Seattle’s Energy Benchmarking Ordinance directs the City to annually share building-specific data with the public beginning with 2015 data. Building data is now available online for 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018.
Building Tune-Ups in 35 school buildings earned $185,646 in rebates for Seattle Public Schools
While they may not realize anything is different, many students at Seattle Public Schools are now attending classes in buildings that are more energy-efficient and will save the school district money on its energy bills going forward. Seattle Public Schools (SPS) recently completed building “tune-ups” in twenty-two elementary schools, three middle and K-8 schools, nine high schools, and the John Stanford Center. A building tune-up involves helping building owners identify smart, responsible ways to reduce energy and water costs and then implement the improvements.
“Our new schools are being designed and built to be energy efficient, but the Building Tune-Up Program ensures that we keep all of our buildings, not just the new ones, running as efficiently as possible,” said Rina Fa’amoe-Cross, Resource Conservation Specialist for SPS. “Receiving incentive money to tune up buildings ahead of schedule has been a wonderful bonus!”
The City of Seattle requires commercial buildings 50,000 square feet and larger to conduct periodic tune-ups with the largest buildings, 100,000 square feet or greater, required to comply in 2019. Building Tune-Ups optimize energy and water performance by identifying low- or no-cost actions related to building operations and maintenance, that generate 10-15% in energy savings, on average. Building energy use is the second largest source of climate pollution in Seattle and accelerating our transition to an energy efficient building sector is critical to meeting our climate goals.
Seattle Public Schools participated in the Tune-Up Accelerator program, a voluntary program for owners of buildings up to 100,000 square feet that gave them access to technical assistance and incentives for compliance with the Seattle Building Tune-Up requirement ahead of the deadline. As a result of the successful tune-ups in the twenty-two buildings enrolled in the Accelerator program, SPS was eligible for $185,646 in rebates from Seattle City Light. The rebate money was reinvested in building operations improvements. The building improvements are expected to pay for themselves within 3 to 4 years through substantial savings on utility bills.
“I applaud Seattle Public Schools for their extensive work on improving performance in so many of their buildings,” said Jessica Finn Coven, Director of the Seattle Office of Sustainability & Environment. “Our institutional leaders in Seattle are key partners in our climate action efforts and their leadership in being an “early adopter” of Seattle’s Building Tune-Up policy has provided an excellent example for others to follow.”
“Helping our customers be more efficient with the energy they use maximizes our existing clean, renewable energy resources and furthers Seattle’s effort to reduce our collective carbon footprint,” said Debra Smith, Seattle City Light General Manager and CEO. “This great partnership with Seattle Public Schools demonstrates what is possible and we look forward to working with many others in the days ahead.”
The Tune-Up Accelerator program was supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Building Technologies Office. Seattle’s award was geared towards solutions to improve the energy efficiency of small and medium commercial buildings.
Seattle’s efforts in driving building energy efficiency continue to show results in national rankings. Recently, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy ranked Seattle 3rd overall out of 75 cities nationwide in their 2019 Clean Energy Scorecard. Seattle scored high marks for the Seattle Energy Code, its enforcement of the code, and its efforts to make its existing building stock more energy efficient.
The City of Seattle has published customized building performance profiles based on reported 2017 annual benchmarking data. Reports are available via our online mapping tool, and include details on energy use per square foot, ENERGY STAR scores, total consumption, greenhouse emissions, and more.
With three years of comprehensive energy consumption data, buildings can use their customized profiles to track their energy use over time and see how they stack up to their peers. The updated performance profiles now highlight each building’s climate impact and how it compares to buildings of the same primary use.
The benchmarking reporting deadline has been extended from April 1 to July 1, 2019 for submitting 2018 data.
Nonresidential and multifamily buildings 20,000 SF+ must update Portfolio Manager accounts with accurate space use details and consumption data for 2018. All buildings subject to the annual requirement must be able to generate a 2018 December ending Energy Use Intensity (EUI) and ENERGY STAR® score (if available). Your account must successfully share accurate data with the City of Seattle Annual Reporting Portfolio Manager account by July 1, 2019 to be considered compliant. See our How to Comply page.
Compliance can be confirmed starting mid-March. Use the Annual Update Checklist — even if already signed up for automated energy use updates from PSE or Seattle City Light.
If it’s your first time benchmarking, get started with the Compliance Checklist.
HELP DESK – EnergyBenchmarking@seattle.gov – 206.727.8484
FROM THE OFFICE OF SUSTAINABILITY & ENVIRONMENT
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Sara Wysocki, Office of Sustainability & Environment, email@example.com
Seattle’s Benchmarked Buildings Reduce Emissions Nearly 5%
City’s largest buildings are using less energy and reducing climate pollution
SEATTLE (Sept. 26, 2018) – A new report released today by the Seattle Office of Sustainability and Environment reveals that Seattle’s benchmarked buildings are reducing climate emissions, saving money, and improving performance. Seattle’s Energy Benchmarking ordinance went into effect in 2011 and requires owners of commercial and multifamily buildings 20,000 sq. ft. and larger to track their energy performance and report it annually to the City of Seattle.
“Seattle’s buildings are responsible for one-third of Seattle’s climate pollution. City programs like Energy Benchmarking give building owners the tools they need to be part of our climate solutions,” said Jessica Finn Coven, director of the Seattle Office of Sustainability & Environment. “Tracking and reporting energy use is the first step towards improving building performance and this analysis shows that Seattle is on the right track.”
