The UW is in the process of updating its existing Green Building Standards in partnership with consultant O’Brien360; a project which will be complete this winter. This tricampus effort has engaged all self-sustaining units and various subject matter experts including UW faculty, staff, students, and private sector stakeholders. Facilities recognized the need to update the existing Green Building Standard to be more robust, and specifically address building renovation and building system replacements in addition to new construction. More specifically, the updated Green Building Standard presents significant opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (both operational emissions and embodied emissions). The new Green Building Standards are expected to be finalized in Spring or Summer 2024.

The new standard will expand what is covered, to include: 
  • New construction/major renovation
  • Partial renovations and interior projects
  • System upgrades
  • Non-energy projects

It will also expand the scope of what is covered, requiring:

  • LEED Gold Certification
  • New UW LEED Scorecard with minimum pre-requisites beyond LEED pre-requisites
  • No new fossil fuels
  • Life cycle cost assessment (LCCA) required
  • Must hit specific targets for energy, water, embodied carbon

Current standards

I. Purpose

The University of Washington is a leader in sustainability and committed to implementing best practices in environmentally responsible construction for every new building and major capital renovation1. Major capital renovations include all projects that are $5M and above. Pursuant to the UW Climate Action Plan established in 2009, this Green Building Standard ensures project teams have the necessary information to manage all capital projects to achieve our sustainability goals, track progress towards those goals and communicate with stakeholders about these efforts.

II. Targets and Performance Metrics

During the project definition phase, it is important to identify a series of measurable targets specific to the project and track progress against them. Select key indicators of success at two levels; campus-wide and site specific. Minimum targets are identified below:

Overall Sustainability Rating: LEED Gold certified is the minimum target using the most current LEED standard. Seattle’s Living Building Pilot Program (petals) is an acceptable substitute for LEED. Additional project-program specific certifications (WELL, Fitwel, Passive House, etc.) are also encouraged as a way to improve overall sustainability.

Energy Efficiency: Design to reduce energy use with a minimum threshold of 15% more efficient than the local city code. (Exceptions to meeting the Energy Efficiency target are subject to review and approval by the UW Environmental Stewardship Committee Chair.)

Potable Water: Using current code as a baselines, design to achieve at least 50% reduction for indoor and outdoor potable water use.

III. Quarterly Report-out

Each project will include a brief status update on the progress of implementing the UW Green Building Standard for each project and will be submitted to the AVP of Asset Management and Sustainability.