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-Up report, review with the building owner, and submit to the City.

The Seattle Building Tune-Up report will be available to submit through an online portal in Spring 2018 for buildings 200,000 square feet or larger. To allow buildings to complete tune-ups before then, an Excel version of the tool will be posted here before July.

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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 creating a directory of qualified Tune-Ups Specialists that will be published soon 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:

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Pursue Alternative Compliance

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 pathways will be available in Summer 2017 for buildings 200,000 sf or larger.

For more details on the Alternative Compliance options, see OSE Director's Rule 2016-01 for eligibility details. 

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Participate in the Accelerator Program (50-100K buildings)

We're recruiting up to 100 buildings to jump start tune-ups. If your building is less than 100,000 SF, you may be eligible to participate in the Building Tune-Up Accelerator Program. Benefits include enhanced technical support and financial incentives to help comply with the City requirement. Funding sunsets in 2018, so contact us today or learn more on the Accelerator page.

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Limited Single-Round Waivers

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. See OSE Director's Rule 2016-01 for eligibility details.

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One-Year Extensions

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. See OSE Director's Rule 2016-01 for eligibility details.

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