12/17/2015 | Posted at 9:55 pm

Energy Performance of Seattle’s Civic Buildings

Measuring What Matters & Leading By Example

In support of Seattle’s bold carbon neutral goal by 2050, the City implemented an Energy Benchmarking and Reporting law in 2010 that requires owners of non-residential and multifamily buildings 20,000 square feet or larger to track and annually report energy performance to the City. The City of Seattle is leading by example by publically releasing annual reports (2011-2012, 2012-2013, 2013-2014) on progress towards the citywide plan to reduce energy by 20% in City-owned buildings by 2020.

GGLO has created a map of the civic buildings (for which geo-located information is available), allowing you to explore energy performance (and 4 years’ of aggregated data) in the context of the neighborhoods where you live, work, and play.

Start Exploring

Using the Map:

Within the map, each building’s 2014 EUI (Energy Use Intensity) is centered on the building’s parcel. From there, previous years off benchmarking extend outward from the 2014 number. National and Seattle-area EUI averages for usage type are also included, when available. To explore the map, select your category from the menu on the right, and then select the individual building you are interested in. This map is in the early stages. As further information is collected and new trends are determined, we hope the map will grow in functionality.

seattle map

What is Energy Benchmarking?

In addition to tracking and reporting annual energy performance to the City, building owners and operators are required to disclose benchmarking results to potential buyers, renters, or lenders. The intent of this program is to improve operational efficiency, track progress of Seattle Climate Action Plan energy use reduction targets in commercial (10% reduction by 2030) and residential (20% reduction by 2030) buildings, and help business and consumers make informed energy-related decisions when buying, renting, or leasing a property.
To learn more about the City’s Energy Benchmarking program and review energy reports click here.

Seattle Energy Reports

What data does the City track in its Energy Performance Reports?

The City has benchmarked over 200 buildings, comprised of 8.2 million square feet in the 2013 – 2014 report. Each year, the city collects data from a growing list of municipal buildings 10,000 square feet or larger (and smaller public facilities such as libraries), including building size, energy consumption, building function, and operational changes. Once collected, an Energy Use Intensity (EUI) is calculated for each building by dividing its annual energy use by building square footage. The resulting EUI (kBTU/sqft/year) number normalizes for building size which allows buildings of various size to be compared to each other, similar to the way miles per gallons can be used to compare cars.

What is an EUI?


As certain usage types inherently consume larger amounts of energy than others, the data is further refined into usage categories. This allows the city to determine which buildings are under-performing within their peer group, while avoiding penalization of buildings performing tasks that result in inherently high EUIs. For example, Warehouses have very little energy use whereas Offices have a larger energy use attributed to the lighting and computers needed to support large numbers of workers.