Seattle recently launched a program that benchmarks the energy performance of its commercial buildings. Next April, multifamily structures 10,000 square feet and larger with five or more units will become part of the program’s second phase. The program stems from legislation aimed at reducing Seattle’s greenhouse gas emissions 20 percent by 2020. There are enforcement measures, but “our effort is directed toward education and training,” says Jayson Antonoff, an energy and climate policy advisor. “Any responsible property owner wants to know how its building is performing.”

Action Items

  1. Benchmarking.  This is based on utilities data combined with a building’s characteristics. The city will track performance using EPA’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager online benchmarking tool.
  2. Disclosure.  Anyone can access the data. But what’s available could be limited, because, unlike cities such as New York, Austin, Texas, and San Francisco, which post this information online, Seattle is leaving disclosure to property owners.
  3. Annual reporting.  Antonoff says this will help the city meet its greenhouse gas reduction goals and target areas that need help reaching their energy-saving potential.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Seattle, WA.