August 10, 2023

BetterBuiltNW June 2023 Newsletter



Every month this section features must-read content from past newsletters – just in case you missed it. 

Washington State Building Code Council Votes to Delay Effective Date of 2021 Code Editions

In May, the State Building Code Council (SBCC) voted to delay the effective date of the 2021 codes for 120 days. The new effective date for all building codes is Oct. 29, 2023. Previously, the effective date was July 1, 2023.

The council also directed SBCC staff to convene two technical advisory groups. These groups would consider stakeholder proposals to modify sections of the commercial and residential energy codes. Modifications will attempt to address legal uncertainty stemming from the decision in California Restaurant Association v. City of Berkeley, recently issued by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. To read the announcement, click here.

BBNW Trainee & Project Spotlight: Melissa Mulder-Wright, Step by Step Design LLC

Eco-adaptive architectural designer Melissa Mulder-Wright of Step by Step Design LLC shared a retrospective look at a home she designed for a client in rural Washington at Earth Advantage’s Sustainable Home Professional Project Showcase webinar this past April. his article highlights Melissa’s journey from social worker to designer and explores how high-performance building practices address her clients’ wildfire-resilience concerns. To read this article, click here.

Programs in the News

Energy Vanguard: Can a Heat Pump Water Heater Replace an Air Conditioner?
The most common type of heat pump water heater takes heat from the air and puts it into water. This method also allows the heat pump water heater to cool and dehumidify the air, which is exactly what an air conditioner does. So, can you ditch the air conditioner and use a heat pump water heater instead? Read the article here.

Master Builders of King and Snohomish County: Growth in Washington’s Construction Sector

The construction sector in Washington showed significant year-over-year growth, with an increase of 5,200 jobs between April 2022 and April 2023. Total statewide employment in construction reached 236,800, underscoring the industry's importance and contribution to the state's economy. Unemployment overall has remained low, with a rate of 3% in the Seattle/Bellevue/Everett area. Learn more.

RESNET: RESNET Releases 2023 Statistical Abstract Trends in HERS Rated Homes

Each year, Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) looks at the trends across all homes with a HERS® rating and recently released “Trends in HERS Rated Homes – A Statistical Abstract 2023.” The report looks at homes that received the rating in 2022 and broad, national-level trends in the number of HERS ratings and average index scores. It also covers state-level trends, including the total number of rated homes in each state and the percentage of new homes that received the rating. To read this article, click here.

Zero Energy Project: Top Policies That Propel Passive House in North America

To further understand the policy structures and mechanisms driving passive house adoption across North America, the Passive House Network (PHN) studied what, where, and how policies succeed. PHN research discovered a layered mix of cities, states, and utilities driving high-performance energy policies in these accelerated regions, most of which are state-mandated, utility-funded programs. These policies and programs were competitively run, included tiered incentives and options and/or stepped implementation, and required reporting and monitoring, which captured data to inform policy. Read the article here.

Zero Energy Project: The Unsung Success Story of Increased Efficiency (And Why We All Need More of It)

Over a 25-year period from 1980 to 2014, efficiency investments resulted in a 50% improvement in U.S. energy intensity. This means that while energy use increased by 26%, overall gross domestic product far outpaced energy use, increasing by 149%. This progress helped significantly reduce energy use in buildings, industry, and transportation and lowered demand for more fossil-fueled power. To read this article, click here.

Group Created with Sketch. i