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SEATTLE-After 22 public meetings, city officials are poised this week to discuss proposed changes to the city’s energy code, which should result in an overall 10 percent improvement in efficiency for non-residential buildings.

According to city staffers, proposed alterations for the building envelope include: glazing to have low-e coatings and solar control coatings, better insulation for walls, increased insulation for semi-heated spaces; easy pre-calculated/prescriptive credits for glass solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) in lieu of shading coefficient (SC), overhangs/setbacks, north windows, slab edge and tapered roof insulation; more default tables for mass walls and overhead glazing.

For the mechanical systems, major changes include: increasing minimum equipment efficiencies and motor efficiencies, more use of outside air for cooling in lieu of mechanical refrigeration, better motors (electronically-commutated) for fans in ceiling mixing boxes, limits on damper leakage, better duct sealing, clarification of the commissioning requirements, better controls for parking garage ventilation, and requirements to complement water conservation programs.

For lighting, key code amendments call for: more efficient lighting (1.0 W/sf for open offices), automatic controls for all buildings, offices less than 300 square feet to have occupancy sensors, daylight zones to have dimming controls, prescriptive lighting option to have continuous dimming controls.

The public hearings are scheduled from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 15 and from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 16 and from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 13. Phone testimony will be taken by calling 206-684-8821.

All three meetings will be held in council chambers located on the 11th floor of the Municipal Building, 600 4th Avenue. If OK’d by the city council, these changes would take affect by the end of the year. Further study has been proposed by the city’s Department of Light, Construction and Land Use for heating and cooling efficiency.

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