During its regular meeting on Tue., Jan. 11, the Olympia City Council agreed to have further discussions on staff’s plans to require “building electrification” for new and renovated city-owned buildings
Olympia Climate Program Manager Dr. Pamela Braff explained that the term “building electrification” refers to the use of electricity only, excluding fossil fuels, for heating and cooking in homes and buildings.
The proposal provides that newly constructed city-owned buildings and major renovations are required to transition to all-electric. The proposed regulation would provide an exemption due to the following reasons; space limitations, availability of technology or cost constraints.
Replacing fossil fuels can substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Braff said. She noted that the approval of the resolution is in line with the state’s goal, too.Washington has one of the cleanest electrical grids in the country, she added.
Washington’s Deep Decarbonization Study, determined that building electrification remains one of the most cost-effective ways of reducing greenhouse gas in homes and buildings.
Councilmember Lisa Parshleyalso stressed the importance of making these long-term decisions. “57 percent of our greenhouse gases in Thurston County are from our built environment.” She continued, “Any building we put forward or get permitted in the next year, two years, three years, will be with us for 50 years.”
Parshley also reminded her fellow councilmembers, “this is an emergency. We don’t have time.”
The council plans to decide on the requirement for building electrification by April 2022.
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