Buildings & Energy

Header Image

Bellevue's Environmental Stewardship Initiative includes strategies to increase the energy efficiency of buildings in Bellevue, and to support the transition to renewable energy. 


Why Build Green?

Green buildings offer a wealth of environmental, economic, and social benefits, like enhancing and protecting biodiversity and ecosystems, reducing waste streams, reducing operating costs, improving occupant productivity, enhancing occupant comfort and health, and minimizing strain on local infrastructure.

Green Building in Bellevue

The City of Bellevue currently has over 100 certified green buildings, including many downtown high rises, schools, hotels, shops and city facilities. 

Green Building Incentives

The City of Bellevue offers fee reductions and increased flexibility for certified green buildings such as LEED, Built Green, Living Building, and Passive House.

Most incentives apply citywide, with additional incentives available in the Downtown and BelRed subareas. Find out more on this Development Services page.

Puget Sound Energy also offers incentives for energy efficient new construction in both commercial and residential buildings.

Leading by Example

The City of Bellevue is leading the way and accelerating the market for renewable energy, but participating in PSE's Green Direct program to purchase renewable energy for about 70% of the City's electricity use, for nearly all buildings and operations.  In addition, the City has installed solar arrays on the Crossroads Community Center and the Bellevue Service Center. 

Purchasing Green Power for your Home or Workplace

Puget Sound Energy has several options for Bellevue residents and businesses to sign-up for green power: PSE | Renewable energy options for your home from PSE

Rooftop Solar

Ever thought about installing solar panels on your roof? Concerned about the complexity of the permit process? Wondering where to go for help?

Check out Solar Washington for more information on incentives for installing solar in Washington State. Information about our streamlined permitting process for installing solar on your house, is available in Development Services. Bellevue Development Services staff familiar with solar installations are available to help.

As part of a federal Department of Energy grant, Bellevue and other grant partners (Seattle, Edmonds and Ellensburg) have developed a streamlined process for the permitting of small-scale solar installations for single-family residential customers, and have been recognized by the State of Washington as part of the Evergreen State Solar Partnership.

The City's Resource Conservation Manager (RCM) program is reducing energy, water use, and solid waste generation in city operations, thus cutting costs, consumption of natural resources and greenhouse gas emissions. The RCM program is funded in part through grants from Puget Sound Energy since 2009.

Energy Savings

To date, yearly savings are about $372,000 compared to the baseline year of 2009.

The current baseline for major city facilities is 11,763,648 kWh and 254,588 therms. The RCM program aims to save 588,182 kWh and 12,729 therms in both 2018 and 2019, or an energy savings of about 5%.

Energy conservation projects the city has implemented thus far include:

  • Lighting efficiency and control upgrades
  • Demand-based ventilation strategies for building automation systems
  • Building commissioning
  • Scheduling mechanical equipment to better match occupancy
  • Adjusting domestic hot water temperatures to 120 degrees
  • Installing variable frequency drives on pumps and motors
  • Reducing unnecessary plug loads
  • Replacing old boilers with highly efficient ones
  • Installing low-flow water fixtures such as showerheads and aerators
  • Fixing failed equipment and sensors
  • Educating employees about energy efficiency

In November of 2016, the City of Bellevue passed Resolution 9186 authorizing annual benchmarking and reporting of energy use in select municipal facilities over 5,000 square feet. Energy benchmarking is the process of measuring and tracking a building’s energy use over time. Bellevue is using EPA’s free online tool called Portfolio Manager to benchmark it’s buildings.

Building square footage and total annual energy use are used to calculate the Energy Use Intensity (EUI) for a given property. You can think of the EUI as a miles per gallon for your building – a lower EUI means the building is performing more efficiently, while a higher EUI may mean there are opportunities for improvement. It is also important to note that some facilities may have a high EUI as a result of being a more energy intensive property use, like a pool or a data center.

Resolution 9186 allows for this information on select municipal facilities to be available to the public.

Green Power Challenge

During 2015, Bellevue participated in the Green Power Challenge with PSE and helped sign up 543 Bellevue residents for Green Power. The City exceed its original goal of 250 net new customers, and earned $50,000 toward a solar array on the Crossroads Community Center.


Solarize Bellevue was a neighborhood solar purchasing program that offers the best value for homeowners and businesses for headache-free solar installations on their homes, businesses, or multifamily units. Solarize Bellevue ran two campaigns in 2014 and 2015, with several public workshops, which resulted in the installation of a total of 88 new solar arrays, totaling 559 kWh.

Georgetown University Energy Prize

In 2015 and 2016, Bellevue competed in the Georgetown University Energy Prize — a national competition that challenged small and medium-sized communities to develop and implement creative, sustainable and replicable strategies to save energy. Bellevue came in 10th place in the competition through its work in reducing energy use, engaging residents, and forming partnerships. To learn more about our successes in the competition, look at our Accomplishments Summary.


Stay Informed

Sign up for our newsletter to get the latest updates on the Environmental Stewardship Initiative.