by Gabe Hanson / Weber Thompson Architects
Top benchmarking links
Compliance Deadlines and Enforcement
All non-residential and multifamily buildings 20,000 SF or greater in the City of Seattle are required to annually report energy benchmarking data. Buildings less than 20,000 SF may report voluntarily, but are not required.
Reports are due each April 1st for the previous year's building energy use. For example, 2013 data will be due on April 1, 2014. If you successfully reported a building's 2011 data to the City, learn how to update for 2012 data. Those new to reporting should follow the How to Comply page.
The City of Seattle has the legal authority to assess fines for non-compliance. If building energy data is not reported annually, the Office of Sustainability and Environment will attempt to notify the owner of record first through a letter or postcard. For continued non-compliance, official warning letters will be sent to the owner of record and if known, their registered agent. The warning letters are designed to encourage compliance as they state the time remaining to comply before penalties will be assessed. Finally, a Notice of Violation with penalties is assessed for those in violation with SMC 22.92.010.
Penalties for Failure to Report
Failure to submit an annual benchmarking report to the City of Seattle will result in assessed penalties that accrue quarterly, starting 90 days after the reporting deadlines for each year of required building energy data. The penalty structure has been designed to encourage compliance. Building owners that do not comply with Seattle Municipal Code 22.920.010 will be sent a Notice of Violation with an assessed penalty amount. If a building owner does not correct the violation within the next quarter, the penalty increases through a quarterly accruing fine. Quarterly penalty amounts are based on building size:
Penalties will be assessed as follows for the following past due energy reports:
* Since EPA's Portfolio Manager was offline for an upgrade when fines would normally have been assessed (90 days after the April 1st deadline, which is July 1st), Seattle has granted additional time to comply before fines will be assessed. For more information, read Seattle's Frequently Asked Questions about the Portfolio Manager upgrade.
Notice of Violation
A Notice of Violation (NOV) may be appealed. All appeals will be reviewed through an administrative review process. You must respond to a Notice of Violation within thirty (30) calendar days from the date served. Failure to respond within thirty (30) calendar days will result in entry of an order that you committed the violation and are responsible for the penalties. An appeal response must be in the Office of Sustainability and Environment by 5:00 p.m. on the day the response is due. If you request administrative review, you must submit the following form:
How to Appeal an Administrative Review Decision: Following Administrative Review, the defendant has the right to appeal the administrative review decision to the Hearing Examiner. Administrative Review Appeals must be received by the Hearing Examiner within fifteen (15) calendar days from the decision issued date. Any mailed response must be in the Office of the Hearing Examiner by 5:00 p.m. on the day the response is due. Visit www.seattle.gov/examiner or call (206) 684-0521 to learn more.
To avoid accruing penalties you must correct the violation, visit the How to Comply page for instructions.
Do not send cash. Print the notice of violation number on the check or money order. Only payments in full will be accepted. A check or money order payable in US funds to the City of Seattle can be mailed to:
Seattle Department of Finance and Administrative Services
Payment can also be made in person at the Seattle Municipal Tower located at 700 5th Avenue, Suite 4250 (42nd floor) or Seattle Municipal Tower 4th Floor lobby, Payment & Information Desk, Seattle, WA.
A building owner may also be fined for submitting an inaccurate performance report or for failing to disclose energy performance upon request. In addition, a tenant that fails to provide information necessary for a building owner to benchmark may be subject to the fine.
For additional questions or to report a request for an energy disclosure report from a building owner that has not been responded to, please contact:
Owners with buildings subject to the deadlines above are required by Ordinance 123226 and Ordinance 123993 track energy performance through the U.S. EPA's benchmarking tool, Portfolio Manager, and annually report their energy performance to the City of Seattle.
The Energy Benchmarking & Disclosure Director's Rule 6-2011 defines the specific requirements for compliance with the ordinance.
Manufacturing Exemptions - Under the Director's Rule, buildings used primarily for manufacturing or industrial purposes are exempt from all benchmarking, disclosure, and reporting requirements of this ordinance. This includes buildings used for assembling, disassembling, fabricating, finishing, manufacturing, packaging, repair or processing operations. The primary means of obtaining an exemption is by submitting the building's Certificate of Occupancy to EnergyBenchmarking@seattle.gov, documenting that at least 50% of the building is classified under the current Seattle Building Code as Factory Industrial Group F. For more details and a self-certification alternative, read the Manufacturing and Industrial Exemptions document.
Campus Buildings - As detailed in Section 7.A.2 of the Director's Rule, "Where multiple buildings are served by a single utility meter, or served from a nearby central plant and not individually metered, it will be impossible to benchmark energy performance for the individual buildings. In these situations, all commonly served buildings should be grouped together and defined as a campus." Portfolio Manager does not currently include the functionality needed to integrate with the City of Seattle’s system for automated reporting of benchmarking results. The City of Seattle will notify owners of campus connected buildings when this functionality becomes available. Until that time, campus buildings must be benchmarked using Portfolio Manager or a similar system, but are not required to disclose or report their performance. If your building(s) qualifies as part of a "campus," email an explanation and each City of Seattle Building ID (on your notification letter) to EnergyBenchmarking@seattle.gov, so that we may update our database.
To help building owners and managers comply with the ordinance, lists of buildings by name (if known) and address that are subject to the ordinance are posted here. The lists DO NOT indicate whether buildings are currently in compliance.
About the Lists - The lists may not show all buildings on a parcel and/or all buildings subject to the ordinance. Building types subject to the ordinance as defined in the Director's Rule need to report, regardless of whether or not they are listed. The Building Name, Building Address and Gross Floor Area were derived from King County Assessor records. They may differ from the actual building. Please confirm the building information prior to benchmarking and email corrections to: EnergyBenchmarking@seattle.gov. The lists will be updated periodically to reflect any corrections, additions, or to remove buildings that qualify for exemptions (see section above).
The City of Seattle Building ID is needed to report your building. The IDs are listed on notification and warning letters mailed by the City. If you do not have a letter, email Your Name, Building Name, and Building Address to EnergyBenchmarking@seattle.gov and we will send it to you. Buildings not on the above should request a new City of Seattle Building ID prior to reporting.
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