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Evergreen Sustainable Development Standard for Affordable Housing

Local Government
State Government
Multifamily Residential
Savings Category 
Solar Water Heat
Solar Photovoltaics
Clothes Washers
Water Heaters
Heat Pumps
Air conditioners
Duct/Air sealing
Building Insulation
Comprehensive Measures/Whole Building
Program Info
Sector Name 
Washington Department of Commerce
Program Type 
Green Building Incentive
The Washington State Department of Commerce created the Evergreen Sustainable Development Standard, a set of green building criteria that is required for any affordable housing project applying for state funds through the Washington State Housing Trust Fund (HTF) beginning in July 2008. The standard is based on a point system which awards points for a variety of sustainable building practices including:

  • Site location and neighborhood planning;
  • Water conservation;
  • Energy efficiency and the incorporation of renewable energy technologies; and
  • Environmentally-conscious construction practices, building materials and improved indoor-air quality.

All projects must comply with all mandatory measures. New construction must also earn a minimum of 50 points from the optional measures, and rehabilitation projects must earn 40 points from the optional measures. Optional measures are assigned a point value that can range from 1 point (e.g., for designing a building solar-ready) to 15 points (e.g., for achieving greater points for energy efficiency under Washington State's Energy Code). Installing a solar photovoltaic system can earn up to 5 points. Solar water heaters that meet certain design criteria and provide 50% of the total water heating needs of a house can earn 10 points.

In addition to these optional measures, there are a variety of mandatory measures and equipment requirements which have to be met. The mandatory elements span the range of sustainable building categories and the program guidelines provide full details. Affordable housing projects constructed without state funds do not need to comply with this code, but any project that receives funding must comply with the Evergreen Standard as of July 1, 2008.