Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Seattle Energy Code Update - September 2010

The following is excerpted from an email sent out on September 07, 2010 by John Hogan with the Seattle Department of Planning & Development:

In late August, the Mayor forwarded the 2009 Seattle Energy Code ordinance package to the Seattle City Council:
- The summary included in the package is viewable at: DPD_2009_Seattle_Energy_Code_SUMMARY_.pdf.
- Seattle City Council review is likely to take place in late September. I will send out another e-mail when a specific date has been decided. (It is expected that the ordinance will be referred to the Committee on the Built Environment, as this is the committee that considered the ordinances for the other construction codes.

In terms of the text for the 2009 Seattle Energy Code, we had a detailed review from the Law Department. DPD did make a number of revisions based on the Law Department’s recommendations. I would generally characterize them as minor, most were wording changes to clarify the intent. However, I did want to highlight one change (but maybe only a process and timing change, as opposed to a substantive change):
- During the 6-month public review, we proposed and received public support to add a new Chapter 16 calling for a minimum amount of on-site renewable energy production, provided that we included two alternates (an option to use higher heating and cooling equipment efficiency, or another option to purchase renewable energy certificates in lieu of installing the renewable energy system on site). The Law Department raised some concerns about the way the alternates would work. To enable us to move forward, the Law Department assisted us in crafting language that says that DPD will develop a Director’s Rule containing alternate compliance options. The ordinance language says that the renewable energy provisions will not take effect until the Director’s Rule is published with these alternate compliance options. My hope would be that we could take the alternate compliance options developed during public review and then fold these into a Director’s Rule soon after the ordinance is adopted.

As a heads-up regarding implementation of the 2009 Seattle Energy Code:
- For nonresidential spaces, the intent is to have a grace period for the 2009 Seattle Energy Code that would end so as to coincide with the end of the grace period for other Seattle code updates. The last date on which DPD will be accepting applications using the 2006 codes will be 22 November 2010.
- For residential spaces, the 2009 Washington State Energy Code (WSEC) requirements would take effect on the date specified by the Washington State Building Code Council (WSBCC). Since the 2009 WSEC requirements for residential spaces were finalized on 20 November 2009 (approaching ten months ago at this point), there would not be any additional grace period.

John Hogan

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