With the passage of its Sustainable Communities Ordinance at the end of July, Clark County, Wash., has become the second region in Washington State to establish a pilot program for residential, commercial, and mixed-use projects pursuing the Living Building Challenge. The City of Seattle, who passed a Living Building pilot program in December 2009, was the first. That initiative was comprised of two ordinances, one that created a pilot project to allow for self-sustaining green buildings in Seattle, and another that enhances building design, affordability, landscaping, and environmental standards in Seattle areas zones for mid-rise or high-rise development.

Under the new Clark County pilot program, participants will be eligible for departures from certain land use and development codes that would otherwise impede a project to reach advanced high performance goals. Potential departures include reductions in allotted space for parking, use of alternatives to impervious surfaces, reduced setbacks for rainwater harvesting cisterns, or the use of composting toilets.

The program is a response to analysis concluded by the Cascasdia Green Building Council in 2009 that identified barriers within the county to the Living Building Challenge. Clark County is now accepting pilot program applications. The program has an enrollment period of five years or a total of six projects, and projects built under the program must meet a minimum of 12 imperatives of the Living Building Challenge. For more information, visit clark.wa.gov/environment/sustainability/communities.html