Guides & Tools

Spotlight on Green City of Seattle Facilities
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.
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.
A residential-focused resource for building design and construction professionals, GBA includes a green-products database, design tools, articles and green building forum.
Remodeling? Building New? Help Is Here
Green building design practices and management principles can reduce building operating expenses, increase worker productivity and asset value.
Tool to evaluate long-term cost-effectiveness of design strategies.
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.
These residential case studies demonstrate how smart technologies, eco-friendly materials, energy-efficiency and other green features combine to make a great living environment.
This exhaustive online design guide covers all aspects of high performance building design and construction.


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.
Second annual report on progress towards the citywide Resource Conservation Management Plan to achieve 20% energy savings in City buildings by 2020.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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

Rating Systems

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.


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.
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.
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.
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.
Nine-month intensive course, with optional certification exam, that comprehensively addresses the foundational concepts that underpin green building.

Organizations & Publications

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.
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.
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.
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.
Covers sustainable design and construction for the building industry. Topics include energy and water efficiency, materials, health, codes and economics.
Published by, this monthly publication covers green building design, construction, and current events. This advertisement-free periodical provides in-depth reporting on timely green building topics.
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.
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
A residential-focused resource for building design and construction professionals, GBA includes a green-products database, design tools, articles and green building forum.
A partnership between and McGraw Hill, Greensource focuses on commercial and institutional building types.
Fannie Mae offers several programs to finance energy and water efficiency improvements for existing multifamily properties, including multifamily affordable housing buildings. A case study is available for their Green Preservation Plus program.
Information, tools, case studies, and fact sheets focused on the commercial market.
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.
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.
Washington’s solar industry advocacy organization.
Technical information on energy efficient and green design approaches and technologies for residential buildings from the National Association of Home Builders Research Center.