Washington's first energy code, adopted in 1977 by statute, was a voluntary requirement. The State Building Code Act and State Energy Code Act (SECA) were passed by the legislature in 1985. The State Building Code Act gave rulemaking authority to the SBCC, which oversees all building and energy codes within the state. The first statewide energy code, adopted in 1986, was applicable to all new buildings, and was based on ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90A-1980.
In 2004 amendments were adopted by the SBCC for non-residential occupancies. Non-residential envelope, equipment, and lighting requirements were increased and exceed ASHRAE 90.1-2001 standards.
The 2006 Washington State Energy Code was adopted in November of 2006 and made effective July 1, 2007. For low-rise residential construction, its stringency exceeds the 2006 IECC standards. For high-rise residential construction (four stories or more), the WSEC is more stringent than ASHRAE 90.1-2007 in all respects. For commercial buildings, the WSEC is roughly equivalent to ASHRAE 90.1-2004, save for equipment and lighting standards, which are somewhat more stringent.
On October 15, 2010, the State Building Code Council (SBCC) voted to set the implementation date of the 2009 Washington State Energy Code (WSEC) for January 1, 2011.
Originally scheduled to take effect July 1, 2010, a lawsuit filed in May 2010 and a request to delay by the Governor and others in June led the SBCC to temporarily delay the implementation date on June 11. On July 7, the SBCC filed a proposed rule with an intended date of adoption at its regularly scheduled meeting on October 15. Public hearings were held September 10 and September 24.
Enforcement: The State Building Code Act (Chapter 19.27 RCW) requires that each local jurisdiction enforce the State Building Code within its jurisdiction. Any jurisdiction can contract with another jurisdiction or an inspection agency to provide the mandated enforcement activities.