Seattle in the Top Tier Cities for Walkable Urbanism

A study released in June by Smart Growth America ranks Seattle “top tier” in its review of the country’s top 30 walkable metropolitan areas. Foot Traffic Ahead measures cities’ “walkable urban places” (WalkUPs) and their role in driving the local economy. For example, the top ranking metros have an average of 38% higher GDP per capita as compared to the low ranking metros. Within these metro areas, WalkUPs occupy a relatively small portion of land, possibly as low as 1%. Yet they account for almost half of the office, hotel and rental apartment square footage – important economic drivers.

The report also mentions a unique subset of WalkUP, the “Innovation District,” centered around a specific function, such as a manufacturing area, creative hub or cluster of businesses devoted to research or technology. Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood is considered an Innovation District.

For more information about Seattle’s work on making us the most walkable city in the nation, visit the Pedestrian Master Plan website.

Seattle in Top 15 Cities for ENERGY STAR Buildings

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its 2014 rankings today for the top cities with ENERGY STAR-rated buildings. Seattle moved up the list from #17 in 2013 to #14 with a total of 127 buildings saving an estimated $23.6 million in energy costs (check out the map of the buildings with ENERGY STAR Rating in (and around) Seattle). The ranking confirms Seattle’s commitment to providing building owners and managers with the technical guidance, best practices, and training they need to make their buildings more energy efficient, save money, and reduce carbon emissions.

Map of the buildings with Energy Star Rating in (and around) Seattle.

With Seattle’s commercial and multi-family buildings conducting annual energy benchmarking and identifying energy-saving strategies, we expect more buildings to pursue ENERGY STAR certification.

More than 23,000 buildings across America earned EPA’s ENERGY STAR certification by the end of last year. These buildings saved more than $3.1 billion on utility bills and prevented greenhouse gas emissions equal to the annual electricity use from 2.2 million homes.