Resources

A list of resources available under each topic area.

Climate & Air

Getting to Zero: A Pathway to Carbon Neutral Seattle identifies a suite of ambitious strategies that demonstrate one potential pathway to carbon neutrality.
Seattle was one of the first cities in the nation to develop a climate action plan.
The Office of Sustainability & Environment released a review of existing economics studies exploring the likely business impacts of creating climate friendly communities.
Road transportation accounts for 40% of Seattle's greenhouse gas emissions. Seattle's transportation plans identify improvements that also reduce emissions.
Making walking, biking, and riding transit the go-to travel choices in Seattle.
Using our streets to provide safe, affordable travel choices and that encourage people to get out and enjoy their neighborhood on foot or by bike. In doing so, we reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve the health of or residents and make it comfortable for people of all abilities to move around.
Use an Excel-based tool to calculate the carbon footprint of your business. Make a plan to reduce carbon and save resources.
Charting a path to carbon neutrality by 2050

Building & Energy

Green building is a building design, construction, and operation approach that provides a host of benefits to people and the planet.
The year-long Green Building Task Force produced a report and policy recommendations that helped shape the identification and prioritization of Seattle’s current green building initiatives. Visit the archived site for background.
A strong energy code is one of Seattle’s key tools for achieving significant reductions in energy use in the building sector and reaching the city’s ambitious goal of carbon neutrality.
These residential case studies demonstrate how smart technologies, eco-friendly materials, energy-efficiency and other green features combine to make a great living environment.
Green building design practices and management principles can reduce building operating expenses, increase worker productivity and asset value.
Spotlight on Green City of Seattle Facilities
Remodeling? Building New? Help Is Here
The Department of Planning and Development maintains a set of information sheets to assist applicants in understanding and complying with code. A subset of these tip sheets address green building issues, from natural ventilation to advanced framing. Search the full list for the term ‘Green Building.’
This tool, based on the REGREEN guide from US Green Building Council and the American Society of Interior Designers, provides a list of strategies tailored to the scope of a homeowner or building professional's residential remodeling project.
Take a tour of the King County GreenTools program's virtual home to discover common green building improvements room-by-room.
Portfolio Manager is the online building energy tracking tool referenced by Seattle's Energy Benchmarking ordinance. It is a convenient interface for tracking building energy use and comparing building use to national averages for the building type.
This exhaustive online design guide covers all aspects of high performance building design and construction.
Tool to evaluate long-term cost-effectiveness of design strategies.
A residential-focused resource for building design and construction professionals, GBA includes a green-products database, design tools, articles and green building forum.
Factsheets and rebate information for businesses, including case studies, overviews for different types of businesses (restaurants, grocers, data center/IT), and general lighting/lighting control tips.
Seattle City Light’s 2012 Conservation Potential Assessment analyzes Seattle’s current electricity use patterns and identifies energy savings potentials for the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors.
To evaluate performance of green roofs in local climate conditions, SPU and OSE managed a multi-year monitoring effort. This project collected data from green roofs on five buildings, including continuous monitoring of a variety of characteristics. The findings from this study improve our understanding of how green roofs work in Seattle.
Report evaluates the impacts of innovative LEED certified green buildings on the City's infrastructure and resources over time and calculates the anticipated savings in transportation, water, energy, carbon and the actual savings in construction & demolition waste.
April 2012. Report identifies the most commonly implemented sustainable design strategies and evaluates the impacts of innovative Built Green certified single-family and townhome projects on the City's infrastructure and resources over time.
August 2010 by Annika McIntosh, University of Washington Green Futures Lab for SPU. This report provides a snapshot of industry trends, project locations, and the total square footage of green roofs in Seattle.
December 2009 by Ecotope Inc. with GGLO for DPD. Energy and water bills from ten new mid-rise multifamily buildings in Seattle were analyzed to better understand how energy is used in this building type, and to determine where to focus efforts aimed at conservation.
July 2011 by: Davis Langdon. Report examines the cost of incorporating sustainable design features into market rate housing through an examination of a population of projects in Seattle. The report compares the cost of green-rated market rate housing project and to similar standard projects.
July 2009 by: Davis Langdon. Report examines the cost of incorporating sustainable design features into affordable housing projects. Includes analysis of overall construction costs for green-rated and standard affordable housing projects, and a summary of key findings.
February 2011 prepared by: Cascadia Green Building Council for the City of Seattle to identify regulatory pathways for Seattle-area projects pursing net zero water strategies. This report describes obstacles present within current codes, identifies possible alternative pathways for projects seeking approvals, and provides guidance to design teams pursing the goals of the Living Building Challenge.
