From Outside the State: Seattle Passes New Building Energy Efficiency Ordinance

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The City of Seattle has passed energy efficiency-promoting in the three following areas:

• Energy Use Disclosure — The Benchmarking Amendments ordinance updates Seattle’s existing building energy benchmarking law to include public transparency of building performance on energy use.

• Retro-commissioning — The Building Tune-Ups ordinance phases in a requirement that commercial buildings 50,000 square feet or larger be “tuned-up” every five years, beginning in 2018. The tune-up would be a process of assessing the building no-cost actions, or low-cost actions that would pay the building back through utility bill savings in 2-3 years. (Exemptions may be available for buildings that are already highly efficient.)

• Municipal buildings lead by example — A City-owned Building Tune-Ups resolution commits the City to keeping their own buildings at least one year ahead of the commercial buildings schedule set by the Building Tune-Ups ordinance.

Read more on the ordinances passing here. Requiring a combination of benchmarking, assessments and retro-commissioning, rings a bell as a former energy officer in the City of New York. Cities requiring energy use disclosure is an even broader trend: check out what the City of Boulder is doing, the City of Berkeley’s new BESO ordinance, or results on the City and County of San Francisco’s energy performance ordinance.

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