Applaud Energy Efficiency in City Government Buildings

Target: Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn

Goal: Applaud Seattle’s leadership in municipal energy efficiency

Promoting sustainable urban development is a preeminent policy goal of many major cities across the United States. Leaders in sustainability like San Francisco, Seattle, and New York City offer a stocktaking of “best practices” for other communities seeking to emulate their successes. Seattle recently provided a new, innovative, and informative tool for other cities through the release of a report on the energy use of municipal buildings.

The “Seattle Municipal Buildings 2011-2012 Energy Use Performance Report,” recently profiled by Sustainable Cities Collective’s Glenn Meyers, “describes City efforts to evaluate the energy efficiency of 6.2 million square feet of City-owned… building space.” This is a promising effort that demonstrates Seattle’s commitment to reducing waste and adverse environmental impacts, mirroring existing requirements for many of the city’s privately owned buildings. The Report ultimately finds that many of the city’s municipal buildings lead the nation in energy efficiency. The 62-story Seattle Municipal Tower, for example, “has an EPA ENERGY STAR score of 93 out of 100… meaning is it more efficient than 92 percent of similar buildings nationwide.”

Seattle’s efforts to promote energy efficiency through urban design and architecture not only protect the environment – such efforts also conserve financial resources. Seattle’s comprehensive “energy conservation efforts have saved the City and taxpayers $1.25 million since 2008,” with even bolder goals set for the next decade. Applaud Seattle’s leadership in municipal energy efficiency and encourage other major cities to engage the public through transparent reporting.


Dear Mayor McGinn,

Improving the environmental sustainability of America’s cities is one of the greatest policy challenges facing municipal governments today. Reducing waste, conserving energy, and promoting general awareness of sustainability challenges are complex goals requiring innovative, ambitious efforts by city leaders.

Seattle’s “Municipal Buildings 2011-2012 Energy Use Performance Report,” undoubtedly, provides one of the best examples of responsible leadership by example. Seattle’s promotion of sustainable municipal buildings sets a gold standard for other urban leaders around the nation, demonstrating the importance of transparency as well as the financial savings that arise from your policies. We, the undersigned, applaud your leadership and ask you to encourage leaders of other cities to follow your outstanding example.


[Your Name Here]

Image Credit: papalars, via Flickr

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