Buildings & Energy Policy

The Seattle Building Tune-Ups mandate phases in a periodic tune-up requirement for nonresidential buildings 50,000 square feet or larger (excluding parking), beginning in 2019, with buildings 200,000 square feet or greater due first. Building Tune-Ups are projected to generate 5-7.5% annual energy savings and 6-9% annual GHG emissions reductions in the non-residential sector.

Tune-ups aim to optimize energy and water performance by identifying no- or low-cost actions related to building operations and maintenance, focusing on actions that typically pay back within 3 years and generate 10-15% in energy savings, on average. The legislation is a key piece of Seattle's Climate Action Plan, our roadmap to achieving carbon-neutrality, by helping ensure buildings don't use energy and water wastefully.

The Building Tune-Ups Ordinance was adopted in March 2016, and it authorized the Director of the Office of Sustainability & Environment (OSE) to develop Rules that further detail compliance specifications. OSE Director's Rule 2016-01 specifies requirements for the following: buildings and spaces subject to the requirement; requirements for tune-up assessments, corrective actions, and reporting; requirements for compliance extensions and exemptions; and qualifications for tune-up specialists.

OSE Director's Rule 2016-01 was published on January 25, 2017, and incorporates edits made in response to comments on a draft Director's Rule issued in November 2016. OSE's response to comments received on the draft Rule can be found here.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: E-mail or call 206-727-TUNE (8863).  

Is Your Building 100,000 SF or Less? Get $ for a Tune-Up!

We're recruiting up to 100 buildings 100,000 SF or less to jump start tune-ups by participating in the Building Tune-Up Accelerator Program. Benefits include enhanced technical support and Seattle City Light financial incentives of up to $0.12 per square foot to complete a tune-up early that meets the City requirement. These incentives won't be available after the tune-up requirement is fully implemented, so enroll soon to take advantage of the incentives before they disappear.

Visit the Building Tune-Up Accelerator webpage to learn more >


In 2013, the City of Seattle adopted a Climate Action Plan (CAP) for achieving the City's vision for a carbon-neutral community by 2050. The CAP focuses on sectors where City action will have the greatest impact: road transportation, building energy, and solid waste. The strategies outlined in the CAP will reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from those sectors, prepare our communities for climate impacts, build vibrant neighborhoods, foster economic prosperity, and enhance social equity.

Buildings are responsible for 33% of Seattle's core emissions. The City of Seattle is aiming for a 39% reduction in building-related emissions by 2030 and an 82% reduction by 2050. The City adopted new policies in March of 2016 to keep Seattle on track to meet Seattle's GHG emissions reduction goal in the building sector. Seattle's new building energy legislation addresses three distinct areas:

Building Energy Transparency

The Benchmarking Amendments ordinance updates Seattle's existing energy benchmarking law to include public transparency of building energy performance to spur market demand for energy efficiency.  For more information regarding Benchmarking and the Transparency visit

Building Tune-Ups

The Building Tune-Ups ordinance phases in a periodic (every 5 years) tune-up requirement for commercial buildings 50,000 square feet or larger, beginning in 2019. 

City Leadership
To model leadership, an accompanying City-owned Building Tune-Ups resolution directs the City to conduct tune-ups on City-owned buildings one year in advance of the compliance deadlines in the Building Tune-Up ordinance.


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