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Green Codes & Initiatives

It’s an exciting and challenging time for Jurisdictions, builders and other stakeholders as they consider many new “Green Building Codes” being developed at local, state and international levels.  The title of each code is a link; click to find detailed info about the code or initiative.  Please suggest others if you notice something is missing!



International Green Construction Code:  Safe and Sustainable by the Book.

The IgCC creates a regulatory framework for new and existing buildings, establishing minimum green requirements for buildings and complementing voluntary rating systems, which may extend beyond baseline of the IgCC. The code acts as an overlay to the existing set of International Codes, including provisions of the International Energy Conservation Code and ICC-700, the National Green Building Standard,and incorporates ASHRAE Standard 189.1 as an alternate path to compliance.

Adopted by ICC  2012;

2015 Amendments being considered;

WA State Building Codes Council considering approval for local adoption.

ASHRAE Standard 189.1:

Is a Standard for the Design of High Performance, Green Buildings, Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings.  It provides a “total building sustainability package” with both prescriptive and performance-based compliance options.  With sections ranging from site location to energy use to recycling, this standard sets the foundation for green buildings by addressing site sustainability, water use efficiency, energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality, and the building’s impact on the atmosphere, materials and resources. Standard 189.1 serves as a compliance option in the 2012 International Green Construction Code™ (IgCC) published by the International Code Council.

Adopted by ASHRAE 2011, referenced in IGCC

International Energy Conservation Code and ASHRAE Standard 90.1:

The publication of the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code® and ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1-2010 Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, is another positive step forward in the efforts of the International Code Council® (ICC®) and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) to increase the awareness about and application of energy-efficient buildings and to provide the latest and state of the art energy efficiency requirements in one place.

Adopted by ASHRAE 1975, referenced in IECC

ICC 700 National Green Building Standard

The International Code Council (ICC) partnered with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) to establish this nationally-recognized standard definition of green building.  The result is the first residential green building rating system receiving approval from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

Established by ICC and NAHB

United States


Tribal Green Building Codes – Region 9

As part of the Environmental Protection Act in the Pacific Southwest, Region 9 serves California, Arizona, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, and Tribal Nations. The Tribal Green Building Codes Workshop created the document, Benefits of Tribal Building Codes. This document allows Tribes to develop their own building code that seeks to provide safe, healthy, quality homes and reflect tribal culture and values.

varies by statute….



Washington State Energy Code

WAC 51-11-0101

The purpose of this Code is to provide minimum standards for new or altered buildings and structures or portions thereof to achieve efficient use and conservation of energy

First Adopted Jan. 2011, latest version July 2013

2010 California Green Building Standards Code:  CalGreen

Part 11 of the 2010 Title 24 Building Standards Code is the California Green Building Standards Code, also to be known as the CALGreen Code. This is the first statewide green building standards code in the nation.

Adopted by the State of California Jan 2011

Washington State Senate Bill 5099

During the 2005 legislative session, Washington State passed the country’s first law requiring that all new buildings and renovation projects that receive state funding be built to one of three green building standards (Chapter 39.35D RCW High-performance Public Buildings).

Adopted by Wash State Legislature 2005

Washington State Greywater Code

Chapter 246-274 WAC

The purpose of this chapter is to establish requirements that provide building owners with simple, cost-effective options for reusing greywater for subsurface irrigation and encourage water conservation and to protect public health and water quality.

Adopted December 2010

Rainwater Collection in Washington State – Policy

On October 19, 2009, the Department of Ecology issued an Interpretive Policy Statement clarifying that a water right is not required for rooftop rainwater harvesting.

Adopted October 2009

Oregon Reach Code

Oregon adopted the International Green Construction Code with amendments to serve as the Oregon Reach Code.  These amendments were made to make this code compatible with their existing codes and jurisdictional prerequisites.  This code establishes minimum standards using prescriptive and performance related provisions.

Adopted July 2011

Wood First Act – British Columbia, Canada

The purpose of this Act is to facilitate a culture of wood by requiring the use of wood as the primary building material in all new provincially funded building, in a manner consistent with the British Columbia Building Code.

Passed by British Columbia Legislature 2009

Alaska Building Energy Efficiency Standard

The Alaska Building Energy Efficiency Standard was established by the State of Alaska to promote the construction of energy efficient buildings. It sets building energy use standards for thermal resistance, air leakage, moisture protection and ventilation.

BEES is currently comprised of the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), ASHRAE 62.2 2010 and Alaska Specific Amendments to both.

All new residential homes and community-owned buildings which began construction on or after January 1, 1992 must comply with BEES if AHFC or other state financial assistance is to be used in construction or the purchase of a loan.

