Great news for life science and laboratory facilities in Seattle!

Bonnie Frye Hemphill

Director, Policy & Partnerships

11 November 2022

Originally featured in the Life Science Washington membership newsletter.

Partnership means great news for life science and laboratory facilities in Seattle

Life Science Washington partner UMC, Inc has worked with the City of Seattle to advise upcoming Seattle Building Emissions Performance Standards with the goals of life science buildings and labs. This new policy will set targets for facilities to reduce carbon emissions and work toward the goal of net zero buildings by 2050. With the policy nearing its final draft, this teamwork of UMC and the City of Seattle promotes new carbon emissions policy that supports healthy labs.  

"We're excited about the future for sustainable life science in Seattle. Our partnership with the City shows that carbon emissions policy can align with the goals and realities of lab and research facilities. This is going to benefit the entire community of labs and life sciences for decades. The City of Seattle is leading the way for healthy buildings, a healthy climate, and now healthy labs as well." - Chris Olmsted, Life Science Market Lead, UMC, Inc.  

Here are some highlights of the updated Seattle Building Emissions Performance Standards:

  • Life Science facilities will start with practical first-step targets
  • Large energy loads from laboratory process equipment will be excluded from total emissions in the first two compliance intervals (2026-2030, 2031-2035).
  • Emergency backup power generation will not negatively impact carbon emissions scoring in the first two compliance intervals.
  • In the first compliance interval (2026-2030), the policy offers all nonresidential buildings an option to reduce emissions by just 10% instead of meeting the full first target. This may be helpful for building managers just beginning their path to cutting carbon.
  • Facilities free of natural gas and other fossil fuels– like buildings that run on 100% electric energy – will be exempt.
  • Extensions will be available for buildings that require significant improvements to electrical infrastructure.

Policy updates and information are available from the Seattle Office of Sustainability and Environment.

UMC thanks the City of Seattle for leading the way for healthy buildings, a healthy climate, and now healthy labs as well.

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