Seattle Energy Benchmarking Attains 99% Compliance

Seattle continues to lead the nation in buildings reporting energy use – this year more than 3,250 reported (99% of buildings required). But benchmarking is only the first step. Learning from the data and taking action are critical to energy savings—and a host of other benefits—like tenant satisfaction and marketability that help keep existing buildings profitable in Seattle’s surging real estate market.

These “beyond benchmarking” actions are supported by Seattle’s Benchmarking Transparency Policy to make the collected data publicly available. This summer OSE heard from property owners, managers and vendors via three roundtable meetings. The attendees discussed proposed rule changes and explored data visualization websites from other benchmarking cities like Philadelphia and Chicago. The input will support the development of a draft Director’s Rule that is being prepared this summer.

To further engage office and multifamily building owners and thank them for benchmarking, OSE sends customized reports that show how their building’s energy use compares to similar Seattle buildings. The reports estimate cost savings by reducing the building’s energy use to the Seattle “average” or a “top performer” and feature opportunities like utility rebates, workshops and recognition programs. (View a sample) These reports will be shared again this fall and expanded to more building types. Owners of other building types can see how their building stacks up to others in Seattle using the Energy Benchmarking Dashboard.

As one multifamily manager said last year, “I knew this building was using a lot of energy, but I didn’t know how bad it was until I saw it was ranked one of the worst on the performance profile.” This knowledge validated her recent decision to update a boiler on the property—demonstrating exactly how Seattle is hoping to leverage the benchmarking data from information to action.