Massachusetts Stretch Code

The Stretch Energy Code was added to the building code on July 24, 2009 and is located in the code as Appendix 115 AA. It provides a more energy efficient alternative to the standard energy provisions of the code that a municipality may choose to adopt.

Adopted July 2009

Oregon Energy Efficiency Specialty Code

Adopted 2010

Oregon House Bill 2080 – Use of Greywater

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) administers a new program that permits the reuse of graywater through a graywater reuse and disposal system. The 2009 Oregon Legislature, with the passage of House Bill 2080, authorized development and adoption of rules to create the graywater permitting program. Oregon’s Environmental Quality Commission approved the rules on Aug. 25, 2011. DEQ began accepting graywater permit applications in April 2012.

Adopted Aug. 2011



City of Portland – Summary of Codes, Regulations, Programs, and Policies

Related to Green Building and Development – includes links to code sections and other regulations for solar, wind and other renewables; eco-roofs, cisterns and stormwater management; accessory dwelling units and alternative development; C&D waste recycling & historic preservation; as well as programs, policies, incentives and plans.

Adopted (varies)

City of Seattle Energy Code

Seattle’s commercial and residential energy codes are some of the most advanced in the country, .They set a baseline for energy efficiency in new construction and substantial alterations.  It was recently found to be 11.3% more energy efficient than buildings constructed to the ASHRAE standard used by the US Green Building Council’s LEED rating system.

City of Seattle Stormwater Code

requires projects to implement green stormwater infrastructure to the maximum extent feasible. GSI examples include permeable pavement, bioretention facilities, and green roofs.

Living Building Challenge – Seattle Municipal Code

The purpose of this section is to establish a Living Building Pilot Program. The goal of the Pilot Program is to encourage the development of buildings that meet the Living Building Challenge by allowing departures from code requirements that might otherwise discourage or prevent buildings from meeting this standard.

Adopted December 2009

Coconino County Sustainable Building Program (CCSBP)

The Coconino County Sustainable Building Program (CCSBP) supports sustainable building practices and processes for the citizens of Coconino County and the City of Flagstaff, Arizona, and includes several codes and guidelines, including those for Solar & Wind Energy Systems, Insulated Concrete Forms, Strawbale Construction, Greywater, and (in development) Adobe/Rammed Earth, Earthship, Geothermal and Solar Thermal

City of Phoenix Planning and Development Phoenix Green Construction Code

Is an optional code that sets minimum requirements related to:  Conservation of natural resources, materials and energy; the employment of renewable energy technologies, indoor and outdoor air quality; and building operations and maintenance.

Pima County Regional Green Building Program/Net Zero Energy Building Standard

Pima County Development Services is the only government agency awarded a LEED for Homes providership by USGBC.


Las Vegas, Nevada amendments to the IECC

Adopted by City of Las Vegas April 2011

Clark County Sustainable Communities Pilot Project

This pilot created an ordinance that allows projects pursuing the Living Building Challenge to bypass more traditional local codes that might prohibit innovative or green design features.

City of Bellingham – Installation of PV Panels on One and Two Family Dwellings

The purpose of this policy is to assist and encourage private electric generation capability while assuring such electric generation capability does not create structural, fire, or life safety hazards.

Adopted by City of Bellingham Feb. 2010

City of Bellingham – Installation of Waterless Urinals

The purpose of this policy is to enhance water conservation efforts by providing a means for the installation of waterless urinals.

Adopted by City of Bellingham Feb. 2010

City of Bellingham – Installation of Composting Toilets

The purpose of this policy is to clarify the requirements for composting toilets.

Adopted by City of Bellingham Feb. 2010

City of Bellingham – Installation of Solar Water Heating Systems

The purpose of this policy is to clarify permitting and installation requirements for solar water heating systems.

Adopted by City of Bellingham Feb. 2010

Pinoleville Pomo Nation – Tribal Building Code

The PPN worked with the US EPA and DCAT to create this framework for Tribal building codes.  It is a detailed plan establishing a green building code to be used within the jurisdiction of the reservation.

Sector-Specific Standards


Programs, Initiatives and Incentives

Built Green Washington

A nonprofit cooperative representing local Built Green programs throughout the state of Washington. Built Green programs have been serving as a resource for Washington homebuilders and homeowners since 1996 and are among the most respected local green building programs in the nation.

Earth Advantage

Earth Advantage is an Oregon-based not-for-profit organization that developed a residential new construction, remodel, and sustainable community certification system. You can see homes rated using system in Southwest Washington and throughout Oregon.

