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Energy Code

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What Is It?

Our Seattle Energy Code regulates the energy-use features of new and remodeled buildings, including:

  • Building Envelope: controls heat loss and air leakage through the roof, walls, windows, etc.
  • Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning (HVAC): equipment efficiency, and controls
  • Water Heating: equipment efficiency, and controls
  • Lighting: fixture type, quantity, and controls
  • Metering, plug load controls, transformers, motors, and renewable energy

Read the Code

Note on Seattle Energy Code books: The Energy Code books will be available later this year. ICC is publishing both the State and Seattle codes. We’ll post updates here when we get more information. In the meantime, please use the working copy posted here.

Residential versus commercial. The Seattle Energy Code chapters that apply to your project depend on whether your project is a "residential building" or a "commercial building" as defined in the energy code. See below for a breakout of the chapters by each version of the code.

2012 Code

(Use this version for permit applications dated December 27, 2013 or later.)

  • Use the “residential buildings” provisions for single-family homes, duplexes, and townhouses
  • Use the “residential buildings” provisions for 1-, 2-, and 3-story multifamily buildings
  • Use the “commercial buildings” provisions for 4-story and higher multifamily buildings
  • Use the “commercial buildings” provisions for non-residential buildings

2009 Code

(Use this version for permit applications dated before December 27, 2013.)

  • Chapters 1-10: Single-family homes, duplexes, and townhouses
  • Chapters 11-15: Multifamily buildings, without Seattle amendments
  • Chapters 11-16: Non-residential buildings, with Seattle amendments
  • Chapters 2 (definitions), 7 (design temps) and 10 (U-values) apply to all projects

Remodeling Projects

2012 Code

  • Use “residential building” code sections R101.4.1 through R101.4.5 for single-family homes, duplexes, and townhouses, and for 1-, 2- and 3-story multifamily buildings
  • Use “commercial building” code sections C101.4.1 through C101.4.5 for non-residential and for 4-story and higher multifamily buildings

2009 Code

  • Use section 101.3.2 for single-family homes, duplexes, and townhouses
  • Use section 1130 for multifamily buildings, without Seattle amendments
  • Use Section 1130 for non-residential buildings, with Seattle amendments

Proposed Changes

City Council approved our proposed 2014 Seattle Energy Code on Monday, October 20. Our proposed changes will likely take effect in late November.

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