GreenTools for City Government
The GreenTools Sustainable Cities Program provides resources for King County jurisdictions and unincorporated areas to achieve economic, environmental and social objectives through green building, green infrastructure, and sustainability-focused planning and programming.
City governments enable green building practices and provide guidelines and incentives for the private sector. Sustainable Cities must lead by example and work collaboratively with regional partners. King County Cities can individually and collectively set progressive objectives for sustainable development, leveraging the collective influence of the Cities to influence policymakers and pursue funding sources.
"A sustainable community is one that works harmoniously to create a balance between equity for people, economy and environment. The community uses its resources to meet current needs while benefiting future generations. We conserve natural resources and their richness through prioritizing human health, eliminating waste, preventing pollution, maximizing conservation and promoting prosperity in our local living economy." – King County GreenTools, Earth Day 2010
The Sustainable Cities Toolkit2 is a web-based network of tools, resources, examples and a peer-to-peer networking forum to support a municipality’s role in making green building a priority and a reality. Toolkit2 is a resource for the community of local governments dedicated to advancement of green design and construction, sustainability planning, and climate change initiatives. Toolkit2 includes the following resources:
The Roadmap to a Sustainable Built Environment helps cities take an important step toward becoming sustainable, by creating a green building program and systematically setting objectives for improving the environmental performance of the built environment. The Roadmap was developed in collaboration with the Sustainable Cities Roundtable; a coalition of King County jurisdictions.
Looking for a shortcut? This 2-page document (PDF, 170 K) cuts to the chase and offers 12 Essential Actions for starting, implementing and maintaining a municipal green building program. Start with these suggested actions to quickly make early planning decisions and use them as a starting point for your municipality’s customized roadmap, adding actions as your program develops.
The Sustainable Cities Roundtable is a series of training sessions, peer to peer discussions and workshops dedicated to green building and climate change focused policy and programming priorities for the county and cities in King County. The Roundtable is a forum for learning and a platform for collaboration
The Roundtable series is cohosted by the King County GreenTools Program and the King County-Cities Climate Collaboration. All King County cities are encouraged to join the Collaboration, a voluntary partnership between the County and its cities, The Collaboration is focused on supporting and enhancing projects and programs in focus areas such as energy efficiency, renewable energy, sustainability outreach and education, and alternative transportation.
There are many critical areas of municipal green building policy: incentives, policies on municipal buildings, policies for private buildings, staff support (including technical assistance as well as fast tracking) for green building permit-seekers, code work and education of civic officials to ensure that green buildings are legal and encouraged, among many others. This page provides resources to guide green building policy development. Learn more: Green Building Ordinances and Policies.
Questions to Consider
- Where can I get help understanding building codes and standards?
- Are there tools for designing building that go beyond code?
- What are the benefits of building certification and rating systems?
- Learn more: Green Building and Land Use Codes.
- Built Green™
Built Green is a residential green building program of the Master Builders Association developed in partnership with King and Snohomish Counties. The program provides builders, developers and consumers with easy-to-understand rating systems that quantify environmentally preferable building practices for the remodeling or construction of homes, multi-family units, and community developments. Based on the green building scores received, a home is classified as a three-, four- or five-star Built Green project or if designing to net zero energy standards “z-star”. Built Green is the only certification that has a checklist for all types of green construction from full community certification to energy retrofits.
- Living Building Challenge v2.0
Living Building Challenge 2.0 (external) is a standard that draws from sustainability strategies proven across diverse sectors, such as architecture, engineering, planning, landscape design and policy. The LBC challenges building professionals to ask the question: What if every single act of design and construction made the world a better place?
- LEED for Neighborhood Design
The LEED for Neighborhood Development Rating System integrates the principles of smart growth, urbanism and green building into the first national system for neighborhood design. LEED certification provides independent, third-party verification that a development's location and design meet accepted high levels of environmentally responsible, sustainable development. LEED for Neighborhood Development is collaboration among USGBC (external), Congress for the New Urbanism (external), and the Natural Resources Defense Council (external).
- ICLEI Star Community Index
The STAR Community Index (external) is a national, consensus-based framework for gauging the sustainability and livability of U.S. communities. STAR is being developed through a partnership between ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI), the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), and the Center for American Progress (CAP). Much as LEED™ transformed the building industry, STAR is intended to transform the way local governments set priorities and implement policies and practices to improve their sustainability performance.
- Questions to Consider:
top of page