Pursuing High-Rise Multifamily Energy Efficiency in Seattle

Pursuing High-Rise Multifamily Energy Efficiency in Seattle


In 2018, over ten thousand residential units were built or approved to be built in high-rise buildings throughout Downtown Seattle, South Lake Union and First Hill. There is no question that high-rise multifamily (HRMF) buildings account for a significant percentage of new dwelling units in Seattle. Of particular interest to developers, architects, engineers and city officials is how the continued evolution of the Seattle Energy Code (SEC), updated every three years, will impact the near future design and construction of this building type.

This study sheds light on the future of Seattle high-rise multifamily energy efficiency, and narrows and prioritizes the best practices and strategies to get “ahead of the curve” to achieve the next level of building performance.

The purpose of this study is to address:

  • The evolution of the Seattle Energy Code (SEC)
  • Energy strategies for future code cycle compliance
  • Energy strategies for a carbon neutral Seattle
  • Energy efficiency beyond 2030

The goals of this study are to:

  • Establish a constant metric
  • Plan for the future
  • Unveil the real building impacts of energy measures
  • Highlight the tipping point (for less typical measures)

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meet the authors

Alexandra Ramsden



Alexandra is a Principal at Rushing and leads Rushing’s Sustainability and Commissioning Studios in providing commissioning, energy analyses, consulting for sustainability strategy development, LEED and Built Green management, charrette facilitation, training, curriculum development, and cost-benefit analyses for strategy selection.

Nathan Miller



Nathan leads Rushing’s Energy Studio and is an experienced energy analyst who specializes in quantifying cost and energy saving strategies and establishing energy benchmarks to meet project sustainability goals.

Myer Harrell

Weber Thompson


Myer is a Principal and Director of Sustainability at Weber Thompson. He believes in the power of design to promote a sustainable future and directs the WT Sustainabiliteam (WTST) to that end. Myer is a leader in WT’s Commercial Office group, which has two projects pursuing Living Building Certification.

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