How to Comply

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All buildings with 50,000 square feet or more of nonresidential space (excluding parking) must comply with the Building Tune-Ups requirement every five years. For most buildings, this will require a tune-up. High performing buildings or buildings that have recently completed a tune-up equivalent project may be eligible for an alternative compliance pathway. Single-round waivers or one-year extensions are available in limited circumstances.

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Tune-Up Your Building

Building Tune-Ups are assessments of building systems to detect and correct operational or maintenance problems. Tune-Ups must be conducted by a qualified Tune-Up Specialist (see below) and include the following steps:

  • Find a Qualified Tune-Up Specialist. A Tune-Up Specialist is a building energy professional with seven years of experience in energy management and one of several training or certification programs.
  • Conduct a Building Assessment. The Tune-Up Specialist will assess building systems and operations, review benchmarking data, and review water bills.
  • Identify Corrective Actions. The Tune-Up Specialist will identify required operational and maintenance improvements to the building and submit to the building owner.
  • Implement Corrective Actions. The building owner and Tune-Up Specialist will work to address all required corrective actions identified in the building assessment.
  • Verify Changes. The Tune-Up Specialist will verify that all corrected equipment and systems are functioning as intended.
  • Report to the City. The Tune-Up Specialist must complete the Seattle Building Tune-Ups Summary Report, review with the building owner, and submit to the City.

The Seattle Building Tune-Ups Summary Report will be available to submit through an online portal coming soon. To allow buildings to complete tune-up work before then, an Excel version of the tool is now available as a workbook here. This tool provides an outline of all the information required to submit to the City as part of the Building Tune-Ups Summary Report, including all elements of the building assessment and all required and voluntary corrective actions. 

Hire a Tune-Up Specialist

A Tune-Up Specialist is a person qualified to conduct a tune-up assessment, identify required tune-up actions, perform tune-up actions and/or verify that tune-up actions were completed, and submit the Seattle Building Tune-Up report to the City of Seattle. There are many qualified Tune-Up Specialists in our area. If your building has a regular maintenance contract, they might be qualified to conduct a Tune-Up. Many mechanical and electrical engineers are qualified Tune-Up Specialists. The Northwest Energy Efficiency Council (NEEC) is developing a directory of qualified Tune-Ups Specialists at The City of Seattle cannot make any recommendations or referrals.

It is the responsibility of the building owner on record to confirm that the Tune-Up Specialist meets all qualifications. Tune-Up Specialists must meet the following qualifications:

At least seven years of experience, including educational and/or professional experience, with commercial building operations and/or building energy management.


One of the following certifications:

Professional Engineer (PE) in mechanical or architectural engineering Washington State Department of Licensing per WAC 196-27A-020(2)(d)
Building Operator Certification (BOC) Level II Northwest Energy Efficiency Council (NEEC)
Certified Energy Manager Association of Energy Engineers (AEE)
Certified Commissioning Professional (CCP) Building Commissioning Certification Board (BCCB)
Commissioning Authority (CxA) AABC Commissioning Group (ACG)
Existing Building Commissioning Professional (EBCP) Association of Energy Engineers (AEE)
Sustainable Building Science Technology Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) South Seattle College (SSC)

Pursue Alternative Compliance

Alternative compliance, single-round waiver, and one-year extension request forms are now available for large buildings (200,000 sf or larger). All requests are due 180 days prior to a building's Tune-Up compliance due date. Read each section below for more details. 

To submit a request, please download and fill in the request form applicable to the type of request the building will pursue. If the alternative compliance option being pursued requires verification or completion by a Tune-Up Specialist, please download and complete the Tune-Up Specialist Information form in addition to the request form.

Email the completed and signed request forms along with all required supporting documentation to  The Office of Sustainability and Environment will notify you by email when the request has been received. Before you begin filling out a request form, please review all the requirements for the type of request.

Email questions to or call 206-727-8863 (TUNE) for assistance.

Alternative Compliance Options

We recognize that many building owners are making great strides toward achieving energy efficiency. To allow flexibility for owners, buildings with extremely low energy use or exemplary energy performance certifications such as LEED Operations and Maintenance (O+M) Gold or Platinum, Living Building, or a certified ENERGY STAR score (90+ for buildings 100K+ SF and 85+ for buildings 50-100K SF) can request compliance for a tune-up cycle. Similarly, owners that have recently completed work to improve the operational performance of the building can submit evidence of a tune-up equivalent project. Examples include continuous commissioning, implementation of ASHRAE Level II energy audit recommendations, or a recently completed retro-commissioning project. 

Application forms for alternative compliance are now available for the first group of buildings (200,000 sf or larger). To apply for alternative compliance please download the form for the type of request being pursued, fill out electronically, and email the completed form to *Please note, we will not be accepting scanned PDFs for alternative compliance requests. For more details on the Alternative Compliance options, see our Alternative Compliance handout or referenece OSE Director's Rule 2016-01


Exemplary Performance Options

Tune-Up Equivalent Options

If a request is denied, the building will remain subject to SMC 22.930 and required to Tune-Up by its assigned compliance deadline. 

Limited Single-Round Waivers and One-Year Extensions

For buildings permitted to be demolished, undergoing a major renovation, or in extreme financial distress, owners can apply for a waiver for a five year tune-up cycle. And under limited circumstances building owners can apply for a one year extension, including a change of ownership within one year of the deadline, high vacancy rates, permitted mechanical improvements, or if more time is needed to demonstrate a 15% EUI reduction. To apply for a waiver or extension please download the form for the type of request being pursued, fill out electronically, and email the completed form to *Please note, we will not be accepting scanned PDFs for waiver or extension requests. See our handout of waivers and extensions or OSE Director's Rule 2016-01 for more details.


If a request is denied, the building will remain subject to SMC 22.930 and required to Tune-Up by its assigned compliance deadline.