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Green building pilot offers faster permit review by new staff team

Posted: March 1, 2010 3:34:12 PM PST

Today the City of Bellingham's Permit Center launched a seven-month pilot program to encourage and support green building projects by reducing building permit review time for certified green projects and assigning them to a new Green Project Review Team.  

"The City is committed to promoting sustainability by supporting projects that conserve resources and minimize impact on the environment. This pilot promotes green building projects by providing incentives at the permitting stage," said Jim Tinner, City Building Official. 

The pilot program - known internally as the "Bin-Bump-Up" program - will decrease standard permit review time-lines for eligible projects by one "bump-up." For example, a project that typically would be eligible for 28-day review will be "bumped-up" to a seven-day review, if it meets all applicable requirements, Tinner said.  He said these projects also will be eligible to schedule one “integrated design” meeting with the City's new Green Project Review Team, to identify potential code conflicts between the project’s concepts and City building codes.

Tinner said the pilot project has been coordinated with the Building Industry Association of Whatcom County's Built Green Program, with support from Sustainable Connections

These incentives will be offered for new buildings and residences that achieve either a Building Industry Association of Whatcom County (BIA) Built Green 4- or 5-star standard or a U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) LEED Gold  or Platinum standard. Project registration with the BIA or the USGBC is necessary to be eligible and third party verification will be required at the time of project completion to ensure that the project was built to the eligibility threshold.    Other equivalent green programs may be eligible, as determined by the City's Planning Director or Building Official. 

The pilot will conclude on October 31. Tinner said City officials will use the experience gained through the pilot project to create permanent policies to encourage green building, and added that this is the first of several 2010 initiatives aimed to increase conservation, energy efficiency and green building. 

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Media Contact:
Nicole Oliver, Communication Coordinator
Planning & Community Development

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