News Brief

Seattle's Energy Hogs Built in 1960s to 1980s

Energy reporting in the Emerald City reveals 41% of large buildings are Energy Stars, while the most wasteful buildings could save millions on energy bills.

Low, Average, and High EUI by Building Type

By compiling and publishing benchmarking data, the City of Seattle hopes to spur building owners to make changes that could save them millions.

Source: City of Seattle
Owners of the worst-performing buildings in Seattle could save $55 million a year by reducing their energy use 25%, according to a report released by the City. Seattle is one of a handful of municipalities in the U.S. that mandate annual building benchmarking and disclosure (see “Energy Reporting: It’s the Law”).

Among those cities, Seattle claims the highest compliance rate: 93% of building owners required to disclose actually did so in 2012, making data available from 2,600 commercial and multifamily buildings 20,000 ft2 and larger. The report found that just 18% of those buildings had Energy Star certification, even though 41% would qualify for certification due to benchmarking scores of 75 or higher (meaning they perform better than 75% of U.S. buildings of the same type). In fact, Seattle buildings overall had a mean Energy Star score of 68.

Grocery stores, hospitals, and courthouses showed the highest median energy use intensity (EUI)—with supermarkets topping 215 kBtu/ft2—while the median EUI for multifamily housing (at 31.9) was almost as low as that of warehouses (30.4).

Office buildings were in between, with a median EUI of 59.7, though results varied by age. “Office building energy performance was worst for mid-century buildings built between the 1960s and 1980s,” the report states, “but better for those constructed earlier and for those built since 2000.”

For more information:

Seattle Building Energy Benchmarking Report

Published March 3, 2014

Melton, P. (2014, March 3). Seattle's Energy Hogs Built in 1960s to 1980s. Retrieved from

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