions. She led the team of organizers to ensure we stopped any coal export from the U.S. West Coast over the past decade. On offense, she co-led the Field team to help pass the 100% Clean Electricity (Clean Energy Transition Act in 2019) and in 2022 collaborated with the Field team to ensure that all new buildings (commercial and residential) will be built with heat pumps per the State Building Code Council. She continues to conspire for good with them on many other local and state initiatives.

Joëlle was the Regional Outreach Coordinator of National Wildlife Federation where she focused on mobilizing hunters, anglers and concerned citizens around solutions to global warming. Previous work with Climate Solutions includes the NW Climate Connections partnership, serving as the Field Assistant for the successful Clean Cars campaign, and Field Director of the Renewable Fuel Standard, which passed in April 2006.

She previously served on the boards of Earth Ministry, Solar Washington, and Sierra Club Executive Committee. She’s currently President of the board of her 3 year-old!

Joëlle is Northwest born and raised who loves to hike, dance, travel and explore the natural world.

Her favorite quote is “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” —  Mary Oliver

Give for a brighter future

Did you enjoy this article?