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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.

King County - Seattle Brownfields Program 
Provides assistance to small businesses and property owners for the assessment, cleanup and redevelopment of environmentally contaminated land in King County and the City of Seattle.

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.

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.

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

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 change response

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.

Erosion and sediment control 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.

Lower Boise Creek Habitat Restoration Project
Overview of a LEED platinum rated project to remove contamination and restore a creek to create salmon spawning habitat near Enumclaw.

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

Oct. 13, 2019
External article, Seattle Times
Ask An Expert | How does the Puget Sound transit system compare to other cities across the U.S.?

Oct. 12, 2019
External report, KING5 News
King County wants your input for the 2020 Strategic Climate Action Plan

Oct. 9, 2019
External article, Pew
Climate Readiness Plan: Just (Let the Rivers) Go With the Flow 

Oct. 3, 2019
External article, GeekWire
Washington state and B.C. launch Joint Clean Grid Initiative to align renewable energy transition

Sep. 28, 2019
External article, GeekWire
Seattle City Light unveils strategy to handle expected surge in electric vehicles

Aug. 12, 2019
External article, Crosscut
Council promises Seattle its own Green New Deal

Aug. 10, 2019
External article, Renton Reporter
Growth is inevitable, but where is it going?

Jul. 16, 2019
External article, MyNorthwest
Northwest is closer to getting ultra high speed rail between BC, Seattle, and Portland

Jul. 15, 2019
External article, Issaquah Reporter
Issaquah begins long-term planning for the future of parks

Jun. 27, 2019
Executive Constantine triples down on open space protection, takes action ensure greenspace access for all King County residents

Jun. 26, 2019
King County Metro identifies candidate sites for a new all-electric battery bus base in south King County 

Jun. 16, 2019
External report, KOMO News
Meet the 'Green Fleet': Seattle's eco-friendly garbage trucks

May 9, 2019
External article, Seattle Times
Governor Inslee signs bills bringing Washington state closer to zero-carbon electricity

» Archived news and announcements