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Inspire Apartments Living Building in Seattle, WA

Inspire is the first multi-family dwelling in Seattle adhering to the Living Building Pilot Program, Petal Certification for reduced energy and water usage. A code modification was required to permit more efficient HRV usage with lower-than-required ventilation rates. Inspire was granted a FAR (floor area ratio) bonus as incentive for program compliance.

2018 Seattle Living Building Pilot Program

The pilot program allows applicants 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 up to 25 percent more floor area, up to 30 percent more floor area if saving an unreinforced masonry structure.  Also, the program provides height bonuses of 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; or 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.  Finally, the program allows additional design departures for the pilot programs as specified in SMC 23.41.012D.

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Pax Futura

The Pax Futura multifamily passive housing project is designed and built to achieve a near zero energy rating and aims to achieve passivhaus certification. Use of high thermal efficiency construction methods, solar thermal water heaters and a heat recovery ventilation system (HRV) help approach passive house for multi-unit dwelling. HVAC system required an engineering validation to demonstrate ample airflow to satisfy the code requirement.


Seattle Goes Deep Green with Living Building Pilot Ordinance*

In December 2009 the City of Seattle wrote a page in the history of green building leadership, when their City Council adopted Ordinance 123206, establishing the Living Building Pilot Program. The Program’s goal is to promote buildings that meet the Living Building Challenge (full Certification or Petal Recognition) by providing flexibility in development standards in Seattle’s Land use codes.  The Bullitt Center building in the Capitol Hill Neighborhood was the first to be built under the Program.

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Supply Laundry Historic Retrofit via Outcome-Based Energy Code

Adaptive redevelopment of the historic 110-year old Supply Laundry building, vacant for over a decade, required an upgrade to the stringent 2009 Seattle Energy Code. To maintain as much of the architectural character as possible, the owners partnered with the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the City on the nation’s first outcome-based energy code pilot project. In exchange for access to post-occupancy performance data, the City granted code flexibility in how energy targets were to be achieved.

Courtyard Lid over Parking at Marion Green Courtyard Townhomes

Marion Green Courtyard Townhomes is a new form of urban townhouse that utilizes a structured lid built over the top of surface parking, creating a pedestrian entry courtyard shared by all of the housing units. This new archetype mitigates the aesthetic impacts of parking areas, increases usable open space, and facilitates chance interaction to help build familiarity and community among neighbors. Gaining approval for this approach was a 7-year effort including lobbying for changes to the zoning code, then working with city agencies to resolve code compliance issues associated with the new building archetype.