How to Comply

Energy Performance Transparency

On February 29, 2016, the Seattle City Council approved an amendment (Ordinance 125000) to the existing benchmarking regulation (SMC 22.920) 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. 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.

Proposed Director's Rule 2017-01

In 2016, Ordinance 125000 amended SMC 22.920 directing the Office of Sustainability and Environment (OSE) to make building energy benchmarking reports and energy performance ratings available to the public. OSE Director's Rule 2017-01 includes clarification of the Ordinance requirements including: buildings subject to the requirement; requirements related to annual reporting of benchmarking data; utilities contacts and requirements to provide energy consumption data; requirements related to exemptions and enforcement; and energy performance data to be collected and annually published. 

Comments on the proposed rule will be accepted by email to energybenchmarking@seattle.gov with "Comment on Director's Rule 2017-01" in the subject line, or in writing to the Director, Seattle Office of Sustainability & Environment, Suite 1868, 700 Fifth Avenue, P.O. Box 94729, Seattle, WA 98124, postmarked no later than February 24, 2017.

When Will Energy Performance Metrics Be Available?

Aggregated 2015 energy performance data is now available at data.seattle.gov. We anticipate individual building 2015 energy performance data will be published on data.seattle.gov in March of 2017. 2016 energy performance data will be published in the fall of 2017 and annually in the fall for subsequent years thereafter. Benchmarking data will also be annually accessible via a visual interactive website.

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. 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 due December 8th, 2016.
  • Comments on 2016 data 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 energybenchmarking@seattle.gov 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 2-3 sentences (limit 75 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
206.615.1171
rebecca.baker@seattle.gov