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Energy conservation and generation

Green tools
Comprehensive resources to help professional builders recycle, reduce waste, save money, and get recognition for embracing sustainable building practices in King County.

Green Bonds
Financial investments that fund projects that reduce climate pollution and improve water quality in King County.

King County building permits 
Find information about building permits and environmental review for developers working on building projects in King County, provided by the Department of Local Services (formerly Dept. of Permits and Environmental Review).
Zero-energy, carbon neutral townhouses in Issaquah

Native plant resources for the Pacific Northwest
Find out how to use and where to order native plants that are adapted to thrive in our area. Landscape designs using native plants are beautiful, resist diseases and pests, create habitat for native wildlife and help reduce water consumption, saving homeowners money.

Transfer of development rights program 
Learn how individuals can buy and sell residential development rights to preserve public benefits-- for example farms, forestlands, open space, regional trails and designated urban separator lands and habitat for threatened or endangered species. Owners benefit financially through the transfer of development rights to more appropriate areas while the public benefits through permanent preservation of these lands.

Resource protection incentives 
Apply for tax reductions in rural King County in exchange for practices that benefit public interests. Includes the public benefit rating system (or PBRS) and timber land program.

Surface water management fee discounts and cost-sharing program 
Reduce your SWM fee by applying sustainable building practices that reduce and cleanse your stormwater.

King County surface water design manual 
Supporting documents and software to help engineers design storm drainage systems that cleanse stormwater and reduce flooding problems for downstream neighbors. Architectural tips to help design attractive stormwater ponds can be found by reading the Integrated Pond.

Stormwater pollution prevention manual 
Look up best practices to apply on business and multifamily lands to help control stormwater pollution, to avoid fouling lakes, streams and Puget Sound.

Puget Sound shoreline stewardship guidebook 
Provides info and contacts for owners of beach and bluff shorelines to learn about natural shoreline protection, manage runoff, use native plants, control aggressive non-native plants, and maintain septic systems.

Rural stewardship planning 
Rural homeowners in King County can receive free technical assistance with site design and property management practices to achieve more flexibility in development and resource protection on their property.

What do I do with...?
Find recycling and disposal options for common materials including construction leftovers, demolition debris, landscaping waste, and appliances.

Resource recovery
Overview of King County's work to recover resources from waste as part of clean water processing.

  • Garden compost
    Overview of GroCo, a high-quality soil amendment including scientific analysis and where to find it.
  • Reclaimed water
    Purified water from the wastewater stream available for reuse in non-potable applications such as irrigation and industrial processes.

DNRP KingStat
Look up the current status of the environment in King County, Washington, learn how King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks works to improve environmental indicators, learn how you can help, and review the department's performance measures.

Safe Energy Leadership Alliance (SELA) 
Coalition of local, state and tribal leaders working to raise awareness about safety risks from oil and coal transportation.

Infographic: learn about King County's efforts to confront climate change

King County climate action

Local governments and sustainability: examples from King County, Washington (Chinese)
Local Governments and Sustainability: Examples from King County, Washington
(Acrobat pdf)
Presentation by Bob Burns, deputy director of King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks at the China-US Professional Workshop on Regional Sustainable Development (external link), University of Washington in Seattle.

Construction Stormwater Pollution Prevention Standards
Appendix D of the King County Surface Water Design Manual. 1 MB Adobe Acrobat file.

History of King County's regional wastewater treatment utility
Read how our region worked to keep our lakes and Puget Sound clean and healthy, including the early days of sewage treatment and disposal in King County, the birth of Metro and development of regional facilities to process the waste produced by our metropolitan area.

Habitat restoration projects
Projects undertaken by King County to restore the health of rivers, streams and Puget Sound for endangered and other species.

King County Comprehensive Plan
Read the policies that guide King County land use and development regulations, and regional services such as transit, sewers, parks, trails and open space.

Shoreline Management Program
Learn about King County's program to protect shorelines, promote public access, and establish land use priorities for shorelines of Puget Sound, large rivers and lakes.

Wetland information
Comprehensive resources related to wetlands in King County including info on the importance of wetlands, map resources, development regulations, and programs.

Flood buyout and home elevation program
This page answers frequently asked questions about King County's program to buy out flood-prone houses and provide homeowner assistance in having homes elevated. The page also provides information about related programs that can help homeowners affected by flooding.

Sustainability-related organizations

Sustainable Building Practices

Sustainable or green building practices cover all aspects of building, including:

  • land preparation
  • materials selection
  • life-cycle of the building (construction, operation and maintenance, demolition)

Sustainable building includes such practices as

  • redevelopment of inefficiently designed or environmentally damaged sites
  • job-site recycling of construction materials
  • native vegetation landscapes
  • stream and wetland protection and restoration
  • natural drainage
  • energy and water efficiency
  • low toxicity materials
  • use of recycled materials
  • reduced use of land and materials
  • design for re-use
  • revitalization of decayed areas to improve residents' quality of life

News and announcements

Feb. 24, 2020
External article, Seattle Times
In your travels and at home, channel climate-change anxiety into action

Feb. 24, 2020
External article, International Examiner
Financial barriers for solar power lowered for King County families thanks to multicultural project focused on environmental justice

Feb. 20, 2020
External article, Seattle Times
Washington state agency releases climate-change plan, with calls for more renewable projects

Jan. 30, 2020
Executive Constantine announces purchase of up to 120 battery-electric buses from New Flyer of America, Inc.

Jan. 21, 2020
External report, GeekWire
Seattle startup Nori raises cash for blockchain marketplace to fight climate change 

Jan. 21, 2020
External article, Crosscut
Lawmakers urge fish-friendly fixes to seaside properties 

Jan. 16, 2020
External article, Seattle Times
Microsoft makes big push to tackle climate change, vowing to be ‘carbon negative’ by 2030

Jan. 15, 2020
External feature, Seattle Times
We have the know-how and no time to waste to save Puget Sound 

Jan. 15, 2020
External voices, Seattle Times
Readers’ personal climate actions: Hybrid cars, solar energy, diet changes, lobbying and more 

Jan. 13, 2020
External article, Enumclaw Courier-Herald
Meet the group trying to electrify America’s railroads 

Jan. 9, 2020
External article, Sightline Institute
King County’s Unexpected Opportunity to Stop Fracked Gas

Jan. 8, 2020
External article, Seattle Times
Seattle will get city-owned buildings off fossil fuels, Mayor Durkan says

King County 30 Year Forest Plan
Please answer a brief survey to help prioritize actions over the coming decades. 

Dec. 9, 2019
External article, MyNorthwest
Study: Seattle ranked 7th nationally in urban sustainability

Dec. 6, 2019
External article, Puget Sound Business Journal
Opinion: Resiliency is critical for Washington's transportation system 

Nov. 21, 2019
External article, Seattle Times
Seattle sees nation’s biggest drop in solo car commuters as transit, walking surge

Nov. 20, 2019
External article, Yale Climate Connections
In King County, Washington, human waste is a climate solution

Nov. 19, 2019
External report, Seattle Times
Washington’s greenhouse-gas emissions continue to trend higher in latest inventory

Nov. 19, 2019
External report, KOMO News
King County aims to convert to all-electric fleet by 2040, maybe sooner 

Nov. 19, 2019
External report, KOMO News
Waterfront homeowners facing a rising tide over coming century

Nov. 13, 2019
Protected forestland will serve as a new scenic gateway to Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park

» Archived news and announcements