How to Comply

Energy Performance Transparency

On February 29, 2016, the Seattle City Council approved an amendment to the existing Energy Benchmarking ordinance (Ordinance 125000) to make building energy performance data publicly available. This change follows the norm already established by law in about a dozen other U.S. cities, including San Francisco, Chicago, New York City, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, and Portland. The goal of making such data publicly available or "transparent" is to create a long-term market demand for energy efficient buildings, protect tenant interests, and reward high-performers. Transparency creates an informed market with the ability to compare energy use (and future operating costs) between similar properties, and use this information to guide purchasing, leasing and financing decisions. Starting with 2015 energy use performance reporting (due April 1, 2016), the City of Seattle will make the data for all buildings 20,000 SF and larger available via a public-facing website. The City engaged many stakeholders throughout the legislation development, including Seattle BOMA Chapter, Seattle 2030 District, and Rental Housing Association, and will continue to engage the public via the Rulemaking process. The City's goal is to create a framework for the data that is useful to the market, shows the data by building sector, and allows building owners to provide relevant context and note progress towards better energy efficiency.

Benchmarking Director's Rule Update

OSE hosted a series of three public roundtable meetings (May - July 2016) that obtained input from property owners, managers and vendors regarding the benchmarking transparency policy. The meetings explored data visualization options, reviewed metrics to consider for publishing and discussed proposed rule changes. The input is supporting the development of the draft Director's Rule, which is currently under preparation.


  • Roundtable Meetings: Complete (Held May - July 2016)
  • December 2016 - January 2017 - Draft Benchmarking Rule Published
  • Q1 2017 - Final Benchmarking Rule Released

Objective: The objective is to update the Benchmarking Director's Rule to reflect the current Seattle Municipal Code SMC 22.920 and further define transparency methods. We anticipate the primary rule changes will focus on outlining the range of collected and published metrics. Proposed rule updates will include technical and procedural corrections or clarifications such as detailing existing exemptions and enforcement processes. The majority of proposed changes will document current procedural practice. Modifications to the Director's Rule will be considered based on stakeholder feedback, staff recommendations and the formal public comment process.

When Will Energy Performance Metrics Be Available?

We anticipate that the 2015 energy performance data will be published on in early 2017.

Contextual Comments on Building Performance

Building owners or agents can submit comments annually with benchmarking data to share details that frame their building's performance history when the data is made public. These comments can be used to highlight building uses that may contribute to high energy use, or share work that has been or is planned to make the building more efficient.

  • Comments on 2015 data are due December 8th, 2016.
  • Comments on 2016 data are due April 1st, 2017.

This opportunity to provide building performance related comments is in response to stakeholder requests. Owners may share website links or provide contact information to allow interested parties to learn more about their asset. To submit comments, email and include the following:

  • Building name
  • Seattle Building ID
  • Your name
  • Your organization
  • Your affiliation to the building (e.g. owner, property manager, etc.)

Please provide 2-4 sentences (limit 100 words) and limit content to building performance related comments. OSE will review all comments and may recommend edits to conform to space limitations. 

Energy Disclosure Reports

Upon request, building owners are required to provide an energy disclosure report to any current or prospective tenant, buyer, or lender involved with a real estate transaction, a lease, or an application for financing or refinancing of the building.

Owners can respond to an energy disclosure request by providing a Statement of Energy Performance (SEP) which is quickly created from Portfolio Manager (if a building is benchmarked). A SEP showing the building's energy performance ending in December of the prior year is sufficient. The City of Seattle will not provide energy disclosure reports to anyone other than the building owner or the Portfolio Manager Account holder, but will instead refer people to the public-facing energy transparency website (to be available in Fall 2016). Building owners are, however, not relieved of their legal obligation to provide a disclosure report.

Building owners are required to provide a Statement of Energy Performance (SEP) upon request, to:

  • A current tenant - within seven days of the request;
  • A prospective tenant negotiating a lease agreement - within seven days of the request, and at or before the time the owner presents the lease agreement;
  • A prospective buyer negotiating a purchase and sale agreement - within seven days of the request, and at or before the time the owner presents a sales contract;
  • A prospective lender considering an application for financing or refinancing of the building - within seven days of the request, and at or before the time the owner presents a loan application.
  • Lending institutions can request a disclosure report while processing any transaction involving the sale or lease of an entire building or of a separately owned portion of a building (e.g. a condominium unit). A disclosure report can also be requested in conjunction with financing of other activities, such as tenant improvements or a major renovation.    

Failure to respond to an energy disclosure report request is subject to enforcement.  

Asking for an Energy Disclosure Report

Buildings subject to energy disclosure: Owners of commercial and multifamily buildings greater than 20,000 SF must disclose their building's energy performance on request to any of the parties listed above. The owner, at a minimum, should provide you with the Statement of Energy Performance (SEP) ending December of the prior year. The SEP should list the building's Site EUI and ENERGY STAR score.

Failure to disclose building performance information is subject to enforcement. If a request for energy disclosure from a building owner has not been responded to, please contact:

Rebecca Baker - Program Manager