Seattle Green Factor

What Is It?

Seattle Green Factor is a score-based code requirement that increases the amount of and improves the quality of landscaping in new development. Landscaping plays an important role in how new development looks and functions. Well-designed landscaping:

  • Improves the look and feel of a neighborhood
  • Reduces stormwater runoff
  • Cools cities during heat waves
  • Provides habitat for birds and beneficial insects
  • Supports adjacent businesses
  • Decreases crime

If your project is required to meet the Seattle Green Factor, you must reach a minimum score established by the zoning of your property. You can choose from a “menu” of landscape credits for various features, including green roofs, rain gardens, vegetated walls, and trees, and shrubs. You can receive bonus credits if you plant along the sidewalk, use native plants, or create a food garden.

For case studies of how the Seattle Green Factor can be applied to a project, see our Seattle Green Factor archive page.

What It Isn't

Green Factor does not cover regulations for neighborhood residential zones and some industrial and downtown zones.

Read the Code

The standards of Seattle Green Factor are established in Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) 23.86.019. Detailed requirements for affected zones are as follows:

  • Commercial and Neighborhood Commercial (NC1, NC2, NC3, C1, C2): Minimum score 0.30 (SMC 23.47A.016
  • Industrial Commercial (IC) within urban village or urban center boundaries: Minimum score 0.30 (SMC 23.50.038)
  • Development in South Downtown (variety of zones within the South Downtown planning area): Minimum score of 0.30 for development with 20,000 gross square feet or more (SMC 23.49.031)
  • Midrise and Highrise Multifamily Residential (MR, HR): Minimum score 0.50 (SMC 23.45.524)
  • Lowrise Multifamily Residential (LR): Minimum score 0.60 (SMC 23.45.524)
  • Yesler Terrace (MPC-YT): Minimum score of 0.30 per development, 0.50 per sector (SMC 23.75.160)
  • Seattle Mixed (SM): Minimum score of 0.30 (SMC 23.48.055)  

Supporting Documents:

Proposed Changes

None at this time.

Construction and Inspections

Nathan Torgelson, Director
Address: 700 5th Ave, Suite 2000, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 34019, Seattle, WA, 98124-4019
Phone: (206) 684-8600
Phone Alt: Violation Complaint Line: (206) 615-0808
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SDCI issues land use, construction, and trade permits, conducts construction and housing-related inspections, ensures compliance with our codes, and regulates rental rules. SDCI is committed to an antiracist workplace and to addressing racism through our work in the community.