Living Building Pilot Program Lives On

The City Council approved and the Mayor signed legislation that continues the Living Building Pilot Program (LBPP) until 2025. The law will become effective on November 6, 2016. The updated Living Building program legislation expands on a pilot program started in 2009 and increases the number of buildings that can participate to 20. To date, two projects have met the Living Building Pilot Program requirements, the Stone 34 project in Wallingford and the Bullitt Center building on Capitol Hill.

The legislation incorporates updates from the LBPP Technical Advisory Group (TAG). The TAG met for over a year to recommend adjustments that maintain the rigor of the program while incentivizing Living Buildings. Incentives include a 15 percent increase in floor area ratio and a height increase up to 10 feet in zones with height limits of 85 feet or less, and 20 feet in zones with height limits greater than 85 feet. With the new legislation, these incentives are now granted outright for developers participating in the LBPP. This provides more certainty for project teams, in lieu of the previous program that allowed similar departure requests through the design review process. Projects must still be reviewed under the Design Review Program and cannot be located in a shoreline district.

Other changes include updates to the requirements for projects that decide to pursue the Petal Certification pathway: energy use must be 75 percent or less of targets established in the energy code, and potable water cannot be used for non-potable uses.

Draft Directors Rule: Green Building Standards

This legislation also included organizational changes to consolidate the disparate green building requirements into one chapter of the Seattle Land Use Code. A Draft Director’s Rule is now available for review and comment.

Certain development is required by the Land Use Code to meet a green building standard, such as development that includes extra floor area. “Green building standard” is defined in the code as a performance-based standard equivalent or superior to standards accepted in the building industry for high-level development strategies and practices that apply to a range of structure types, save resources, and promote renewable, clean energy.

The purpose of this Rule is to:

  • Establish the requirements for development to meet the green building standard, including a substantially equivalent or superior standard where applicable
  • Establish the requirements for documenting an owner’s commitment that a proposed development will meet a green building standard
  • Establish the requirements for demonstrating compliance with a commitment that the development will meet a green building standard


For more information, contact:

Jess Harris
(206) 684-7744