About Building Tune-Ups

The Building Tune-Ups Ordinance (Seattle Municipal Code 22.930) was adopted in March 2016. Compliance specifications are detailed in OSE Director's Rule 2016-01 published January 25, 2017. Tune-ups aim to optimize energy and water performance by identifying low- or no-cost actions related to building operations and maintenance, that generate 10-15% in energy savings, on average. The Tune-Ups legislation is a key piece of Seattle's Climate Action Plan, our roadmap to achieving carbon neutrality, by helping ensure buildings don't waste energy and water.

Quick links


What's a Building Tune-Up? 

Building Tune-Ups involve assessment and implementation of operational and maintenance improvements to achieve energy and water efficiency. Examples of operational fixes include changes to thermostat set points, or adjusting lighting or irrigation schedules. Tune-ups also review HVAC, lighting, and water systems to identify needed maintenance, cleaning or repairs - for example replacing faulty sensors or fixing  problems with an economizer.

Building Tune-Up assessments, verified corrections, and reporting must be done by a qualified Tune-Up Specialist. For details on how to complete a Tune-Up, see our How to Comply page.

 Back to top

Deadlines

Building Tune-Ups are required every five years for commercial buildings 50,000 square feet (sf) or larger, excluding parking. To support building owners, compliance deadlines will be phased in by building size, beginning in 2018, and will be ongoing, with reporting required every five years thereafter. Tune-up reports are due October 1st of a buildings compliance year. Requests for alternative compliance, extensions, or waivers must be submitted by April 1st of a compliance year. 

Back to top

Enforcement

The City of Seattle has the legal authority to assess fines for non-compliance. Failure to submit evidence of compliance will result in assessed penalties. The penalty structure has been designed to encourage compliance. More about enforcement, authority, penality amounts, and procedures here.

Back to top

 
Seattle Leadership

To achieve the bold targets laid out in Seattle's Climate Action Plan (link), Seattle's building stock must reduce emissions 82% from a 2008 baseline by 2050. Energy efficiency is an easy and cost-effective way for Seattle to reduce greenhouse gas emissions-we know it works, and it's ready to deploy now. It saves tenants and businesses money, creates jobs, and bolsters the local economy. Building Tune-Ups are a smart, responsible way for Seattle to achieve its carbon goals.

Seattle has a legacy of leading-edge energy efficiency policies. To learn more, visit Buildings and Energy (link)

Back to top

Municipal Buildings

All municipal buildings must meet the Building Tune-Ups deadlines one year ahead of privately-owned buildings. Municipal tune-ups will save the City money and help us meet our carbon reduction goals.

We have audits and assessments underway at Seattle Center Armory, City Hall, Key Arena, McCaw Hall, the Central Library, and the Seattle Justice Center. The City's largest building, Seattle Municipal Tower, is scheduled for a tune-up in summer 2017.



Tune-Ups: Servicing Buildings from the Roof, Down

The automotive service industry may hotly debate the frequency in which you should tune-up your vehicle, but they do agree on one thing: tune-ups are necessary. Car owners know this to be true as well, with most politely obeying their vehicle "check engine" light when it's time to visit the shop. To do otherwise would reduce efficiency and could be catastrophic for the life of a vehicle.

Isn't the same true for buildings? Americans invest billions each year in real estate, but how much do they pay attention to protecting their investment? Many owners don't know something is wrong until the air conditioning doesn't kick on, or when an electricity bill suddenly spikes.

Recognizing this gap, the State of Washington and the Department of Energy commissioned a team of researchers to establish a solution for effectively "tuning up" buildings. The timeline below highlights the development of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's Building Re-TuningTM methodology-from creation to now standing as a requirement in one of America's most iconic and efficient cities-Seattle.

Learn more at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Back to top