Exemplary Buildings Program

Housing affordability and availability is a critical issue in our region. As such, many social and financial challenges can often disincentive organizations from going beyond code to exemplary green building. HDC and our partners work to emphasize the lifecycle implications of reduced energy and water bills, and reduced exposure to toxins. Our members are on the cutting edge, directly confronting the tension between balancing upfront costs and creating durable homes as permanent, affordable assets to our communities.

Leading the work, is our Exemplary Building Program (EBP) that aims to transform the affordable housing market, making it possible to standardize the construction of “ultra-efficient buildings.

In this way, our developers, residents, and communities realize long-term economic and health benefits while reducing our environmental impacts. For more information, visit our EBP-specific website, or email Loren Tierney.

Building Performance Standards

Building performance standards (BPS) are energy or emissions targets that existing buildings must meet over time to improve energy efficiency and reduce climate impacts. The 2021 Climate Executive Order directed OSE to create legislation for carbon-based BPS for existing commercial and multifamily buildings 20,000 square feet and larger.

This order presents a great opportunity to improve the efficiency, comfort, and safety of our multi-family affordable housing, but it will also bring additional costs and challenges.

HDC is seeking to ensure that the city’s policy process is informed by recommendations that deliver options to lower upfront and operating costs for affordable housing while addressing the climate crisis and improving resilience as we create, operate, and maintain housing for low-income households. Learn more about our Building Performance Standards and Task Force work.


HDC and our members also recognize, engage with, and support a number of other programs that align and/or overlap with our sustainability efforts across the regions:

Shift Zero
Shift Zero is a Zero Net Carbon building alliance made up of green building, climate action, and equity-focused organizations (including HDC), which has coalesced around common ground (concern about the climate crisis) to work for common cause (zero net carbon building for all communities) with the power of collective voice. The Alliance focuses on initiatives that are ambitious, scalable, equitable, and quantifiable, helping to shape policymaking at local cities, counties, the Washington State Housing Finance Commission, and State of Washington.