Did you know that our local building contribute to 1/3 of our local emissions?
And that building are one of the largest and fastest growing sources of climate pollution?
Please urge your City Council members to support the new Energy Code.
Below is a sample letter from climate partners and SSCAN.
January 13, 2021
Dear Members of the Seattle City Council,
We urge you to pass the Seattle Energy Code update to increase energy efficiency and reduce climate pollution from commercial and large multifamily buildings.
Seattle is facing numerous and compounding crises: the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic crisis, the homelessness and affordable housing crisis, and the societal reckoning of current and historic racial injustice. Through all this, we are also in a climate crisis. The recent wildfires which resulted in hazardous air quality in Seattle underscores the catastrophic impacts that climate change is having on our daily life. We can expect more climate disasters that will harm our health, our economy, and our communities, particularly Indigenous, Black, and Brown people who are on the frontlines of the climate crisis. To protect the health and build resilience of our communities, we need to take significant action on climate pollution today.
In Seattle, buildings contribute about one-third of the city’s emissions, and are one of the largest and fastest growing sources of climate pollution. The City’s Climate Action Plan, the Green New Deal Resolution, and Mayor Durkan’s January 2020 executive order on city-owned buildings are all commitments to address emissions from buildings through increased energy efficiency and moving away from fossil fuels–and we aren’t making much progress right now. The update to the Seattle Energy code change is a tangible step forward to meet those commitments–one that can also power progress in City workforce development programs and future-proof new affordable housing.
There are proven technologies we can use today to construct efficient and fossil fuel-free buildings that are healthier for our people and our planet. We urge you to:
- Pass updates to the Seattle Commercial Energy Code. These updates help us use our energy most efficiently through envelope improvements; require more rooftop space be dedicated to on-site solar arrays; and move away from many uses of fossil fuels in buildings. We additionally ask that you (1) remove the unnecessary delay for buildings to use efficient electricity for space heating and (2) require all buildings covered under the code to use efficient electricity for water heating, rather than just hotels and multifamily buildings. These are simple but powerful changes that Council can make to ensure our buildings are as efficient, healthy, and climate resilient as possible.
- Coordinate this policy with existing and new city workforce development programs focusing on increasing equitable access and opportunity. We are committed to building a diverse and sustainable clean energy workforce, so targeting these programs to new building technologies is necessary, and will offer clear career paths for Black, Brown, and Indigenous participants.
- Align city incentives and technical support for this code toward affordable housing. We need significantly more affordable housing, and these buildings should be a sound investment that align with our climate imperatives. However, most public and private funding of new affordable housing is focused on first costs, rather than long-term benefits. We need to create as much housing as possible, while also ensuring that these buildings are resilient over time. The recent JumpStart legislation acknowledges this need, but we should act now to support climate-ready and affordable housing.
And, of course, there is more to do to address climate pollution from buildings: We need to completely move away from fossil fuels in all new homes and buildings. We need to retrofit existing buildings to operate more efficiently and to phase out fossil fuels. And we need to work in coordination with policies and funding for equitable development and building a sustainable and diverse workforce.
Passing the Seattle Energy Code is the first of many needed steps. Seattle strongly supports climate action and understands that the City needs to act urgently. We look forward to collaborating with you to move the City of Seattle to a just and carbon-free future.
American Institute of Architects (AIA) Seattle
Emerald Cities Seattle
Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2)
The Miller Hull Partnership
Natural Resources Defense Council
NW EcoBuilding Guild
NW Energy Coalition
Optimum Building Consultants, LLC
Passive House Institute US
Passive House Northwest
People for Climate Action
Robert K. Harmon & Company LLC
Rocky Mountain Institute
Seattle 2030 District
Sierra Club Seattle
Washington Environmental Council
Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility
36th District Democrats Environmental Caucus
37th District Democrats Environmental Caucus
43rd District Democrats Environmental Caucus