COP26 Executive Order

Mayor Durkin issued this Executive Order at the COP26 Global Conference on Climate. It announces a number of policy changes related to buildings:

  • Direct the Office of Sustainability & Environment to create legislation for Carbon-based Building Performance Standards for existing commercial and multifamily buildings 20,000 sq ft or larger in 2022. This standard is estimated to reduce building greenhouse gas emissions 27% by 2050.

  • Prohibit fossil fuels in City-owned buildings by 2035 to continue Seattle leading by example.

  • Provide options to lower upfront and operating costs for affordable housing to address the climate crisis and improve resilience as we build, operate, and maintain affordable housing.

In the same order, there are a number of other provisions:

  • Expanding free transit for SPS Middle and High School students with additional ORCA cards for middle school students. Announced in 2018, Seattle’s ORCA Opportunity is now available to up to 8,000 additional middle school students, 15,000 high school students, and more than 1,000 Seattle Promise students.

  • Expanding Seattle’s Stay Healthy Streets to establish City’s first urban pedestrian zone. Potential sites for the urban pedestrian zones will be identified by December 31, 2021 for implementation in Summer of 2022.

  • Taking legislative and permitting action to incentivize electrification and make it easier for residents, businesses, and governments to transition away from fossil fuels and go electric.

  • Launching $1 million pilot to convert heavy-duty diesel trucks operating in the Duwamish Valley to electric to reduce carbon pollution and diesel emissions.

Status of these items as far as can be ascertained from public-facing information from the City, as of 5/11/22:

  • Building Performance Standards rules have been developed and are moving through the approval process, including opportunity for public engagement. OSE has released charts showing how much GHG reduction they think this will result in.

  • The schedule for electrifying public buildings in Seattle has, so far as we know, never been made public. We have no way to ascertain the progress, or to know if it is on schedule. The costs associated with this have also not been disclosed as far as we can tell.

  • Affordable housing is no longer subject to the Design Review process, which should enable faster and less expensive construction.

  • Seattle middle schoolers were issued Orca passes. This has since been superceded by the State which has since passed a measure allowing all youth to ride free on any public transit that receives State funding.

  • Expanding Seattle's Stay Healthy Streets. A few streets were added to the list, and SDOT announced that these would be made permanent, but so far there is no indication that very many streets are affected.

  • Seattle is continuing to implement the Transportation Electrification Blueprint.

  • Seattle funded a one year pilot project in the Duwamish for heavy duty diesel trucks using Federal funds.