Green Tools

The City of Tacoma encourages and supports green building practices through a collaboration between the Office of Environmental Policy & Sustainability, Planning & Development Services, Community & Economic Development, and Tacoma Public Utilities.

In the U.S., 43% of carbon emissions and 40% of total energy use is attributed to the construction and operation of buildings (U.S. Dept. of Energy). Building “green” is an approach that uses natural resources efficiently while creating quality buildings that improve human health, support a better environment and provide cost savings. This is achieved through using premium building materials, reducing energy and water use throughout a building’s life-cycle from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation and deconstruction.


City of Tacoma Green Building Resources

Certification Programs

  • Built Green (Washington) – a residential green building program of the Master Builders Association developed in partnership with King and Snohomish Counties.
  • Energy Star – product labeling through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency focused on quality, performance and energy savings.
  • Enterprise Green Communities – national green building program designed explicitly for the affordable housing sector.
  • Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for Homes – a national rating system that promotes the design and construction of high-performance homes and buildings.
  • Living Building Challenge – a regenerative focused program that consists of seven performance categories including place, water, energy, health & happiness, materials, equity and beauty.
  • National Green Building Standard – a third-party verification program for homes, apartment buildings, or land development focused on achieving high performance in six key areas: site design, resource efficiency, water efficiency, energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality, and building operation & maintenance.
  • Passive House – a voluntary standard for energy efficiency in a building, which reduces the building’s ecological footprint. It results in ultra-low energy buildings that require little energy for space heating or cooling.

Local Case Studies

  • Center for Urban Waters – a 51,000 square-foot office and laboratory LEED® Platinum-certified building showcasing the City of Tacoma’s commitment to sustainable building practices and energy conservation.
  • City of Tacoma – Public Buildings Portfolio Management – provides public building decision makers and market actors with key information and an actionable framework to turn broader performance and leadership goals into measurable energy savings outcomes in public buildings and schools.
  • Habitat for Humanity Woods Development – a sustainable community of 30 homes built in 2013; this case study highlights performance and costs of ductless heat pumps in marine climate high-performance homes.
  • Joint Base Lewis McChord – highlights training and planning for energy-efficiency and integrated control systems for new construction and existing buildings on base.
  • Metro Parks Tacoma Eastside Community Center – LEED® certified building that uses cross-laminated timber (CLT).
  • Pacific Plaza Building – a 250,000 square foot LEED® Platinum certified building that was developed through a unique public-private partnership; incorporates multiple energy efficient and environmentally sustainable features including a green roof.
  • Tacoma Community College Early Learning Center – this 13,000 square-foot building received LEED® Gold certification.
  • UW-Tacoma Joy Building – this historic renovation project received LEED® Platinum certification.
  • Whirlpool Warehouse (Pierce County) – the energy-efficient design of a new 890,000 square-foot warehouse that achieved LEED® Gold certification.


Construction & Demolition

Energy Efficiency/Incentives

Water Conservation/Incentives

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