Greening the City of Seattle's Buildings and Sites
To ensure that municipal facilities are at the forefront of sustainabililty and energy efficiency, the City has adopted policies addressing both building construction and operations. The Sustainable Buildings and Sites Policy covers new construction, renovations and tenant improvements, as well as sites. The Resource Conservation Management Plan covers energy reductions in our existing facilities.
Resolution 31326 establishing the Sustainable Buildings and Sites Policy was signed by Mayor McGinn on October 12, 2011 following the unanimous vote of approval from City Council. The policy builds on Seattle’s previous green building policy, the nation’s first. That policy, adopted in February 2000 called for new City-funded projects and renovations with over 5,000 square feet of occupied space to achieve a LEED Silver rating. Numerous City Projects have been completed since adoption of the policy, with over half going beyond minimum requirements to achieve LEED Gold.
Resource Conservation in City Facilities
The City of Seattle has set an ambitious target to be a carbon neutral community by 2050. The 2008 Seattle Community GHG Inventory highlighted building energy use as responsible for 21% of Seattle’s total carbon footprint. Because most of the buildings that will shape the City in 2050 have already been built, reducing the impact of existing buildings is important to achieve carbon neutrality. As an owner of more than 650 buildings, totaling approximately 10 million square feet, the City of Seattle recognizes its own impact and leadership role and has established a goal to achieve 20% energy savings in municipal buildings by 2020.
Resource conservation is not new to the City. Capital departments, those who own and/or manage the City’s buildings, have made significant investments in the energy and water efficiency of their facilities over the past years. One of the key findings from the Seattle Municipal Buildings 2011-2012 Energy Performance Report (PDF) is that where the City has made investments in energy efficiency, we see better performing buildings with correspondingly lowered utility costs. The Energy Performance Report shows that while many buildings are performing well, there is still significant opportunity for improvement in others. In 2012 the City established a Citywide Resource Conservation Management Initiative to centralize resource use monitoring and to coordinate with capital departments to build on their existing efforts to improve the efficiency of City facility operations.
City Buildings Resource Conservation Management Plan (RCMP)
The Resource Conservation Management Plan (PDF) outlines the actions necessary to meet the 20% energy efficiency goal by 2020 for existing buildings and provides a comprehensive strategy to guide energy efficiency and resource conservation investments across all City facilities.
Seattle Municipal Buildings 2011-2012 Energy Performance Report
The City of Seattle Energy Benchmarking and Reporting Program requires building owners to track and annually report building energy performance to the City. The City believes energy benchmarking is an important best management practice and public disclosure of performance promotes transparency and accountability. As such, the City is going beyond the minimum requirements of the benchmarking law by publicly sharing the energy performance of City-owned buildings. This report (PDF) covers City-owned building energy use for calendar years 2011-2012.
October 7, 2013
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