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Green building and sustainable development ordinance for King County, WA

Green building and sustainable development ordinance

The updated King County Green Building Ordinance 19402Download PDF was adopted by Council on March 2nd, 2022 and signed by the County Executive on March 9th, 2022. The Green Building Initiative started in 2001 with an Executive Order which was replaced by an ordinance in 2005, and renewed in 2008, 2013, and 2022.

Green building goals

  • Ensure the planning, design, construction, remodeling, renovation, maintenance and operations of any King County owned or financed capital project is consistent with the latest green building and sustainable development practices.
  • Direct county departments to incorporate the use of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED™) green building rating system.
  • Establish a Green Building Team to provide education and guidance to county departments.

Green building ordinance requirements

  • The ordinance covers all King County-owned capital projects.
  • All eligible new construction projects are required to strive for LEED Platinum certification (effective August 1, 2014).
  • All eligible major renovation and remodel projects are required to achieve LEED Gold certification.
  • All capital projects that are not eligible or are limited in their ability to achieve LEED certification (e.g., infrastructure projects) must incorporate cost-effective green building and sustainable development practices using the King County Sustainable Infrastructure Scorecard and strive to achieve a Platinum level.
  • Ensure responsible stewardship of public funds through life cycle cost analysis.
  • Build a culture of performance by establishing minimum performance requirements for energy, emissions, stormwater management, and construction and demolition materials diversion.
  • Encourage innovation and support flexibility by adding alternative green building rating systems, including Built Green, Evergreen Sustainable Development Standard, Salmon Safe and Living Building Challenge.
  • The County-wide Green Building Team is directed to develop guidelinesDownload PDF 1.7 MB for using green practices in operating and remodeling existing buildings.
  • Acknowledge green building achievements from King County affordable housing projects that increase equitable access to improved public health, air quality, living and working environments, and walkable communities.
  • Encourage voluntary green building practices in the region that will increase the awareness, certification and innovation in green building and sustainable development.
  • Specifies reporting requirements to improve the information compiled on county divisions' green practices; continues the county-wide Green Building Team and clarifies its roles and responsibilities; and requires project managers to be trained in green building practices.

King County Green Building Ordinance (GBO)

Case StudyDownload PDF 738 KB on developing the Green Building Ordinance using Integrative Process.

Dec. 23, 2013
County beefs up green building rules with higher standards, new incentivesDownload PDF 78 K)
King County is stepping up its commitment to green building: all county government construction and major renovation projects are required to seek LEED platinum rating—from the Daily Journal of Commerce.

Dec. 13, 2013
Best in Class: King County Leads by Platinum Example external link
King County was named "Best in class" by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) after the adoption of its new Green Building Ordinance. The announcement recognizes the continued commitment from the GreenTools program in helping to make King County a leader in sustainable building.

Dec. 9, 2013
Updated King County Green Building Ordinance Adopted!
The updated King County green building policy is top in the nation for facility sustainability and performance. This update requires county projects to strive for LEED Platinum and encourages the use of alternative green building rating systems, such as Built Green, Evergreen Sustainable Development Standard, Salmon Safe and the Living Building Challenge—King County news release.

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