Living Building Pilot Program

The City of Seattle recently renewed its Living Building Pilot program. The Living Building Challenge is a green building certification program based around the idea that buildings can give more to the environment than they take.

Within the pilot program, developers can elect to achieve a partial or full certification. In both instances, owners can request departures from the Seattle Land Use Code, receiving height and floor area incentives.

Called the “Petal Recognition certification,” the partial certification requires teams to achieve at least three of seven sustainability categories, or “petals,” with at least one being energy, water, or materials. The other four petals are place, health and happiness, equity, and beauty. To achieve the energy petal, a building must reduce its total energy usage by 25 percent or more. For the water petal, they must use only non-potable water.

The materials petal requirement is complex but attainable. For this petal, building materials cannot contain any chemicals listed in the Red List™, which has been a major focus of research for Sellen over the past few years. Led by Sustainability Program Manager Jennifer Frey and Post Construction Manager Alexis Thompson, Sellen has coordinated with hundreds of manufacturers to obtain statements of products’ compliance with the Red List™ so designers can make more informed product selections that achieve the materials petal.

Our research continues to collect other environmental declarations to round out our focus on delivering healthy spaces, while also positioning clients to achieve credits in other sustainability certification programs, including LEED version 4.

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