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City of Seattle
Ed Murray, Mayor

SUBJECT: Seattle’s Green Building EVOLUTION

1/9/2012  4:12:00 AM

Rebecca Baker
(206) 615-1171

Bryan Stevens  (206) 684-5045

The City Green Building team takes an exciting new step in 2012. Beginning in January, part of the “green team” will join forces with the Office of Sustainability and Environment (OSE). Staff focused on policy development will become part of OSE, and those focused on green codes and permitting will stay with the Department of Planning and Development (DPD), as part of the Operations Division. As this next step unfolds, both DPD and OSE will continue to develop and implement innovative approaches to building sustainable neighborhoods. 

City Green Building’s mission -- making green building standard practice -- has held fast over ten plus years. The City of Seattle’s legacy as a national leader has fostered local adoption of green building practices, moving beyond the early adopters to the mainstream market. “Seattle’s green building growth has been exponential.  Given the current level of green building expertise and innovation in the private market and in regional organizations we need to continue to evolve our vision and approach,” said Sandra Mallory, Program Manager for City Green Building. “If we are to achieve a climate neutral Seattle, then our green building policies and initiatives need to fit within a broader context.” 

The evolution of the green building program naturally led to greater coordination with the Office of Sustainability and Environment, the City’s primary office for urban sustainability policy development. “Over the past years, the green team and OSE have worked closely together on numerous initiatives, including co-leading the Green Building Task Force which in turn led to programs like Community Power Works, Energy Benchmarking and Priority Green permitting. Consolidating our efforts will better align work in overlapping areas and allow the City to expand our work on environmental priorities,” said Jill Simmons, Director of OSE.

Within DPD the green team has worked to support both typical and advanced green building projects through education, incentives and program development. “DPD has been a long-standing advocate for green building from within City government. We have invested in our staff – teaching green building strategies so that our reviewers are ready to help applicants when they come in,” said Diane Sugimura, the Director of the Department of Planning and Development. “We remain committed to removing barriers to green building and encouraging innovative sustainability practices.”

In 2012 DPD will remain focused on growing green permitting, on supporting the Living Building Challenge pilot and on evaluating the International Green Construction Code (IgCC) for potential adoption in Seattle. Planning staff will work closely with OSE to implement land use policies that advance green building.  Green building staff in OSE will be working on implementing the Sustainable Building and Sites policy, development of a city Resource Conservation Plan, and providing ongoing management and support of the building energy benchmarking program and the 2030 District.

For more information about these efforts, please visit the following websites.  

Office of Sustainability and Environment:
Seattle Green Building:
Priority Green:


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