January 12, 2015

Seattle Green Building Incentives Aim To Encourage Sustainable Development Projects

By Sarah Washburn

Keeping pace with the regional trend toward sustainable building, the City of Seattle provides green building permit incentives for sustainable development projects.  The City’s “Priority Green Expedited” program shortens the time it takes to get a new construction permit by providing priority in scheduling intake appointments, faster initial review of building plans, and faster permit processing, among other benefits.  To be eligible, a project must meet certain prerequisites for energy and water conservation, waste reduction, stormwater management, and air quality.  Projects must also achieve certification under Built Green (4 Star, 5 Star, or Emerald Star), Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold or platinum, or Alternative Path or Passive House.  Larger residential or commercial developments must use a LEED consultant to perform energy modeling and help develop green building strategies.  Once the project is complete, the consultant will verify that the building is LEED certified.

Priority Green requires no additional permit fee and shortens the initial construction permit review process by 4 to 6 weeks, depending on the size and type of project.  These benefits are in addition to other state and federal sources that provide financial assistance and incentives for sustainable development projects being built in Seattle.  And Priority Green is not the only City green building program – other City programs create green building incentives for nontraditional/innovative projects, living buildings, and deconstruction projects.  This array of options makes green building more realistic for owners and developers.