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.

All submittals will be done using the Seattle Services Portal. To submit a Tune-Up or Alternative Compliance request via the Seattle Services Portal, you will be required to enter a claim code that has been issued to the owner of record. Claim codes ensure the data collected is only visible to those who are authorized to access Tune-Up details. If you need help accessing your claim code, please email us at BuildingTuneUps@seattle.gov.

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How to comply chart

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.

For details of the Building Tune-Up requirements, see the videos on the City of Seattle Building Tune-Ups YouTube page.


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 www.neec.net. 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.

AND

One of the following certifications:

CERTIFICATION CERTIFIED/LICENSED BY WEBSITE
Professional Engineer (PE) in mechanical or architectural engineering Washington State Department of Licensing per WAC 196-27A-020(2)(d) http://leg.wa.gov
Building Operator Certification (BOC) Level II Northwest Energy Efficiency Council (NEEC) www.theboc.info
Certified Energy Manager Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) wwww.aeecenter.org
Certified Commissioning Professional (CCP) Building Commissioning Certification Board (BCCB) www.bcxa.org
Commissioning Authority (CxA) AABC Commissioning Group (ACG) www.commissioning.org
Existing Building Commissioning Professional (EBCP) Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) www.aeecenter.org
Sustainable Building Science Technology Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) South Seattle College (SSC) www.southseattle.edu

Pursue Alternative Compliance

Alternative compliance, single-round waiver, and one-year extension requests are due 180 days prior to a building's Tune-Up compliance due date. Read each section below for more details. 

Alternative Compliance Options

We recognize that many building owners are making great strides toward achieving energy efficiency. Rather than conducting a Tune-Up and to allow flexibility for owners, buildings with extremely low energy use, exemplary energy performance certification, or those that have recently completed a tune-up equivalent project can apply for Alternative Compliance via the Seattle Services Portal. For more information on the relevant Alternative Compliance pathway for your building, see the information below. You can also reference the Alternative Compliance handout, OSE Director's Rule 2016-01, or the City of Seattle's Tune-Ups Youtube page.

Certified ENERGY STAR Score
How to satisfy the requirements:
ENERGY STAR Score of 90 or above for buildings 100,000+ Gross SF (excluding parking), or
ENERGY STAR Score of 85 or above for buildings 50,000-100,000 Gross SF (excluding parking)

Certification must be obtained in one of the two calendar years prior to the year of compliance. For example, a building with 55,000 Gross SF has a Tune-Up deadline of 10/1/2021 (and thus, Alternative Compliance deadline of 4/1/2021). Therefore, to be eligible for this Alternative Compliance pathway, the building's Certified ENERGY STAR score must be issued no earlier than 10/1/2019.

Required Documentation:
1. Either a copy of the EPA issued ENERGY STAR Certificate of Achievement or the congratulatory email, and
2. Either a copy of the Application for Certification, or the Statement of Energy Performance (SEP) with the same year ending date as the application, stamped by a Professional Engineer or Registered Architect.

The Portfolio Manager Property ID must match the Property ID being reported to the City of Seattle per the Energy Benchmarking annual reporting requirements.

LEED Gold or Platinum Operations & Maintenance (O+M)
How to satisfy the requirements:
LEED O+M Certification at the gold or platinum level with at least 17 Energy and Atmosphere (EA) credits for LEED v4 or current, or at least 15 Energy and Atmosphere credits under v2009.

Certification must be achieved or re-certified no more than three years prior to the compliance deadline. For example, a building with 55,000 Gross SF has a Tune-Up deadline of 10/1/2021 (and thus, Alternative Compliance deadline of 4/1/2021). Therefore, to be eligible for this Alternative Compliance pathway, the building's LEED Gold or Platinum certification can occur as early as October 2018.

Required Documentation:
1. LEED Gold or Platinum Certificate including date, issued by USGBC, and
2. LEED Scorecard

Living Building, Petal, or Net Zero Energy Certifications
How to satisfy the requirements:
Achieve either Living Building Challenge Certification, Petal Certification with Net Positive Energy Imperative, or Net Zero Energy Building Certification, issued by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI).

Certification must be achieved or re-certified no more than three years prior to the compliance deadline. For example, a building with 55,000 Gross SF has a Tune-Up deadline of 10/1/2021 (and thus, Alternative Compliance deadline of 4/1/2021). Therefore, to be eligible for this Alternative Compliance pathway, the building's ILFI certification can be as early as October 2018.

Required Documentation:
1. Certificate issued by ILFI, and
2. Summary report (if applicable, depending on which certification)

Low EUI (<20 kBtu/sf)
How to satisfy the requirements:
Must have a weather normalized site Energy Use Intensity (EUI) equal to or less than 20 kBTU/SF for at least two of the three calendar years (ending in December) preceding the Tune-Up compliance date.

For example, a building with 55,000 Gross SF has a Tune-Up deadline of 10/1/2021 (and thus, Alternative Compliance deadline of 4/1/2021). Therefore, to be eligible for this Alternative Compliance pathway, the building's weather-normalized site EUI must be at or below 20 kBTU/SF for at least two of the three January to December calendar years of 2018, 2019, and 2020.

Required Documentation:
1. A copy of the Statement of Energy Performance (SEP) for each of the two January to December calendar years with weather-normalized site EUIs equal to or below 20 kBTU/SF, and
2. A completed Energy Benchmarking Verification form

Ongoing Commissioning
How to satisfy the requirements:
Buildings must actively monitor and continuously commission: (1) Heating, (2) Cooling, (3) Ventilation, (4) Domestic Hot Water, and (5) Lighting* systems to be eligible. Documentation showing how the facility addresses faults/alarms detected by the Ongoing Commissioning process must be provided over a two-year period (eight quarterly reports), as outlined below.

