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State and Local Building Efficiency Regulations & Policies: Seattle & the Pacific Northwest

In this series, we’re exploring state and local building efficiency regulations to give you a bird’s-eye view of the policies that may impact your portfolio.

Building energy use is responsible for more than one-third of Seattle’s overall greenhouse gas emissions. Over 90 percent of these emissions come from burning fossil fuels like fracked gas and oil for heat, hot water, and cooking.1

That said, Seattle’s longstanding commitment to sustainability is undeniable. In 2000, Seattle became the first city in the United States to adopt a green building goal for all new municipal buildings. It launched a LEED incentive program for private projects in 2001. In 2005, Seattle City Light became the nation’s first carbon-neutral electric utility. And in 2011, Seattle became a founding member of the 2030 Districts, a national network of public-private partnerships characterized by ambitious sustainability targets for both existing buildings and new construction. 

While Seattle and Washington State have issued stringent regulations around building emissions and efficiency over the last decade, the Greater Pacific Northwest area has – perhaps surprisingly – taken a slightly more hands-off approach. 

Learn more about how Aquicore makes it easy to collect the energy data needed to comply with local, city, and state benchmarking regulations.

We’ve compiled the key building energy requirements, policies, and plans for the Pacific Northwest area. Keep reading for the full list: 

Key Sources:

  • https://database.aceee.org/policies-targeting-existing-buildings
  • https://www.energystar.gov/buildings/program-administrators/state-and-local-governments/see-federal-state-and-local-benchmarking-policies
  • https://www.dsireusa.org/
  • https://www.ncsl.org/research/energy/energy-legislation-tracking-database.aspx
  • http://www.seattle.gov/environment/climate-change/buildings-and-energy
  • http://www.seattle.gov/Documents/Departments/OSE/Building%20Energy/OSE_BuildingsWork.pdf
  • https://greenspace.seattle.gov/2021/02/mayor-durkan-signs-legislation-making-seattles-building-energy-code-one-of-strongest-on-climate-in-the-nation/#sthash.DIAC29rM.HvqCSiCe.dpbs