Exemplary Building Task Force

The Facts:

King County needs 156,000 affordable homes right now

We have less than 12 years to act on climate change and cut emissions by 45%

Q: Can we achieve both?

A: Yes! Through Exemplary Building

What is Exemplary Building?

HopeWorks Station II in Everett photo from BDG

An exemplary building is one that is designed to be Zero Net Carbon by 2030. More than that, it’s a building that is highly environmentally efficient, and offers long-term life cycle cost benefits and quality of life benefits for both affordable housing developers and residents as well as for the community at large. The ultra-efficient affordable housing that is the result of exemplary building standards would significantly reduce energy, water consumption, and storm water runoff, which leads to cost saving on utilities and better stewardship of our environment. This happens first through state-of-the-art building design strategies and efficiency measures, then through on-site renewable energy generation and water capture.


Why Exemplary Building?

We live in a social landscape with numerous and sometimes competing pressing needs, which require our urgent action and attention. At the top of this list is the need for more affordable housing and the need to combat climate change to protect our environment. King County, in an effort to address both these urgent issues, rolled out a bold Strategic Climate Action Plan, which includes a goal that all new development achieve Built Green Emerald Star, LEED Platinum, or Living Building Challenge standards, if not Passive House standards, by the year 2030.

Further, Washington State has mandated that by 2031, state energy code must achieve a 70% reduction in net energy consumption.

EBTF January,2019 Convening

In response to these inevitable changing standards, the Housing Development Consortium’s Exemplary Building Task Force is driven by a vision to transform the affordable housing market, today.

Specifically, we want to put the affordable housing community on track to achieve these environmental standards, without impacting the number of homes created. If we work proactively now, and give affordable housing developers the resources (technical assistance, non-housing dollars, partnerships), tools, and motivation they need to build exemplary projects, by 2030 we will have standardized ultra-efficient building construction, thereby reducing up front cost premiums, and making these standards accessible to all builders and projects.


How Do We Get There? We Build for the Future

Building the Future (a coalition of HDC partners and the Exemplary Building Task Force) is a community-wide effort to improve our sector’s capacity to build ultra-efficient buildings, and reduce costs to eliminate the gap between tax credits, incentives, and borrowing on operational savings. This will be accomplished through a collective process of testing, learning, and sharing, while exploring other innovative strategies including offsite construction methods and optimized building units.


If we are to address the urgent need for both more development of affordable housing and better environmental regulation, than we need the funding resources to move this work forward together, rather than competing for the same resources. There is an opportunity to have housing justice and environmental justice be partners for each other’s progress if we invest in them collaboratively rather than competitively.

Q: Is this possible?

A: Yes! Through the shared vision and dedicated work of funders, developers, designers, and other advocates, we can build for the future.