0 × 50—Preparing Seattle’s Building Stock for a Carbon-neutral 2050

  • Duane Jonlin
Keywords: Preparing Seattle’s Building Stock, Carbon-neutral 2050


Seattle’s elected officials have set a target for transforming the city’s “core energy”—including all of the energy serving its buildings and transportation, to be carbon-neutral by the year 2050. What does the city need to do with its building stock beginning today to ensure that it can hit that target in a single generation? The question was studied in part in the 2010 Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) study Getting to Zero—A Pathway to a Carbon-Neutral Seattle (SEI 2010), as well as the 2013 Seattle Climate Action Plan (CAP 2013), both of which set targets and made general recommendations but necessarily stopped short of pinning down a detailed step-by-step solution. This paper proposes a set of potential strategies, centered on the concept of “zero-carbon-ready” communities. This set of strategies forms one of several possible pathways to carbonneutrality that will be debated over the months and years to come. While a number of the components of this strategy are already incorporated into the Seattle Energy Code and other legislation, further actions are still required. These actions must be structured to maintain Seattle’s vibrant economy and culture while dramatically improving the energy efficiency of Seattle’s buildings.


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Author Biography

Duane Jonlin

Duane Jonlin, AIA, serves as the energy code and energy conservation advisor for Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development, and is the primary author of the 2012 Seattle Energy Code. He has been appointed by two governors to the Washington State Building Code Council and chairs its Energy Code Technical Advisory Group. Prior to joining the city, he was a principal at NBBJ, where he led regulatory compliance and quality management initiatives. Duane is a professional member of AIA and ASHRAE, with 30 years’ experience designing civic and institutional work, and has architectural degrees from the University of Washington and University of Michigan. He is active in national code development through ICC, and lectures extensively on energy efficiency and construction technology in the Pacific Northwest. duane.jonlin@seattle.gov