Seattle Building Owners Poised to Save Millions

by | Jan 10, 2014

Seattle skylineThe Seattle Office of Sustainability and Environment has issued a new report that shows Seattle building owners are poised to save tens of millions of dollars on energy annually by improving their building’s energy efficiency. Seattle also recently released its Resource Conservation Management Plan, which sets guidelines for reducing energy use in City-owned buildings 20 percent by 2020.

The report, Seattle 2011/2012 Building Energy Benchmarking Analysis summarizes the benchmarking results of more than 2,600 private-sector buildings representing nearly 228 million sq. ft., including offices, hotels, apartment buildings, retail stores, religious and educational institutions. Building owners provided energy use information to the City as required under the City of Seattle’s Building Energy Benchmarking and Reporting Ordinance.

The analysis established performance ranges for 13 different building types based on their reported 2012 energy use. For example:

  • An office building reporting an energy use intensity (EUI or energy use per square foot annually) of 60 kbtu/sf is about average for Seattle.
  • Multifamily (apartment and condo) buildings, which tend to use less energy than offices, had an average EUI of about 32 kbtu/sf.
  • If all the highest energy users improved to the average level of efficiency for their building type, owners would save a combined $55 million on utility bills each year and lower annual energy use by an average of 25 percent across all buildings.
  • If these same buildings improved to match the energy efficiency levels of the best performing buildings in their class, utility bill savings would surpass $90 million each year and annual energy use would decline by an average of 42 percent.

To date about 93 percent of buildings have had 2012 data reported to the City—the highest compliance rate in the nation for benchmarking laws. Seattle is one of nine U.S. cities with benchmarking ordinances.

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