What is Priority Green Expedited?
- A program through the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI) that provides faster permitting in exchange for building a green home. Eligible projects have the option to use one of several green building ratings including Built Green, LEED, Living Building Challenge or Passive House. Also, SDCI can offer their own Alternative Path for small residential projects. The program was originally launched in 2009 and has processed over 700 building permit applications.
What is required for Priority Green Expedited- Built Green Projects?
- Certified Built Green 4-star (minimum)
- Unit size under 2200 sq. ft. (heated floor area measured from interior wall)
- Exception for unit size under 4000 sq. ft. for achieving Built Green 5-star PLUS Built Green Emerald Star Material requirements.
- WaterSense plumbing fixtures
- Low VOC paints, adhesives, caulk, floor finishes and sealant
What are the benefits of Priority Green Expedited?
“Priority Green offers many benefits to the permit applicant. Single point of contact provides a person to call when issues arise or you want to know the status of your permit. Faster processing and review of your permit saves time during the entire permit cycle. SDCI strives to shorten initial plan review by at least 4 weeks for projects subject to the Seattle Residential Code. (And by at least 2 weeks for projects subject to the Seattle Building Code.)
SDCI measures the time it takes to complete our initial plan review (for complex “Full C” reviews) with a goal for completion of 8 weeks. Data from 2015 shows that most Non Priority Green initial plan reviews were completed in 11 weeks primarily because of the high volumes of permit activity. However, most Priority Green initial plan reviews were completed 6 weeks faster in 2015 (For larger projects subject to the Seattle Building Code, they were completed 3 weeks faster). Check out the current Priority Green performance for yourself here. Corrected plan review cycles do get done faster, but the majority of time savings is gained on the initial cycle.
The best approach is to submit complete plans, quickly and comprehensively respond to corrections and reduce the number of corrected plan review cycles. Each correction cycle adds time and devalues the huge time savings during initial plan review.”
– As described by Jess Harris, the Priority Green Program Manager
What is our process (assuming Built Green 4-star)?
- We gather a few things:
- Plans – we work with architects to get these. They are used for finding the Conditioned Floor Area for our verifier letter (see below) and to see what the project looks like.
- A Priority Green application form This explains the process, what documentation is needed, and gives the SDCI key important features for their side of the process.
- The preliminary Built Green checklist,
- Work with us to fill out our Built Green “smart” checklist. It lists a number of requirements for the project to be 4-star, and then a long “menu” of credits that you choose for your project. A project needs at least 400 points to be Built Green 4-star.
- A Built Green ID#
- 1 – If your company is not yet a member of Built Green,apply to be a member.
- 2 –Enroll the project in the Built Green program, listing Evergreen Certified as your verifier. We will send you a partially filled out enrollment form, which you can then add payment information onto before sending to Built Green.
- We create a Priority Green Verifier Letter and send it to the SDCI.
- This has a few things on it: the unit square footages, permitting numbers, the number of points earned on the preliminary checklist, and who the builder is.
- SDCI requires us to provide all of this documentation to them two weeks before the construction intake date of your project, so they have time for processing. This means that you need to get started early! Make sure that you are on top of the project ahead of time, and that you give yourself enough time to fill out all the necessary paperwork.
- Built Green also requires a week to process enrollments – this means you need to add another week onto how early we need to be contacted. If the person enrolling the project is not a member of Built Green, even more time is needed!
Evergreen Certified truly believes in the Priority Green program. It’s a great way to save time, something we know all builders can benefit from. When you work with us to use Priority Green you have the added benefit of having a single point-of-contact for the process. We facilitate communications between the architect, builder, and the city, and make getting a permit as pain-free as possible.