Living Building & 2030 Challenge Pilots

What Are They?

The Living Building and 2030 Challenge Pilots are part of Seattle's Climate Strategies. They are needed to help us move beyond making incremental changes so we can fundamentally reshape our building and transportation systems for a fossil-free future. Seattle's buildings produce about one-third of our greenhouse gases. Reducing these building emissions are critical in achieving our goal to become a carbon neutral community by 2050.

The pilot programs allow you to request additional departures from the Seattle Land Use Code through Design Review. They provide height and floor area incentives for buildings in exchange for meeting high-performance green building requirements.

Developers that are constructing new buildings or building additions that meet the program standards can get the following benefits:

  • Up to 25 percent more floor area
  • Up to 30 percent more floor area if saving an unreinforced masonry structure
  • 12.5 feet of additional height for residential construction or 15 feet of additional height for non-residential construction in zones with height limits of 85 feet or less
  • 25 feet of additional height for residential construction or 30 feet of additional height for non-residential construction in zones with height limits greater than 85
  • Additional design departures for the pilot programs as specified in SMC 23.41.012D

Living Building Pilot

The Living Building Challenge (LBC) is a green building certification program administered by the International Living Futures Institute (ILFI), that defines the most advanced measure of sustainability for buildings and landscapes. LBC's goal is to create buildings that:

  • Generate more energy than they use
  • Capture and treat all water on site
  • Are made using healthy materials

The LBC framework will help you create spaces that reconnect occupants with nature. LBC uses a flower as an idealistic symbol of efficiency, and organizes the program into "petals." There are seven performance areas or petals; Place, Water, Energy, Health and Happiness, Materials, Equity, and Beauty.

To qualify for this program, your project must:

Our pilot program will expire on December 31, 2025 or when 17 projects enroll in the Living Building Pilot.

Environmental Requirements

  1. Achieve Living Building Challenge full certification, or
  2. Achieve Petal Certification, including:
    • Reduce total energy usage by 25 percent, or more based on the Energy Use Intensity (EUI) targets in the Target Performance Path of Seattle Energy Code Section C401.3 and use no fossil fuel for space and water heating
    • Reduce potable water demand by using only non-potable water to meet demand for toilet and urinal flushing, irrigation, hose bib, cooling tower (make up water only), and water features, except to the extent other applicable local, state, or federal law requires the use of potable water

2030 Challenge Pilot

The 2030 Challenge for Planning was issued by Architecture 2030, a non-profit think tank transforming climate change problems into solutions through the design of the built environment. The 2030 Challenge for Planning asks the global architecture and planning community to adopt reduction targets for energy, water and transportation for new construction and major renovations. To advance these goals on a district basis, Seattle 2030 District was created in partnership with the City of Seattle. This pilot relies on the 2030 Challenge for Planning goals, but focuses on existing buildings to improve the viability of high-performance renovations.

To be qualify for this program, your project must:

  • Qualify for design review or review by a special district or historic review committee
  • Be located within an urban center, excluding lots within the shoreline or the international special review districts
  • Renovate an existing structure that qualifies as a substantial alteration as determined in the Seattle Energy Code and the Seattle Existing Building Code
  • Retain either the opaque portions of all exterior walls or the superstructure of existing structures (the foundation, structural frame, floor framing, and slabs of the structure)

Our pilot program will expire on December 31, 2025 or when 20 projects enroll in the 2030 Challenge Height Performance Existing Building Pilot.

Environmental Requirements

  • Reduce total energy use by 25 percent, or more based on the Energy Use Intensity (EUI) targets in the Target Performance Path of the Seattle Energy Code Section C401.3, and use no fossil fuel for space and water heating
  • Reduce annual stormwater runoff and potable water use by at least 50 percent from program baselines
  • Reduce single-occupant vehicle trips for work and non-work-related trips to percentages equal to or better than rates defined in the Seattle Comprehensive Plan

    Read the Code

    Steps to Follow

    See the master use permit page for step-by-step directions for your application. During the permit process, the Design Review Board will review your requested code departures and recommend which should be granted.