Seattle Adopts 20% Energy Use Reduction Plan

seattleThe City of Seattle has adopted a Resource Conservation Management Plan that outlines how the City will reduce energy use in City-owned buildings 20 percent by 2020, when compared to a 2008 baseline.

Such a reduction would result in utility cost savings of roughly $2.75 million per year after reaching the reduction goal, Seattle says.

The plan outlines a three-part strategy that aims to ensure the City meets its 2020 energy reduction goal: annual measurement and tracking; operations and maintenance improvements; and capital investments in energy efficiency. The City’s 2014 budget includes funding to begin implementation of the the plan.

The plan was adopted by city council resolution 31491 on December 16. While resource conservation is not new to the City — efforts by capital departments have resulted in energy use reductions of approximately 1 percent per year since 2008 — this is the first time Seattle has established a comprehensive coordinated strategy across its entire portfolio. Currently Seattle owns 650 buildings totaling approximately 10 million square feet.

Energy conservation measures enacted at facilities operated by the City of Seattle have saved the municipality and taxpayers $1.25 million since 2008, according to an official report released in May.

While the report represented the first time city building energy use has been made public, Seattle says it  has a history of monitoring and improving the energy efficiency of its facilities, including recent energy efficiency upgrades at 17 city-run sites, according to Seattle Municipal Buildings: 2011-2012 Energy Performance Report.

One upgrade — a chiller at Seattle Center’s central plant that cools more than one million square feet of space — is projected to cut electricity use by 13 percent, the report said.

The City currently enforces mandatory energy benchmarking where building owners must track usage through the US EPA’s Portfolio Manager.

Photo credit: Seattle in the evening with Space Needle via Shutterstock

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