Sustainable Infrastructure

Project Outcomes

In 2008, the City launched the Sustainable Infrastructure Initiative, an experiment in which a more holistic approach was applied to a handful of capital projects. In each of these projects, a wide range of alternatives will be considered, all of which address multiple objectives from multiple departments. Three projects in particular were developed:

  • The Seattle Center Water Swap — incorporating rainwater harvest and use into the renovation of Seattle Center as a strategy for addressing existing combined sewer overflows issues in the area
  • South Waterfront Shore Power — funding energy retrofits in Pioneer Square as an alternative to building new electrical infrastructure necessary to provide electric hook-ups to large ships
  • Linden Avenue Complete Streets Project — coordinating improvements for all of the infrastructure systems along a transportation corridor to reduce total costs, construction time, and hassle

Project Purpose

Seattle spends more than $650 million each year to build, renew, and repair infrastructure. This money is divided up between departments, each with its own mission and priorities. An interdepartmental team at the City is suggesting that some portion of our capital spending might be more effective if it were directed at integrated, sustainable outcomes — outcomes that not only address expected levels of service, but also add value to the community, the environment, and the economy.

A grant from the Washington State Department of Community, Trade, and Economic Development helped Seattle develop analytical tools and illustrative examples in support of the Sustainable Infrastructure Initiative.