Seattle Tune-Up: Mandatory Program for Seattle buildings

Seattle’s Building Tune-Ups Ordinance passed in March 2016 as an active step in achieving the carbon-neutrality initiative of Seattle’s Climate Action Plan.  The green policy initiative intends to make large commercial buildings more energy efficient & environmentally sustainable.  The tune-up requirement aims to find optimization opportunities to reduce energy use by 10-15% and payback in utility bill savings in under 3 years.

When will this happen and what size buildings will be affected?

Commercial buildings, and mixed-use buildings with non-residential over 50,000 SF, will be affected by this new policy.  Buildings larger than 200,000 SF will need to be in compliance beginning by March 2019.



How will building owners know if their building will be part of the mandatory program?

The Tune-Up program will affect approximately 800 buildings in the Seattle area. If your commercial building is larger than 50,000 SF, you could be required to undergo a tune-up per the policy requirements. However, this is not a one-size-fits-all program, and there are several built-in exceptions.  The city is willing to work with owners who need extensions – such as the demolition of the building or the pending sale.

Because there are several compliance pathways and special exceptions, it is in the owner’s best interest contact your systems specialist to learn how the policy directly affects your building(s).

What happens if owners choose not to comply?

If the program includes your building, but you choose to pass on the assessment & tune-up (or you miss your deadline), there is a fine system in place ranging from $2,000-$25,000.  The cost of compliance puts it in the business owner’s best interest to take action, as the cost of improvements recommended from your tune-up assessment can be simple adjustments, adding value to your building and costing less than the fine.

Are there any benefits to getting started before the 2018 deadline?

Yes! For buildings 50,000-100,000 SF, there is an accelerator program that will assist with technical support and financial incentives. Building owners who qualify for their program are encouraged to act now, as this incentives program is only good through the end of this year.

Need more info?

Contact your account manager at MacDonald-Miller or schedule a consultation here.  We have everything you will need in order to find your lowest cost of compliance and best options for going forward with the program and we look forward to helping our customers through the process!

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