Timeline - City Green Building Initiatives

Milestones in Seattle’s journey toward sustainable buildings and energy use

Seattle's green building and energy conservation workis linked to many of the City's other sustainability and conservation-related initiatives.The work has been built on a strong history of utility energy and water conservation programs, and now resides withinthe Office of Sustainability and Environment.

The following timeline highlights a broad range of milestones relatedto green building.

1927 Furnace duct sizing and insulation ordinance
1974 Seattle Building Code envelope (thermal efficiency) standards
1977 Energy conservation programs launched by Seattle City Light (SCL)
1979 Water conservation programs launched by Seattle Water Department (now Seattle Public Utilities/SPU)
1980 City establishes the first comprehensive Seattle Energy Code
1992 City adopts Environmental Action Agenda with sustainability as one of 11 guiding principles
1994 City creates Model Conservation Home showcasing energy efficiency, water efficiency, recycled content materials use, and indoor air quality measures.
1996 SPU and Seattle Public Schools establish Partnership for Resource Efficient Schools
1998 City creates Sustainable Building Action Plan (led by SPU)
SPU hires first full-time green building staff
1999 Office of Environmental Management established (now Office of Sustainability and Environment/OSE)
Environmental Management Program (archival info) adopted for City operations, including policies and procedures for Energy and Water Conservation, Waste Reduction and Recycling and Landscaping and Grounds Management, with a placeholder for development of a Sustainable Building policy.
City forms interdepartmental Green Building Team
City leads development and publication of the Northwest Regional Sustainable Building Action Plan
2000 City adopts nation's first Sustainable Building Policy (Resolution 30121), requiring LEED Silver certification for all new City owned facilities
First City LEED project, the Justice Center, completed - LEED Silver certification attained in 2002
City adopts commitment for SCL to meet all future electric load growth with no net increase in greenhouse gas emissions
2001 SCL hires first permanent full-time green building staff
LEED Incentive Program launched by SCL and SPU providing financial incentives to projects seeking LEED certification.
SCL Sustainable Demand Project publishes High Performance Building Delivers Results: Communicating Productivity Benefits of Sustainable Building to Decision Makers in the Seattle Development Industry
2002 Built Green Multifamily Incentive program launched by SCL and SPU
2003 SCL achieves Low Impact Hydropower Institute certification of hydroelectric dams on the Skagit River, allowing LEED projects to take credit for certified off-site renewable energy
2004 SPU launches Green Home Remodel program, offering guides, classes and presentations, and technical assistance
Department of Planning and Development (DPD) and partners launch Build Green Northwest campaign
2005 Seattle is #1 in the U.S. for LEED projects and LEED Accredited Professionals
City sponsors Built Green Competition recognizing high performing single family and multifamily projects
SPU Comprehensive Drainage Plan adopted with green building as component
Seattle Office of Economic Development publishes the Sustainable Building Cluster Study, presenting analysis and recommendations for growing jobs in Seattle's green building industry
2006 Seattle releases its first Climate Action Plan, including strategies for reducing building energy use and promoting the use of cleaner energy sources for buildings
City establishes Downtown Density Bonus program, requiring LEED Silver as a minimum criteria for participation.
City Green Building Program reorganizes with centralized structure in the Department of Planning & Development (DPD)
2007 City Council passes Zero Waste Resolution, including extensive actions to increase the diversion of construction and demolition materials from the waste stream
The Seattle Green Factor adopted, to improve the amount and quality of landscaping in new development
30% of all new home construction in King County is Built Green certified
2008 Mayor Nickels convenes the Green Building Task Force (archival info) to develop recommendations for reducing building energy use in Seattle
SCL publishes its 2008-2012 Action Plan: a five-year strategic plan for cost-effective electricity conservation activities
2009 Salvage Permitting Ordinance passed incentivizing deconstruction in lieu of demolition of single family homes through faster permitting
Seattle's Green Building Capital Initiative launched, based on Green Building Task Force recommendations.
DPD launches Green Q: expedited permitting for residential green projects. Subsequently folded into Priority Green program.
Midrise and Highrise Multifamily zoning revisions adopted, with LEED Silver requirements when seeking density bonuses
Living Building Pilot Program adopted
Innovation Advisory Committee established in DPD
2010 Priority Green permitting incentives established in DPD with facilitated and expedited permitting for green building projects
Building Energy Benchmarking & Reporting Program adopted
2011 Updated and expanded Sustainable Buildings and Sites Policy for City facilities adopted
Lowrise Multifamily zoning revisions adopted, with LEED Silver requirements when seeking density bonuses
Recycling requirements established for construction and demolition projects  
2012 City Green Building Program joins Office of Sustainability and Environment. Green code, permitting and planning work remain in DPD.
2013 2013 Seattle Climate Action Plan adopted, incorporating actions to reduce building energy use 39% by 2030
Zoning revisions for density bonuses in South Lake Union include LEED Gold as minimum criteria for participation
City adopts Resource Conservation Management Plan to reduce energy use in City-owned buildings 20% by 2020
The King Street Station remodel becomes the City's first LEED Platinum building