Sustainable Energy TrustSustainability Resources for Multifamily Housing

Developing and operating multifamily housing sustainably is easier with support from local jurisdictions and utilities. The incentives for green buildings, energy and water efficiency upgrades and energy benchmarking listed on this page are intended to help property owners and developers overcome barriers to sustainability.


Multifamily New Construction Utility Incentives

The following utility programs offer specific energy efficiency incentives for multifamily new construction projects (program links below). If your project is located outside of these utility service territories, we encourage you to contact your local utility to inquire about custom rebates.

Avista          Cascade Natural Gas          Pacific Power

Puget Sound Energy         Seattle City Light         Snohomish County PUD         Tacoma Public Utilities

Green Building Certification Incentives

Many jurisdictions and utilities encourage green building through incentives and departures from the standard permitting process. Projects built to a number of green building standards can save time and money in the following jurisdictions. We encourage you to inquire with your jurisdiction about incentives for green building.

Jurisdiction Incentive Requirement

City of Seattle

Priority Green Expedited: Faster building permit review and processing for projects that meet green building standards.
Priority Green Facilitated: Streamlined permitting for master use permits for projects that meeting green building standards.
Innovation Advisory Committee: This group of experts will review energy-efficient proposals not covered in the technical codes.
Living Building Pilot: Allows requests for departures from the Seattle Land Use Code through Design Review and offers height and floor area incentives for projects attempting to meet the Living Building Challenge.
Residential Deconstruction: For housing removal, a residential deconstruction permit allows the process to begin before a new building permit for the site is issued. (Deconstruction is taking apart a building in order to save the maximum amount of reusable building materials.)
Zoning Incentives: Provides greater floor area and/or height in certain zones in exchange for meeting green building standards.  The standards are set by Director’s Rule.

Green Expedited: Built Green 4-Star or higher; LEED Gold; PHIUS; Living Building Challenge Petal Recognition; Net Zero Energy Building; Seattle Department of Construction & Inspection Alternative Path AND ≥15% less energy than Seattle Energy Code.Living Building Challenge Petal Recognition or Net Zero Energy Building; OR Seattle Department of Construction and Inspection (SDCI) Alternative Path and at least 15% less energy than Seattle Energy Code (SEC)
Green Facilitated: See Priority Green Expedited, plus Architecture 2030 Challenge for Planning, Built 5-Star, LEED Platinum
Living Building Pilot: Living Building Challenge Certification or Petal Recognition Certification AND Seattle energy and water requirements
Zoning Incentives: Refer toDirector’s Rule 20-2017 Green Building Standard

City of Issaquah

Expedited permitting for green building certification; Stormwater Infiltration Incentive Service charge discounts for developed parcels that infiltrate runoff in a private site stormwater infiltration facility.

Built Green 5-Star; LEED Gold.

City of Kirkland

Expedited permitting for green building certification

Built Green 4-Star or higher; LEED Silver or higher.

City of Redmond

Expedited permitting for green building certification; Unit Type Flexibility; Lot Size Reduction; Density Bonus

Built Green 4-Star or higher; LEED Silver or higher.

City of Shoreline

Expedited permitting and fee waivers or reductions based on project-specific analysis; Departures from Development Code standards for projects to meet certification requirements

Tier 1 – International Building Challenge; Living Community Challenge.
Tier 2 – International Building Challenge Petal Recognition;  Built Green Emerald Star.
Tier 3 – LEED Platinum; Built Green 5-star; International Building Challenge Net Zero Energy Building AND Salmon Safe.

Bonneville Power Administration (BPA)

Energy Efficiency New Multifamily Construction: $350 per multifamily unit 10% above WSEC
Zero Energy Ready New Multifamily Construction: $900 per multifamily unit 25% above WSEC

Energy Efficiency New Multifamily Construction: Built Green 4-Star; US DOE Zero Energy Ready
Zero Energy Ready New Multifamily Construction: Built Green 5-Star; PHIUS; PHI; International Living Future Institute Reveal Label

City of Bellevue

Bonus floor to area ratio (FAR) awarded based on sustainable building certification.

Tier 1: Built Green 5-Star; Living Building Challenge Net Zero Energy; LEED Platinum
Tier 2: Built Green 4-Star; PHIUS; LEED Gold
Other Certifications with expected benefit equal to or in excess of Tier 1 or Tier 2 may be pursued.

Snohomish County PUD

$300 per certified multifamily unit 20% above WSEC

Built Green 4-Star or higher; Living Building Challenge; LEED Gold or Platinum; Living Building Challenge Net Zero Energy Building; PHIUS.

Seattle City Light

Building components that exceed Seattle Energy Code; LEED certified buildings; Townhouse $1,500 per unit rebate

Building Components: New construction multifamily buildings exceeding Seattle Energy Code
LEED Incentives: LEED Certification with energy model showing electric savings (>14% beyond ASHRAE 90.1).
Townhouse: Built Green 4-star or better, uses DHP as the primary heat source.

Cascade Water Alliance (Cities of Bellevue, Issaquah, Kirkland, Redmond and Tukwila)

$1,000 per unit (multifamily and single-family)

Built Green 3-Star or higher AND EPA WaterSense New Homes certification

For additional information on green building resources in King County, visit
This list may not be comprehensive. Please let us know of other local incentives that should be included, via email to


Utilities around the state offer rebates or custom incentives for energy efficiency upgrades at existing buildings. If your local utility does not have specific rebates related to your project, we encourage you to inquire about custom rebates.

Statewide Utility Resources

Efficiency Programs and Rebates by County (Excel)

Additional State and Federal incentives can be found on the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE).  


EZ Retrofit is a free Excel-based tool from the Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future for multifamily property owners and managers to identify cost-effective energy and water efficiency upgrades for their buildings.

EPA’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager is an online tool property owners and managers can use to measure and track energy and water consumption for their buildings.

Puget Sound Energy’s MyData tool provides whole building energy usage data to property owners.

City of Seattle’s Energy Benchmarking Program requires owners of multifamily buildings to track energy performance. The visualization map allows property owners to compare their energy performance with other similar properties in the city.

Energy Savings Performance Contracting from the Washington State Department of Enterprise Services works with state agencies and local government entities to identify and implement existing building energy updates.

Updated 11/2018. The list of resources on this page may not be comprehensive.
Please let us know of other incentives that should be included, via email to


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