News Analysis

Seattle Bends Rules for "Living Buildings"

A new ordinance in Seattle will pilot-test exemptions for projects attempting to use innovative onsite water and energy strategies that currently run afoul of codes.

The ordinance will allow code exemptions for up to 12 buildings seeking certification through the Living Building Challenge (LBC). The exemptions will allow the buildings to meet LBC prerequisites that require techniques, such as onsite water treatment, that conflict with current land-use and building codes in Seattle (as well as in many other areas of the U.S.). City officials will use the review process to inform future code changes that could make the regulatory landscape friendlier to onsite water and energy strategies.

Published February 1, 2010