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Thurston County Activities Related to Climate Change

Green Building and Development

This page provides an overview of the Green Building and Development Program, the second element of Thurston County's Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy.

This element seeks to reduce green house gas emissions from new and remodeled residential and commercial construction. Among other things, it involves amending Thurston County’s development codes to accomplish greater energy efficiency and conservation in new construction projects within unincorporated Thurston County. (Cities enforce their own standards for projects within their borders.)


Thurston County has developed a work plan for developing and implementing green building codes. As part of the work plan, Thurston County conducted a 21-question survey to solicit input from people involved within the building industry of Thurston County. The survey was conducted between February 30, 2009 and January 15, 2010. The intent of the survey was to identify any barriers to building green within Thurston County development codes and to find ways to increase building site recycling. The questions focused on types of green programs and techniques the participants were familiar with, how they educated themselves in using green techniques, and what incentives they believed would promote more green building and job site recycling.

house photoBased on the survey results and extensive research, Thurston County developed the following tables:

Thurston County planners are continuing to achieve objectives in the work plan, with funding from the first installment of an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant awarded to Thurston County.

With the second grant installment, Thurston County will move to the next phase: implementing the plan. Measures will include:

  • Reviewing development applications to ensure that they meet the forthcoming Green Building codes.
  • Performing structural and site inspections.
  • Pursuing enforcement actions.

The “Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant” program is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and is administered by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Stakeholders Group

A 15-member Green Building Stakeholder Group has been formed from the private sector (including developers, architects, engineers, affordable housing developers and green building advocates) to participate in a series of meetings and workshops. The stakeholders group is comprised of subject matter experts within the local green development building industry. The intent and purpose of the stakeholders group is to find and eliminate the barriers within existing county code to energy efficiency and green development. Also, to draft energy efficiency code that seeks the greatest possible reduction in green house gases and promotes sustainable development.


The Green Building and Development Program seeks to:

  • Make green building and development the standard practice for Thurston County.
  • Reduce energy use in new and remodeled residential and commercial development.
  • Assist in development of green building expertise in the consultant, vendor, and contractor communities.
  • Reduce green house gas emissions from new and remodeled residential and commercial construction.

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