Comment on a Draft Director’s Rule about Green Building Standards

We’d like your feedback on Draft Director’s Rule 20-2017, Green Building Standard. It’s available for review and comment through September 22, 2017.

The purpose of this Director’s Rule is to:

  • Establish the requirements for development to meet the green building standard, including a substantially equivalent or superior standard where applicable
  • Establish the requirements for documenting an owner’s commitment that a proposed development will meet a green building standard
  • Establish the requirements for demonstrating compliance with a commitment that the development will meet a green building standard

Our “green building standard” is a standard adopted by the Director of our Department, that is equivalent or superior to standards accepted in the building industry for high-level development strategies and practices. These standards apply to a range of structure types, they help save resources, and they promote renewable, clean energy.

The previous rule, 12-2016, is being revised to clarify language about the energy goal and how that relates to the Seattle Energy Code. The new text will clarify that any project using the green building standard must be designed to use 15% less energy than allowed by the Seattle Energy Code.   

Seattle City Light Nears Incentive Cap as Solar Generation Increases

As more people install solar panels on their homes, Seattle City Light is approaching the state-set limit for payments of solar energy production incentives.


Rapid growth in the installation of solar energy systems is pushing Seattle City Light to the state-imposed cap for solar production incentives.

City Light anticipates reaching the limit for incentives, which is set as a percentage of the utility’s revenue, during the state’s 2016 fiscal year (July 1, 2015, to June 30, 2016). Solar customers should expect to see a proportional reduction in incentive payments.

Among the reasons City Light is about to reach its cap are:

  • A trend toward the installation of larger solar systems
  • Sunnier weather that has increased solar production
  • And decreasing retail electricity sales for the utility.

At this time, City Light estimates that the proportional reduction in incentive payments for solar customers will be 31 percent for the state’s 2016 fiscal year.

Solar customers receive a variety of additional benefits for engaging in solar generation. Benefits include federal solar investment Tax Credit, Washington State sales tax exemption for systems less than 10 kilowatts and net metering benefits. These benefits will not be affected by the incentive payment reduction.

To stay updated on details of the solar incentive cap, visit the City Light Solar Incentive Website at .

Seattle City Light is the 10th largest public electric utility in the United States. It has some of the lowest cost customer rates of any urban utility, providing reliable, renewable and environmentally responsible power to about 750,000 Seattle area residents. City Light has been greenhouse gas neutral since 2005, the first electric utility in the nation to achieve that distinction.

Amtrak cuts its costs with LED lighting, support from Seattle City Light

Some of the new energy efficient LED lighting at Amtrak’s Seattle yard.

At Amtrak’s Seattle yard, the lights shine a little brighter and the power bill is a lot smaller thanks to energy-efficient strategies created through collaboration between the railroad and Seattle City Light.

Last fall, Amtrak retrofitted 508 light fixtures with LED and T8 fluorescent lights, replacing high-intensity discharge lamps and T12 fluorescent fixtures. The new lights shine brighter, increasing line of sight and security. LEDs also last four times longer and offer efficient dimming capabilities. This project saves about 1 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year — enough energy to power more than 100 homes for a year.

“These lights will help reduce our overall operating and maintenance costs,” Amtrak Project Manager 1 Dan Radeke said. “They should last a long time.”

LED lights were installed at Amtrak’s warehouse A, the material control warehouse, the maintenance of equipment building, exterior lighting and the commissary.

Timers and light motion detectors, which keep lights off until people are present, also were installed. Existing compressed air lines were repaired and an energy-reducing air compressor was purchased.

The total cost of the project was $544,000. Seattle City light provided $312,000 in energy efficiency incentives for the project.

Amtrak Manager of Energy Projects John Tull introduced Radeke to Seattle City Lights’ rebate program, recognizing it could save money and reduce energy bills. Tull also identified the type of lights needed through research and conversations with City Light Senior Energy Management Analyst Aaron Houseknecht.

“The buildings are fairly new, only 4 years old, and they used efficient lighting,” Houseknecht said.  “What I noticed the most was that all the lights were on and there was no one around.  Conservation performed an occupancy study and found that some areas were 90 percent vacant.”

“A lighting contractor was going to replace the lamps and ballasts in this building as routine maintenance so I suggested that they attach an occupancy sensor to the lights when doing the retrofit,” he said. “There was so much energy savings and incentives that Amtrak decided to install the occupancy sensors and to convert the lights to LEDs.  We also looked at an air compressor that ran continuously to feed leaky underground pipes.  You could literally see air bubbles in the mud puddles.  We replaced the compressor and added new piping and now the compressor only runs for a few hours a day.

Amtrak is already seeing the benefits of the changes.

Amtrak Deputy General Manager Kurt Laird helped find funding to pay for the initial cost of the LED lights before the rebate became effective.

“We wanted to conserve energy and create a better environment for our employees,” Laird said. “We accomplished our goals, and we want to keep moving forward.”