Mayor Nickels at press conferencePhoto: Office of the MayorSometimes, fighting climate change is a numbers game. Numbers like 20 — the percentage of Seattle’s carbon footprint caused by energy use in homes and buildings. Also 600 — the cost (in $) of a home energy audit to find out just how drafty those old windows are. But thanks to two more numbers (big ones, both preceded by dollar signs), some 5,000 homeowners will be looking at a new number: 95 — as in a much-discounted rate for said energy audit.

It’s part of Mayor Greg Nickels’ (D) Green Building Capital Initiative, an effort to increase the efficiency of Seattle buildings by helping residents and business owners help themselves. To do this, Nickels is combining some $1.2 million of the city’s federal stimulus money with some $1.5 million from local utility Seattle City Light. The funds will go toward the $95 home energy audits (5,000 of them are available) as well as a loan program that would help make the efficiency improvements affordable once the audits are completed.

The initiative also includes more stringent efficiency requirements for new buildings and requires current buildings to measure and report energy usage depending on size and occupancy (more numbers!).

What’s the bottom-line goal of the initiative? Another number, of course: 20 percent improvement in the efficiency of existing buildings by 2020.

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