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 publically 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 publically 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 exact metrics made available will be determined via an updated Benchmarking Director's Rule (see below). 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

Beginning in May 2016, OSE will host a series of roundtable meetings to solicit feedback from stakeholders regarding the recent benchmarking transparency policy changes. At least three meetings to explore data visualization options, define published metrics and review proposed rule changes will support the development of the draft Director's Rule. 

Timeline & Meeting Schedule

All roundtable meetings will be held at the Smart Buildings Center in the Pacific Tower, 1200 12th Ave. S., Suite 110 Seattle, WA 98144. Stakeholders may attend one or all of the three meetings. RSVP is required for each meeting so that we may plan accordingly for the materials and space.   

  • May 23rd, 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM
    Meeting 1: Overview of process, data visualization options, and common metrics across cities. RSVP to this meeting >

  • June 6th, 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
    Meeting 2: Metrics - collect vs publish, clarification updates and additions. RSVP to this meeting >

  • June 14th, 1:00 - 2:30
    Meeting 3: Proposed changes to Benchmarking Director's Rule. RSVP to this meeting >

  • July 2016 - Draft Benchmarking Rule Published

  • Two weeks - Draft Benchmarking Rule Comment Period

  • September 2016 - 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 requirements. We anticipate the primary rule changes will focus on defining the 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 energy performance data for the prior year will be made available by Fall 2016, but no later than December 31st. Final details will be available via the pending Director's Rule.

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 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:  As of April 1, 2013 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 (if available), which you can then use to better understand the building's energy performance:

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

Rebecca Baker - Program Manager