Current emissions: 3.7M tCO2e (2012)
Per capita emissions: 5.9 tCO2e/person (2012)
Reduction Target: 87% below 2008 levels by 2050
The City of Seattle is pursuing a goal of carbon neutrality by 2050 and adopted the Seattle Climate Action Plan in 2013 as the first step toward achieving that goal. A number of programs and policies have been implemented by the City to promote the development of green buildings and building energy efficiency. The Green Permitting Incentive Program offers expedited and facilitated permits from the City for projects meeting advanced green building standards. Through the Green Factor Ordinance, all new commercial development projects are required to employ various strategies to increase horizontal and vertical green space where strategies are weighted based on their benefit to the environment, the urban experience, and the public good. The City has also set high standards for itself, requiring all new construction, major renovations and tenant improvements of City owned buildings to meet the LEED Gold standard.
Seattle has some of the most advanced commercial and residential energy codes in the U.S., setting a baseline for energy efficiency in new construction and substantial alterations. For existing buildings however, major advancements in energy efficiency have also taken place. The Energy Benchmarking and Reporting Program requires owners of non-residential and multifamily buildings to track energy performance and annually report it to the City of Seattle. Although mandatory and initially met with resistance, this requirement has helped educate and inform businesses and consumers on their energy consumption, enabled more informed energy decision making, lowered energy costs to owners and tenants, and ultimately reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
Seattle is also partaking in the Seattle 2030 District project – an interdisciplinary public-private collaborative working to create a high-performance building district in downtown Seattle. The 2030 District uses the Architecture 2030 Challenge for Planning performance goals for energy, water, and transportation CO2 reductions.