Already one of the more progressive municipalities in the United States in terms of its support of sustainable design, the Seattle City Council is directing its buildings department to look for ways to further its commitment to building more environmentally friendly projects. The city has adopted the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED green-building guidelines for the design of all its municipal buildings.
In February 2000, the city council approved a policy adopting the LEED silver rating level for its capital improvement projects over 5,000 square feet. "Since that time, we've been implementing the policy on a variety of building projects," says Lucia Athens, sustainable design and construction specialist for Seattle Public Utilities. The city is applying the LEED silver standard on about 40 buildings, including its Civic Campus redevelopment, a Rem Koolhaas-designed main library and a police facility.
"A new city council resolution asks us to examine our policy and LEED performance standards we've adopted to see if we've gone far enough," says Athens. LEED standards may soon apply to projects of less than 5,000 square feet. The city also is in the process of revising its energy code to increase its efficiency by 20 percent. The creation of city-funded incentives to encourage sustainable design in the private sector is under study.