Does your building optimize water and energy performance? The City of Seattle wants to help every building owner and operator to make sure their properties are optimized, which is why the Building Tune-up requirement was passed.

Pursuant to Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) 22.930, Building Tune-ups, the Office of Sustainability & Environment (OSE) Director’s Rule 2016-01 was published on January 25, 2017.

The Rule clarifies the requirements of the Building Tune-ups assessment and corrective actions; the processes through which building owners and other affected parties can comply with the requirement; and report the results to the City of Seattle.

What does the Building Tune-up code mean for you?

Beginning in 2018, all nonresidential buildings over 50,000 square feet must fulfill a periodic tune-up requirement, which will ensure optimized energy and water performance.

Building owners must comply with the Building Tune-up requirement once every five years, and compliance deadlines are scheduled by building space size.

Incentive Programs

City of Seattle

To help building owners and managers to comply with the Tune-up requirements, the City of Seattle offers a Building Tune-Up Accelerator incentive program for mid-size nonresidential buildings (50,000 to 100,000 SF) to jump-start a Tune-Up of the buildings.

Benefits include technical support from Smart Buildings Center, and financial incentives with rebates on capital measures like lighting, controls, and HVAC.

The City of Seattle financial incentives will sunset after 2018. Every building needs to comply with the requirement, so owners and managers should jump on these incentives while they last.

Puget Sound Energy

In addition to the incentive support from the City, Puget Sound Energy (PSE) has building tune-up incentives available through the Comprehensive Building Tune-Up program (CBTU).  These incentives are for buildings or campuses 50,000 SF and larger. An initial assessment is covered 100% by PSE, with additional incentives for implementation of low and no-cost energy improvements and performance. These incentives cover up to 100% of commissioning and improvement costs and can lead to up to 15% energy savings.

The sunset date for these incentives has not yet been published, but it would be wise to jump on them now and get ahead of the code!

Which buildings will be impacted?

According to Department of Energy (DOE) database, there are approximately 800 nonresidential buildings with more than 50,000 gross square feet (excluding parking space) in Seattle, which are impacted by the Building Tune-up requirements.

This table shows:

  • How many buildings categorized by gross square feet in Seattle will be impacted by the Tune-up requirements
  • Compliance due dates
  • Penalties assessed at 180 days and 360 days after the due date.


The timeline

March 1, 2019 is the deadline for nonresidential buildings greater than 200,000 gross square feet.

How to comply

To comply with the Building Tune-up requirement, building owners need to hire a qualified tune-up specialist to:

  • Perform the tune-up assessment in accordance with the Code requirement
  • Establish corrective actions for deficiencies identified through the assessment phase
  • Verify that all of the required corrective actions have been implemented in the building appropriately.

The qualified tune-up specialists start the tune-up assessment phase by reviewing building information and utility data through ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager Account. A high ENERGY STAR score may help the buildings meet the Code requirement as an alternative compliance pathway, i.e. buildings larger than 100,000 square feet with a certified ENERGY STAR score of 90 or above, and buildings less than 100,000 square feet with a certified ENERGY STAR score of 85 or above are exempt from the Tune-up requirement.

Alternate compliance

There are several alternate compliance pathways, which are applicable for buildings with LEED Operation and Maintenance (O+M) Gold or Platinum certification, Living Building Challenge Certification, Net Zero Energy Building Certification, or demonstrated site EUI equal to or less than 20 KBtu/sf/year for at least two of the three calendar years preceding the Tune-up compliance date.


Paladino can help

Our team has been in communication with City leaders, and our team has thoroughly investigated the Tune-up requirements. We can help building owners and managers by providing:

  • Qualified Tune-up specialists provide code compliant Building Tune-up assessment and corrective action verification for your buildings.
  • Eligible PEs and AIAs certify your buildings for ENERGY STAR label, if the score is above 75.
  • Experienced project managers to guide you through LEED, ILFI and Net Zero Energy Building certifications to achieve above and beyond code compliance.

Learn more about compliance requirements, Tune-up Specialist qualifications, and reporting deadlines.


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