Efforts to expand the state’s green building rules would, among other things, phase out gas heat and appliances in most homes and businesses.
As Washington lawmakers work to get ahead of a brewing post-pandemic housing catastrophe, efforts are underway to join that effort with responses to two slower-burning disasters — the climate crisis and runaway housing costs.
Since mid-January, legislators have put forward dozens of bills aimed at injecting carbon and affordability into a built environment that’s long been short on both. That work comes as housing prices continue their upward climb in a state where the average mortgage requires borrowers to have a six-figure income to comfortably pay.
Climate-centered bills would phase out gas heat and appliances in most Washington homes and buildings,require that cities consider climate costs in their plans, and increase housing density in some areas by 50%. At the same time, the Legislature is considering expansions to renter protections and public housing with a vigor that advocates say they haven’t seen before in Olympia, while looking to correct racial inequities in the housing system.