Sharing Transparency for a More Efficient Future

Seattle publishes building energy performance data to spur energy efficiency

19 April 2017

SEATTLE (April 18, 2017) –Today, Seattle’s Office of Sustainability and Environment (OSE) released 2015 building energy performance data for over 3,300 properties reporting data through Seattle's Energy Benchmarking program. Overall, the data is showing an increase in efficiency and drop in energy consumption. Benchmarked buildings show a 2.7 percent decrease in energy consumption from 2014 to 2015, after adjusting for differences in weather, a decrease of around 450 million kBtu. As Seattle aims to lead the nation in fighting climate change, the city is making data publicly available to create a long-term market demand for energy efficient buildings, protect tenant interests, and reward high-performers.

“As businesses expand and grow, we have an opportunity to be a model for environmental stewardship,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “But to ensure development and sustainability go hand in hand, we must use data to track our building performance and make changes to ensure we are reaching our goals. Our focus on constructing and managing our buildings in a more sustainable way helps make Seattle a leader on fighting climate change and leaving a cleaner, safer planet to our children.”

Seattle's Energy Benchmarking program supports Seattle's goals to reduce citywide energy use—and therefore greenhouse gas emissions—from existing buildings which account for 33% of Seattle’s greenhouse gas emissions. By driving higher awareness of building energy use, data transparency helps accelerate the city’s goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050.

“Seattle’s climate goals are bold, but achievable,” said Jessica Finn Coven, director of the Seattle Office of Sustainability & Environment. “Programs like this one—that combine the power of market demand, data, and cutting edge technology tools—create the best opportunity for success to significantly reduce our climate pollution.”

Detailed building performance data is available through the City of Seattle’s Open Data portal where users can download, sort, or filter the data. The portal displays a wide range of both building information—such as address, floor area, age, and building use characteristics—as well as energy performance metrics like energy use intensity (EUI), ENERGY STAR score, and greenhouse gas emissions.

The City of Seattle also built a data visualization mapping tool to allow the public to quickly explore individual building performance and compare buildings across the city. Users can filter buildings by location, age, building type, and key energy performance metrics to learn more about the buildings in Seattle’s Energy Benchmarking program.

OSE updated the Director’s Rule that includes a clarification of the City ordinance which outlines benchmarking and data collection requirements.  This update was based on the results of three meetings property owners, managers and vendors to shape the transparency policy rule change and explore best practices for data visualization websites from cities like Philadelphia and Chicago.

The City of Seattle continues to be a leader in climate action and remains committed to becoming a carbon neutral city by 2050. Seattle’s climate strategies focus on the core greenhouse gas emissions sources where local government has the most influence – including building energy, road transportation, and waste management.