The Seattle Energy Benchmarking program is a key piece of Seattle’s climate strategy. In addition to the climate benefits, the program also assists building owners and managers by showing how their buildings are using—and in many cases wasting—energy. Benchmarking helps building owners stay competitive in a market where tenants and prospective buyers are driving demand for increased for energy efficiency in buildings.
Highlights from the Seattle Energy Benchmarking Analysis Report include:
- Buildings reporting three or more consecutive years of data have reduced overall energy consumption and greenhouse emissions. From 2014 to 2016, total energy use for these buildings declined 3.7% and total emissions declined 4.8%.
- The median ENERGY STAR score for all buildings has increased by seven points—or 10%—since 2013 while the program has maintained over 99% compliance every year. Additionally, between 2013 and 2016, Seattle’s Energy Benchmarking program added 136 buildings and nearly 43 million square feet of space as Seattle’s construction boom has continued.
- Although energy improvements since 2014 have led to reduced emissions, many buildings still have room for significant improvements. Hotels, hospitals, high-rise multifamily buildings, labs, and restaurants have the highest emissions per square foot and offer the largest savings opportunities.
Seattle’s benchmarked buildings include more than 3,300 properties, representing 323 million square feet of Seattle’s largest commercial and multifamily buildings. In almost every building category, including offices, residential buildings, retail stores, and educational institutions, median energy use per square foot is lower than previous years even when accounting for variations in weather. This is the result of owners adopting more efficient technology, improving building operations and implementing utility incentivized energy efficiency measures.
Data on Seattle’s benchmarked buildings is now easier for the general public and potential tenants to access. Earlier this year, Seattle moved to online building performance profiles to allow for easier public sharing and customized reports for all buildings including information on ENERGY STAR scores, fuel usage, greenhouse gas emissions, and EUI (energy use intensity). The online profiles also give an estimate of annual energy costs and savings opportunities.
New website to track building energy use, energy efficiency improvements in City buildings, and new ENERGY STAR ranking
Today the City of Seattle announced three notable achievements that underscore the City’s progress and commitment to reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions in Seattle’s largest buildings. Buildings account for 33% of Seattle’s greenhouse gas emissions and Seattle’s ongoing efforts in this area are critical to meeting our climate goal of becoming a carbon neutral city by 2050.
“During this time when our federal government is actively working to block meaningful climate action, staying focused on aggressively pursuing climate solutions is critical,” said Jessica Finn Coven, Director of the Seattle Office of Sustainability and Environment. “While we are fortunate to have a carbon neutral electric utility, the key to achieving our building energy climate goals will always be rooted in efficiency. Seattle has been a leader in building energy for years and we will continue to lay down a path for other cities to follow.”
The Office of Sustainability and Environment (OSE) released details on the energy use in 2016 of over 3,330 commercial and multifamily buildings, including 85 City-owned buildings in a new data visualization website. Collected as part of Seattle’s Energy Benchmarking Program, the information—including annual energy used per square foot, ENERGY STAR scores, and greenhouse gas emissions—is easily understandable and allows people to see how much energy a specific building uses (its “building performance”) as well as compare it to similar buildings. More detailed building performance data for both 2015 and 2016 is available for download through the City of Seattle’s Open Data portal.
Transparent, accessible data about individual buildings are key tools in driving greater awareness about how much energy buildings use which helps create long-term market demand for energy efficient buildings and protects tenant interests.
“Having this data available and accessible is a prime example of where the market is headed,” said Cliff Majersik, Executive Director for the Institute for Market Transformation. “We know building performance, specifically energy efficiency, is becoming more important to prospective tenants and buyers. Seattle’s tool is especially compelling because it reports on greenhouse gas emissions, identifies potential savings opportunities, and allows users to drill down on a specific building, not just a building type.”
As part of the City’s Resource Conservation Program for municipal buildings, the City of Seattle is tracking and reporting energy use on all its buildings 10,000 sq.ft. or larger, as well as all public service facilities—community centers, libraries, fire stations, and police stations—regardless of size. A recent Seattle report shows energy use in City buildings decreased by 3.7% between 2015 and 2016 which brings the total energy reduction for City-owned buildings to 12% since 2008. This places the City on track to achieve its 20% energy reduction by 2020 goal. Seattle recently established a new target of an overall 40 percent energy and carbon emissions reduction by 2025.
“Given that most of the buildings that will shape Seattle in 2050 have already been built, improving the performance of our existing buildings is fundamentally important,” said Fred Podesta, Director of the Seattle Department of Finance and Administrative Services. “By improving as much of our municipal stock as possible, the City is realizing both significant environmental and economic benefits and setting a great example in the community.”
Seattle’s efforts in driving building energy efficiency show results in national rankings. Seattle climbed two spots over 2016 in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) list of U.S. metropolitan areas with the most ENERGY STAR certified buildings. In 2017, 164 Seattle area buildings, representing over 40 million sq. ft. earned the ENERGY STAR. This was a 22% increase over 2016, leading to a 38% increase in cost savings.
To qualify for the ENERGY STAR, a building must earn a 1 – 100 ENERGY STAR score of 75 or higher, indicating that it is more energy efficient than 75 percent of similar buildings nationwide. Is your building a Certified ENERGY STAR building? Visit www.seattle.gov/energybenchmarkingmap and look for the ENERGY STAR logo on the building’s report view.