For example, a building with 55,000 Gross SF has a Tune-Up deadline of 10/1/2021 (and thus, Alternative Compliance deadline of 4/1/2021). Assuming the OCx Alternative Compliance request is submitted on 4/1/2021, to be eligible for this pathway, the building's OCx process must have been in place since April 2019. The eight quarterly reports must start then as well.

Required Documentation:
1. Eight quarterly reports over the two-year period leading up to the compliance deadline. Each report must include a sample of data (~one week) covering the following:

a. Faults/issues detected
b. Date and time each fault/issue was detected
c. Location of each fault/issue
d. Work Order # for each fault/issue
e. Staff/vendor notes on what was done to remedy each fault/issue
f. Date and time of correction/repair for each fault/issue

*For lighting not tied into the OCx software system, regular night walkthroughs or data logging are sufficient in place of OCx software. Please provide documentation demonstrating that regular night walkthroughs or data logging occurred during each of the eight quarters and that requirements a. - f. above are met.

Completed Retro-Commissioning
How to satisfy the requirements:
Buildings must complete an RCx program such as:
-SCL's Comprehensive Building Tune-Up (CBTU) program (required for electric-only customers)
-PSE's CBTU program (required for customers with PSE gas heating), or
-an independent RCx program at least as stringent as CBTU (must work with an approved Tune-Up Specialist)  

The work must be completed no sooner than three years before the building's Tune-Up deadline. For example, a building with 55,000 Gross SF has a Tune-Up deadline of 10/1/2021 (and thus, Alternative Compliance deadline of 4/1/2021). Therefore, to be eligible for this Alternative Compliance pathway, the RCx program can be completed as early as October 2018.

Required Documentation:
-(For SCL electric customers): SCL's RCx project Overview form, RCx Scoping & Services Completion Verification form, and RCx completion letter.
-(For PSE gas customers): PSE's CBTU Summary Form of Energy Efficiency Improvements
-(For independent RCx projects): The RCx report itself, and a cover letter signed & verified by an approved Tune-Up Specialist saying completed RCx work was no less stringent than CBTU.

ASHRAE Level II Audit Recommendations
How to satisfy the requirements:
Building owner must correct all deficiencies and implement all efficiency measures (capital and operational) with a projected simple payback period of three years or less as identified in the ASHRAE level II audit. The audit must be conducted by an approved Tune-Up Specialist.  

The work must be completed no sooner than three years before the building's Tune-Up deadline. For example, a building with 55,000 Gross SF has a Tune-Up deadline of 10/1/2021 (and thus, Alternative Compliance deadline of 4/1/2021). Therefore, to be eligible for this Alternative Compliance pathway, the ASHRAE Level II audit can be completed as early as October 2018.

Required Documentation:
1. ASHRAE Level II Audit report, and
2. Cover letter signed by the Tune-Up Specialist which lists all capital and operational measures projected to payback within three years, and that verifies implementation of these measures.

Reduced EUI 15% or More
How to satisfy the requirements:
Weather-normalized site Energy Use Intensity (EUI) reduction by at least 15% compared to the average of the previous two years' weather-normalized site EUIs. The EUIs must be January through December calendar years. Required to work with an approved Tune-Up Specialist. (If the 15% EUI reduction is not achieved, a Tune-Up must be conducted.)

For example, a building with 55,000 Gross SF has a Tune-Up deadline of 10/1/2021 (and thus, Alternative Compliance deadline of 4/1/2021). Therefore, to be eligible for this Alternative Compliance pathway, the calculation of Year 1 EUI must start in January 2018. Note that if more time is needed to see out the EUI reduction, this pathway can be combined with a One-Year Extension. In that case, Year 1 EUI will start in January 2019.  

Required Documentation:
1. ENERGY STAR Statement of Performance (SEP) for the three relevant calendar years (ending in December), as verified and signed by a qualified Tune-Up Specialist.

Substantial Alteration or New Construction
How to satisfy the requirements:
Newly constructed buildings or those that have completed a recent "Substantial Alteration" project (as deemed so by SDCI - Seattle Department of Construction & Inspections).  

The Certificate of Occupancy (for either New Construction or Substantial Alteration) must be dated no sooner than three years before the building's Tune-Up deadline. For example, a building with 55,000 Gross SF has a Tune-Up deadline of 10/1/2021 (and thus, Alternative Compliance deadline of 4/1/2021). Therefore, to be eligible for this Alternative Compliance pathway, the Certificate of Occupancy must be dated on or after 10/1/2018.

Required Documentation:
1. A copy of the relevant permit(s), and
2. A copy of the final Certificate of Occupancy To find out if a building's renovation was a Substantial Alteration, contact SDCI's Public Resource Center: PRC@seattle.gov

SCL Energy Analysis Assistance (EAA) Existing Building Program
How to satisfy the requirements:
Buildings that have completed SCL's Whole Building Energy Analysis Assistance for Existing Buildings program. Must include SCL-approved Energy Analysis Report and receipt of incentives for implementing all measures within a 2.5-year payback.  

The program must be completed no sooner than three years before the building's Tune-Up deadline. For example, a building with 55,000 Gross SF has a Tune-Up deadline of 10/1/2021 (and thus, Alternative Compliance deadline of 4/1/2021). Therefore, to be eligible for this Alternative Compliance pathway, the EAA program can be completed as early as October 2018.

Required Documentation:
1. EAA Completion Letter from SCL, and
2. Evidence of incentives for the Energy Analysis Report, and
3. Evidence of incentives for the energy conservation measures that were implemented

If a request is denied for any Alternative Compliance request, 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. See our handout of waivers and extensions or OSE Director's Rule 2016-01 for more details. You may apply for a Waiver or Extension on the Seattle Services Portal.

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