Buildings & Energy

Leading with conservation and renewable energy

By a variety of metrics, Seattle is a national leader in energy conservation, green energy production, and sustainable building. The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy ranks Seattle 3rd in the nation for policies and programs advancing energy efficiency. Seattle is also committed to meeting future energy needs through conservation and renewables.

The Office of Sustainability and Environment works with multiple City departments to develop and implement initiatives that promote sustainable development and resource efficiency. How we build and operate buildings and landscapes profoundly impacts the climate, our water supply, individual health, and building owner and tenant costs. 

Recent Buildings & Energy Updates


City Facilities

All municipal buildings must meet the Building Tune-Ups deadlines one year ahead of privately-owned buildings. Municipal tune-ups will save the City money and help us meet our carbon reduction goals. We have audits and assessments underway at Seattle Center Armory, City Hall, Key Arena, McCaw Hall, the Central Library, and the Seattle Justice Center. Learn more about what the City is doing to increase the sustainability of our facilities here

Data Transparency

Per Seattle Municipal Code 22.920, the Seattle Energy Benchmarking Ordinance 1250000 directs the City to annually share building-specific data with the public beginning with 2015 reported information. 2015 building-level and aggregated data is available now at and through our Energy Benchmarking data visualization site.  

Building Tune-Ups Policy Background

To further energy efficiency action in the building sector, the Office of Sustainability & Environment is developing new incentives, programs, and requirements that will help building owners achieve the energy savings needed for Seattle to meet our climate goals. More information on that work here

OSE Key Initiatives

The Office of Sustainability and Environment plays a role in the following initiatives. See the Programs & Policies page of this section for all the Building & Energy related work the City is engaged in.

The City of Seattle has a number of policies and plans to make the City's buildings and operations cleaner, more efficient and greener. Includes sustainable purchasing, green fleets and pesticide reduction policies, as well as the latest sustainable building and energy efficiency policies.
Learn how to comply and find out how your building’s energy use compares to others in Seattle. Required annually for non-residential and multifamily buildings 20,000 sf or larger.
Policy solutions to help Seattle buildings reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions to support Seattle's climate goals
About the Seattle Building Tune-Ups Program
About the Seattle Building Tune-Ups Program
About the Building Tune-Up Accelerator Program for mid-size buildings
Resources related to the Seattle Building Tune-Ups Program
Enforcement information for the Seattle Building Tune-Ups Program

Moving the Needle Building Energy overview

Below is a summary of the Buildings & Energy strategies, goals and progress to date from the City's environmental progress report, Moving the Needle. Visit the Moving the Needle page for more information, download the full report, or check out the report's Buildings & Energy section for infographics and more.  

The City is committed to meeting future energy needs through conservation and renewables as well as protecting our important energy resources for today's generation and the next. Our strategies include:

  1. Energy Conservation

    Energy conservation is our first priority for meeting electricity needs.

  2. Green Buildings

    Seattle is one of the top green building markets in the nation.

  3. Renewable Energy

    Seattle is well-positioned to meet future energy needs with low carbon sources.

Energy Conservation 105,200 Megawatt hours of electricity saved annually 121,290 Megawatt hours saved in 2013
Reduce home energy use by 20% and commercial energy use by 10% by 2030 (2008 baseline) 3% reduction in home energy use; 2% reduction in commercial energy use between 2008 and 2012
20% energy savings in City facilities by 2020 (2008 baseline) 4% savings since 2008
Green Buildings Increase the number & level of green certified buildings 179% increase in LEED and 40% increase in Built Green buildings (with a greater percentage certified at higher levels) between 2008 and 2013
Renewable Energy Acquire 15% of electricity from new renewable sources by 2020 Almost 5% of new renewable energy sources acquired in 2012
Increase solar energy production in the community 38% increase in solar capacity since 2008