Build Green for a Streamlined Permit Review

City Cabins – Martha Rose Construction. Photo by Modern Productions.

The City of Seattle offers many green building incentives to help meet Seattle’s Climate Action Plan and move towards a carbon-neutral community by 2050. The Climate Action Plan identifies buildings, road transportation (passenger and freight vehicles), and solid waste as key contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. Buildings are responsible for 33 percent of Seattle’s greenhouse gas emissions. The City is aiming to reduce building-related emissions by 39 percent by 2030 and 82 percent by 2050.

Seattle’s Priority Green Expedited incentive is one City of Seattle program intended to reduce building energy use by at least 20 percent. Our permitting incentive provides faster construction permit processing in exchange for building green. Priority Green projects also benefit from a single point of contact to call when you need help, or when you want to know the status of your permit.

Stack House Apartments and Supply Laundry Building – Vulcan Real Estate. Photo by Vulcan Real Estate.

You can save time during the entire permit cycle through our faster processing and review of your green building permit. Our goal is to shorten our initial plan review by at least 4 weeks for projects subject to the Seattle Residential Code (2 weeks for projects subject to the Seattle Building Code). We beat our goal in 2015. Most Priority Green initial plan reviews were completed 6 weeks faster than projects not in the program (3 weeks faster for projects subject to the Seattle Building Code). Check out our current Priority Green performance for yourself.

You can use one of several green building ratings for your eligible new construction project, including, Built Green, LEED, Living Building Challenge, or Passive House. Seattle DCI also offers an Alternative Path for small residential projects. Staff verifies green building thresholds are met under the Alternative Path option. To qualify for the Priority Green Expedited benefits, your project must achieve at least Built Green 4 star, LEED gold with a minimum number of energy points, or meet one of the other green rating options. Energy reduction, water conservation, waste reduction and healthy indoor air quality are required prerequisites for any project in our program.

You can maximize the value of Priority Green Expedited by submitting complete plans, quickly and comprehensively responding to corrections requests, and reducing the number of corrected plan review cycles. Each round of corrections adds time to the permit cycle and devalues the huge time savings gained during our initial plan review.

The Priority Green Expedited program was originally launched in 2009. Since then, we have processed over 700 building permit applications, which is about a 20 percent participation rate.

Seattle City Light offers Built Green incentives, and our land use code incentives for green building align well with Priority Green. You can leverage these opportunities to strengthen your green building portfolio.

For more information, contact:

Jess Harris
(206) 684-7744
Jess.harris@seattle.gov