AbstractThe lateral strength and stiffness requirements due to wind loads usually govern the design of tall buildings. The current building codes in the US, Canada, and Europe recognize the first significant yield point as an ultimate limit state. Consequently, the current design practices ignore the plastic capacity of structural systems in the nonlinear range, which could result in overdesigned buildings. Thus, the classical linear-elastic design arguments shall be reexamined with consideration of performance-based wind design (PBWD) approaches, innovative technologies, and materials. We are presenting two companion papers to demonstrate the benefits of considering the nonlinear capacity of structural systems in the design of wind-excited buildings. In this paper, Part I, we have postulated and then proved the capability of self-centering systems in controlling the possible damage accumulation in structural systems subjected to along-wind loads. Our arguments are based on an extensive parametric study through nonlinear time history analyses considering peak and residual ductility-demands, normalized hysteretic energy dissipation, and the rate of damage accumulation as performance indicators. Overall, the results of the parametric study revealed that self-centering systems could benefit the most from the ductility-based design due to their inherent recentering capability, higher energy dissipation, and lower sensitivity to wind duration. Consistent with the notion of PBWD, for self-centering systems, the companion Part II paper demonstrates the benefits of the ductility-based wind design in terms of economics and safety through structural reliability analysis.