Evergreen Sustainable Development Standard

The Evergreen Sustainable Development Standard (ESDS) was developed by the Housing Trust Fund (HTF) at the Department of Commerce using outside experts and stakeholder review. ESDS is based on Green CommunitiesTM which was created by Enterprise Community Partners, a national non-profit, to support the development of green affordable housing. The Evergreen Standard sets a minimum level of sustainable performance for HTF projects designed to meet the requirements of RCW 39.35D.080

High-Performance School Buildings Program

The Washington Sustainable Schools Protocol is a tool that allows designers to plan a high-performance school while considering the regional, district, and site-specific possibilities and constraints for each project.

Dept of Ecology – Green Building Program – Case Studies

As the number of residential and commercial green buildings increases, more data becomes available about cost, long-term environmental performance, and occupant satisfaction. Numerous case studies have been published online or in books, journals and trade magazines. These studies focus on different aspects of green building performance, construction practices, and lessons learned.

Online Code and Environment Advocacy Network

OCEAN is an interactive resource designed to share experiences, best practices, educational resources, and news about building energy codes. By creating a virtual community, OCEAN enables stakeholders to discuss and learn about code issues, connect to trainers and educators, and find policies and program ideas that can serve as models.


The REGREEN program was created through a partnership between the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) Foundation and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The scope of REGREEN emerged from conversations occurring among a variety of residential building experts convened at the Pocantico Conference Center of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund in April of 2007.

Portland High Performance Green Building Policy – Bureau of Planning and Sustainability

Through partnerships and collaboration, BPS provides: Citywide strategic and comprehensive land use planning; neighborhood, district, economic, historic and environmental research, planning and urban design; policy and services to advance energy efficiency, green building, waste reduction, composting and recycling, solar and renewable energy use, and local sustainable food production; as well as actions to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

Portland Alternate Technology Advisory Committee

As part of Portland’s Bureau of Development Services, the Alternative Technology Advisory Committee reviews sustainable technologies to help applicants utilize innovative products and construction methods that don’t meet prescriptive building code requirements, or haven’t been tested by a code-approved agency.

Priority Green – City of Seattle

The Seattle Dept of Planning and Development has adopted a new permitting process for Single- Family, Multi-Family, and Non-Residential projects that meet typical green building standards.  This program expedites the permit review for projects that meet certain green criteria.

Green Tools – King County

The GreenTools program is designed to help all King County stakeholders green their built environment while addressing critical environmental issues, such as global warming, critical habitat restoration and solid waste reduction. GreenTools provides technical assistance, grants and hands-on training to help users create green projects efficiently and effectively.

This site will serve as a resource for all kinds of green building information ranging from case studies to technical references. You will find information on green building certification programs, construction and demolition recycling and reuse, deconstruction techniques, incentives to build green, and much more

Green Building Program – City of Kirkland

The City’s Green Building Program was established in 2008, including expedited permit review for new single family residences when they are built green, free green building consultations and a green team to answer questions about building green, in the design phase or already under construction.  The program provides educational resources on their website and free green building seminars to the public.  The City successfully implemented “green codes” directly into zoning code in 2012.

Green Building & Green Infrastructure Incentive Program – City of Redmond

The City of Redmond is offering a voluntary program that offers priority review for all residential applicants that build green.  The City’s Green Core Committee provides assistance to customers to help them in building green at every step of the way.  They also have a The Green Building and Green Infrastructure Incentive Program encourages developers and homebuilders to incorporate green building and green infrastructure techniques, including low impact development techniques, into new residential developments.

Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance – Codes and Standards Program

NEEA’s work in building energy codes is part of a comprehensive market strategy to ensure building code requirements are based on measures that have become common practice through the region’s voluntary energy efficiency initiatives like NEEA’s Northwest ENERGY STAR Homes initiative. Once the market is in a position to embrace more stringent codes, NEEA advocates for more stringent codes in state and federal code adoption processes and also provides education and training to help increase compliance with new and existing codes.

WA State Buliding Codes Council – Green Building Technical Advisory Group (TAG)

New Buildings Institute – Codes and Policy Program

NBI is deeply involved in development of new codes, standards and policies that advance the most advanced high-performance technologies a process of updating energy codes to match advances in building science and construction practices. .  They do this by developing model codes including the energy section of the International Green Construction Code; by developing advanced code content, making it available nationwide, and working with jurisdictions and utilities to implement it through stretch codes and voluntary utility programs; helping move energy codes toward an outcome-based code strategy by promoting standards and protocols that result in more accurate modeling results for predicting the energy performance of buildings; and by promoting policies and programs to improve the landscape for Zero Net Energy (ZNE) buildings.