Priority Green Expedited - Overview

What is it?

Priority Green- 1506 1st Ave NOur Priority Green Expedited program shortens the time it takes you to get a construction permit in exchange for meeting a green building certification and other criteria. The program sets goals for energy efficiency, embodied carbon, indoor air quality, resource conservation, and lead hazard reduction. 

The program is only applicable to new construction that is considered a complex review under SDCI's permit review categories. Typically, a single-family home or detached accessory dwelling unit will not be able to benefit from Priority Green Expedited.

Visit our Seattle Services Portal Help Center to find frequently asked questions about review status and target dates. 

We give you:

  • A person to contact to solve problems during the review process, provide permit status, and answer questions
  • Faster review of your project plans
    • Our goal is to shorten initial plan review times by at least 50 percent.
    • Our goal is to shorten corrected plan review times by making your project a priority. This means your reviews are completed before other plans that have the same due date. The best practice is for you to eliminate corrections cycles by fully addressing reviewer comments.
    • Priority Green projects save a least 3 months from intake to issuance when compared to similar permits according to SDCI data over the last several years.

Eligibility

To be eligible for Priority Green Expedited, your project must be approved by the SDCI Green Team a minimum of 2 weeks before your construction intake submittal.

  • Validate your environmental goals by using one of the approved green building certifications
  • Shift to clean energy by eliminating fossil fuel in your project
  • Go beyond code by making your project more energy efficient
  • Reduce site impacts related to lead dust during demolition
  • Explore opportunities to reduce waste and save embodied carbon by retaining or deconstructing existing structures
  • Explore opportunities to reduce embodied carbon from building materials by using and advocating for Environmental Product Declarations
  • Reduce refrigerant leaks by meeting our refrigerant management options
  • Create healthy indoor spaces by reducing volatile organic compounds and formaldehyde
  • Reduce material and energy use by meeting our size limits for dwelling units

Green Building Certification

You must enroll or register your project with one of the following organizations and certification levels. Reference Director's Rule 4-2021 for specific program and version information:

Do not install fossil fuel-fired equipment or appliances, including but not limited to residential cooking appliances, clothes dryers, decorative or space heating fireplaces, indoor fire tables, outdoor radiant heaters, space heating appliances, and service water heating appliances. Fossil fuels are permitted to be used for emergency and standby power generators, cooking appliances in commercial kitchens, outdoor barbecues, and outdoor fireplaces, fire tables or fire pits.

Meet site development requirements to reduce lead hazards:

  • If you propose to demolish any existing structures built prior to 1978 to allow new structures, all exterior non-load bearing lead painted materials (typically siding) must be removed and disposed using industry best practices, or the applicant must demonstrate that all exterior lead has been abated or that no exterior lead painted material exists on the structure. These requirements are not intended to diminish or conflict with local, state, or federal law related to lead painted material.
  • Or applicants may choose to mitigate by one of the following methods:
    • Deconstruct or partially deconstruct existing structure(s) to remove a minimum 1,000 board feet of wood material for reuse and minimize the use of heavy equipment that generate dust (e.g., track hoes, excavators, bulldozers). Material may be reused on site, donated or sold for reuse.
    • Retain an existing principal structure as part of the proposed development.
    • Relocate an existing principal structure to another site whether within or outside the city limits.
    • Use at least 500 board feet of salvaged material in the proposed new structure.

The development site requirements do not apply to:

  • Vacant sites that have never been developed with a principal structure.
  • Principal structures that were demolished at least three years prior to a complete Master Use Permit or construction permit application or prior to March 15, 2021. Demolition of principal structures that do not meet this time exception must meet applicable requirements above.
  • The construction of a second accessory dwelling unit.

Reduce energy demand and carbon emissions beyond energy code provisions:

If your project is subject to the Seattle Energy Code residential (provisions SEC-R) you must achieve an additional 12 percent savings beyond code. You can do this by:

  • 2.0 credits in addition to SEC R406 Additional Energy Efficiency requirements for each new single family, two-family, and townhouse dwelling unit
  • 1.0 credit in addition to SEC R406 Additional Energy Efficiency Requirements for each new dwelling unit in an apartment building (R-2 occupancy)y, or
  • You must achieve an additional 6 percent savings beyond code when using the refrigerant management option and:
    • Don't use field refrigerant connections (all refrigerant connections contained within factory-built equipment) and achieve 1.0 credit in addition to SEC R406 Additional Energy Efficiency Requirements for each new single-family, two-family, and townhouse dwelling unit
    • Don't use field refrigerant connections (all refrigerant connections contained within factory-built equipment) and achieve 0.5 credit in addition to SEC R406 Additional Energy Efficiency Requirements for each new dwelling unit in an apartment building (R-2 occupancy)

If your project is subject to the SEC commercial provisions, which are typically buildings over 3 stories high, you must achieve an additional 6 percent energy savings beyond code. 

You can do this by:

  • Adding 6 additional efficiency package credits from SEC C406.1 OR you must achieve 3 percent energy savings beyond code if using the refrigerant management option and you don't use any field refrigerant connections (all refrigerant connections contained within factory-built equipment) and you must achieve 3 additional efficiency package credits from C406.1 OR
  • Meet the energy modeling Targets

Embodied Carbon:

  • Identifying the embodied carbon of your primary building material by providing Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) for structural concrete and primary structural frame for steel

Addressing indoor air quality:

  • Use Low Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) interior paints, adhesives, caulk, floor finishes, and sealant in interior spaces
  • Use No Added Urea Formaldehyde (NAUF) in interior spaces (California Air Resources Board II standard for Formaldehyde emissions is acceptable)

Meeting dwelling unit size limits:

Dwelling units are limited to 2200 SF of conditioned space. Accessory Dwelling units are considered separately. Exception up to 3000 SF if project meets a net zero energy certification and the Built Green Emerald Star materials requirements.

Process

How to submit Priority Green application materials: 

Send your application materials by email to SCIPriorityGreen@Seattle.gov a minimum of 2 weeks before your intake appointment. We'll review your materials and notify you within 2 weeks to confirm your eligibility or to request further information. Below is a list of the documents you will need to apply for Priority Green.

  • A completed Priority Green application signed by the owner
  • Energy Code Prescriptive worksheets or preliminary energy model if using that method

If a Master Use Permit is required, your application must be submitted at least 6 weeks before construction intake, or anticipated construction intake, to allow for the initial review of your land use application prior to your construction review. If your project is subject to Streamlined Design Review, the guidance needs to be published before your construction permit intake can be accepted.

If you need more information on how to apply, watch this Priority Green Application video