Seattle Building Code Gets Energy Upgrade

Seattle Building Code Gets Energy Upgrade

The City of Seattle has adopted new energy codes for its commercial buildings. The new codes exceed national energy-efficiency standards by nearly 20%.

The new requirements -- which apply to the envelope, mechanical systems, and lighting and power systems of commercial buildings -- include: increased wall insulation, greater efficiency for heating and cooling equipment, and use of automatic shut-off controls for lighting. All applications for non-residential building projects submitted to the City of Seattle must comply with the codes.

“We see these new codes as part of Seattle’s policy of leadership in the environmental area,” said John Hogan of the city’s Department of Design, Construction and Land Use.

The revisions, which are part of the city’s long-term energy policy, augment energy requirements placed on heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems by the Washington’s state-wide energy code. According to the city, the changes are expected to save an average of 1 megawatt of power annually.

“We know that environmental impacts are lower when you use energy more efficiently,” said Hogan. “The revisions are a way of keeping costs down for our rate payers.”

Revisions to the Energy Code were developed through an extensive public review process, during which Seattle’s DCLU held a series of weekly public review meetings. City officials also worked with Seattle City of Light, the city’s electric utility, to develop and adapt the requirements. They were approved unanimously by the Seattle City Council last September.