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Kickstarting Green Building Everywhere

Built Green has seen a lot of success, but our numbers are not evenly spread across the Puget Sound area. This year, we’ve seen the most enrollments in Seattle and in Shoreline. In recent years, we’ve seen big numbers and high market shares in Kirkland and Issaquah. Why these areas? The short answer is: incentives.

Grow Community, photo courtesy PHC Construction
Shift Zero Zero Net Carbon Policy Toolkit
Shift Zero steps to zero net carbon: 1) Maximize energy efficiency, 2) on-site renewable energy, 3) off-site renewable energy
 

All four of these cities offer builders who achieve Built Green® certification something in return—expedited permitting, a density bonus, parking reductions, and fee reductions are just a few examples. Some of them require a certain level of green building in exchange for new or upzoned development areas.

Incentives are a proven way to increase the amount of green building. However, they will only be effective if they are tailored to match the local context. Incentives that work in an urban area may not work in a rural community. Figuring out the best way to kickstart green building in a particular area can take a lot of research.

In comes Shift Zero! Built Green is a member organization of this zero net carbon building alliance and helped craft the new Zero Net Carbon Policy Toolkit, a resource to help municipalities place building performance ambition front-and-center in their policymaking. The toolkit provides tiers of certifications leading to highly energy efficient or zero net carbon buildings, guidance on which types of incentives are effective in a given context, and draft legislation that can be amended locally.

We hope that our public partners will utilize this toolkit to craft new and improved green building incentives in their areas and that our members will promote it to local jurisdictions. Built Green is a win/win for green builders and local communities and effective incentives are a great way to increase the number of green buildings.

 


Photos courtesy PHC Construction and Shift Zero

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