February 2010. by: HDR Engineering, Inc. for U.S. Department of Energy; National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the City of Seattle
July 2014 by Mike D. Kennedy, Inc. An analysis comparing the code stringency of the 2012 Seattle Energy Code to ASHRAE 90.1-2010, the standard used by the US Green Building Council’s LEED rating system, finds that buildings in Seattle are expected to be, in aggregate, 11.3% more efficient than similar buildings constructed to the ASHRAE standard.
In 2013, Seattle completed the Energy Benchmarking and Reporting program ramp-up phase by collecting whole-building annual energy use for commercial and multifamily buildings 20,000 square feet or larger. This first report summarizes program outcomes, building characteristics, trends, and recommendations.
Second annual report on progress towards the citywide Resource Conservation Management Plan to achieve 20% energy savings in City buildings by 2020.
Green building and energy efficiency certifications provide assurance that a builder has instituted measures to increase the performance of a building. Consider certifying your new building under one of the green building rating systems available.
The US Green Building Council offers a series of green building credentials related to their LEED products, ranging from the most general Green Associate designation, through Accredited Professional designation with specialty in one of the LEED Rating Systems.
Originating in the AIA Seattle office, this in-depth energy efficient building design series is now offered in more than twenty AIA chapters across the country. The ten, four-hour sessions cover the gamut of topics needed to design and build next-generation energy efficient buildings that support the 2030 Challenge for dramatic reductions in buildings' energy use intensity.
Nine-month intensive course, with optional certification exam, that comprehensively addresses the foundational concepts that underpin green building.
This designation from the Passive House Institute US provides deep understanding of Passive House standard and certification process. Training and certification for builders and Passive House raters is also available.
A program of the US Green Building Council and the American Society of Interior Designers, REGREEN certified professionals receive training via online modules in green and healthy remodeling design and construction practices.
Published by BuildingGreen.com, this monthly publication covers green building design, construction, and current events. This advertisement-free periodical provides in-depth reporting on timely green building topics.
A partnership between BuildingGreen.com and McGraw Hill, Greensource focuses on commercial and institutional building types.
Covers sustainable design and construction for the building industry. Topics include energy and water efficiency, materials, health, codes and economics.
This monthly publication from Taunton Press consistently features articles on energy-conscious design and construction, healthy building practices, and other aspects of green building, written from the architect and builder perspectives. Special issues and other publications from Taunton address residential green building concepts in depth from an applied perspective
The commercial building initiative of the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, Better Bricks provides extensive resources, tools, and access to technical advice through its regional network of labs.
The website includes GreenSpec, a listing of environmentally preferable products, green building case studies, continuing education, and the Environmental Building News periodical.
"Building Science" examines the effect of heat transfer, ventilation and moisture on buildings. BSC has conducted extensive research and testing of various building assemblies and designs to determine those most resistant to damage from bulk moisture, water vapor, and other building hazards. A variety of fact sheets, reports, and guides cover these topics from the building science perspective.
Technical information on energy efficient and green design approaches and technologies for residential buildings from the National Association of Home Builders Research Center.
Information, tools, case studies, and fact sheets focused on the commercial market.
The US Environmental Protection Agency maintains extensive information on green building-related topics. These include general green building, waste prevention and recycling, purchasing recycled content building materials, and combating building-related human health hazards like lead and asbestos.
A portal to all residential energy conservation, targeted at the homeowner. Learn about weatherization, insulating, heating and cooling, appliances, residential renewable energy, home energy audits, and much more.
As its name implies, this DOE office provides information on both energy conservation and energy production, including extensive information applied at the building scale.
An interdisciplinary public-private collaborative working to create a high-performance building district in downtown Seattle. The 2030 District uses the Architecture 2030 Challenge for Planning performance goals for energy, water, and transportation CO2 reductions.
A program of the International Living Future Institute and a chapter of the US Green Building Council, Cascadia promotes green building with educational events and professional development.
PHNW is a regional association of Passive House Consultants and advocates in the Pacific Northwest. The Seattle chapter holds monthly meetings at the Phinney Neighborhood Center, and periodic conferences provide applied information on building super-efficient homes and buildings.
The Northwest EcoBuilding Guild is a member-based green building nonprofit. The Central Puget Sound chapter serves the Seattle area, and holds monthly meetings at the Phinney Neighborhood Center. The EcoBuilding Guild's Green Pages publication lists their members, ranging from architects to rainwater harvest specialists.
Washington’s solar industry advocacy organization.

