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New homes and apartments in the state of Washington will be required to install heat pumps beginning in July, says Seattle Times climate reporter Nicholas Turner. The Washington State Building Code Council recently voted 9-5 on the ruling, a decision that could help the state further reduce carbon emissions by electrifying the heating systems of new buildings.

Homes, apartments, offices, and other buildings account for a large portion of planet-warming greenhouse pollution.

Residential, commercial, and industrial buildings account for more than a third of emissions in Seattle, a quarter statewide and around 40% globally.

Still, a suite of bills aiming to update building codes, improve energy use in office buildings and lower the cost of heat pumps all failed to pass the state Legislature earlier this year.

Heat pumps are an increasingly popular and energy-efficient alternative to conventional gas furnaces and air conditioners. They use electricity to power a compressor, pumps and fans to transfer heat by pushing heat outside your home during the warmer parts of the year, and pulling it in during the cold.

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