Transportation & Land Use

The goal of this Department of Transportation plan is to triple the amount of bicycling in Seattle between 2007 and 2017, and to reduce the rate of bicycle collisions by one third during the same timeframe.
A key element of the City's pedestrian program, the Pedestrian Master Plan is a long-term action plan to make Seattle the most walkable city in the nation.
Our comprehensive plan, Toward a Sustainable Seattle, is a 20-year vision and roadmap for Seattle’s future and provides the framework for most of Seattle’s big-picture decisions on how to grow while preserving and improving our neighborhoods.

Food

P-Patch Program is Seattle's community gardening programand is open to Seattle residents.
Promotoes the cultivation of urban fruit in order to nourish people, build community and protect the climate.
Support your neighborhood farmer's market.
Resource site on local farms, farmer's markets, CSAs, and seasonal cooking.
Develops just and integrated policy and action recommendations that promote health, sustain and strengthen the local and regional food system, and engage and partner with agriculture, business, communities and governments in the four-county region.
Learn what’s going on in the Puget Sound region’s urban agriculture scene, pick up ideas for your own urban homesteading projects and find ways to connect with local programs with a farming bent.
A national initiative to prevent chronic disease and promote health through policy, systems and environment changes.
A coalition of organizations working on improving our overall environment so our children live a healthy, active lifestyle.
Brings the voices of hungry Washington families to the ears of our policy makers to ensure that public policy leads our response to hunger in WA state.
Dedicated to re-localizing the food system in Washington by connecting consumers more directly with producers.
Lettuce Link creates access to fresh, nutritious and organic produce, seeds, and gardening information for families with lower incomes in Seattle.
The NW Farm Bill Action Group is building a diverse alliance of people and organizations in the Pacific Northwest who advocate for a more healthy, sustainable, and equitable food system.
The Farms and Food Roundtable, jointly convened by the City of Seattle, King County, and Pike Place Market, identified key recommendations to preserve farmland and increase market and distribution opportunities for local small and mid-sized farmers in King County.

Waste

The updated Solid Waste Management Plan describes how the City of Seattle will manage waste for the next 20 years, including recycling, composting and other zero waste strategies.
City resolution and study on zero waste strategies with the potential to divert significant tonnage away from landfill disposal. Links to solid waste management plan as well.
Flyers, posters, videos and more, in many languages so you can reach everyone in your buildings on how to properly recycle and compost.
Seven case studies demonstrate how deconstruction helps reduce waste and incorporates salvaged materials into new projects.

Water

The Shoreline Master Program (SMP) is mandated by the state Shoreline Management Act (SMA), created by citizen referendum in 1972, and includes the goals, policies, and regulations that govern land use and activities within the Seattle Shoreline District.
How rain runoff can be slowed and cleaned in your yard.
A variety of Seattle Public Utilities reports and research on water conservation.
The South Fork Tolt River is the smaller and lesser known (than the Cedar River) but still essential second supply watershed in SPU’s freshwater supply system. Located in the foothills of the Cascades in east King County, it supplies about 30% of the drinking water for 1.3 million people in and around Seattle.
Supplying the majority of Seattle's drinking water, the Cedar River Watershed has an education center, hosts tours and is carefully managed with a 50-year habitat conservation plan.
An interactive map (pdf) to see projects such as rain gardens, green roofs and habitat restoration.
Tip sheet on design, permitting and use of harvested rainwater.
The City of Seattle Stormwater Management Plan was developed for compliance with the Ecology-issued 2012 NPDES Phase I Municipal Stormwater Permit.
This Tip is designed to help applicants meet the requirements for green roofs associated with stormwater code compliance.
Providing value and accountability to you on the City's waste, water and drainage management.

Trees & Green Space

A long term vision for increasing tree canopy cover in Seattle.
Ecosystem services are the environmental benefits provided by urban trees. These benefits include trapping and slowing rain water, energy conservation, carbon sequestration, heat island reduction, and improvements to air and water quality.
VMPs guide the growth, development, and maintenance of parks and open spaces. Each VMP is designed to bring together the diverse interests at work (and at play) in a park or open space
Discover your local environment through programs and events at one of these environmental learning centers.
Annual progress reports tracking the City's goal to reach 30% canopy cover.
Visit the Department of Parks and Recreation's site to use the handy park finder to over 400 parks and open areas.
Department of Transportation page helps you select an appropriate tree and location in your right of way and follow the necessary processes for permitting and maintenance.
Supporting a healthy environment is one of Seattle Parks and Recreation’s fundamental outcomes as an organization, together with healthy people, strong communities and financial sustainability. Seattle Parks and Recreation's 2013 environmental stewardship report shows our commitment to track and report our work through enhanced performance management. The information will be used to recognize achievements and identify opportunities for improvement.