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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Northwest EcoBuilding Guild Awarded Code Innovations Database Project

Olympia, WA

Once an innovative approach has been approved by one local jurisdiction, the information and code interpretation used to justify the permit can be captured and published on this database, making it easier for builders to get that approach permitted in other localities.
Apr 25, 2012

The idea for a code innovations database was hatched at the Green Development stakeholder process convened by Thurston County in 2009.  The process brought together a range of local architects, builders and construction industry advocates to give input on how building codes and permits could be improved to encourage green building.  They explored incentives, code changes, and ways to streamline the process.

There were many differing opinions and recommendations, but one idea that rose to the top was to create a database of green building techniques to help builders and code officials share information about innovative techniques.

Working with former Lacey Mayor Graeme Sackrison, the Northwest EcoBuilding Guild’s South Sound Chapter pursued this recommendation and convened a team of builders in January 2011 to begin design of such a database, and to encourage Thurston County to make it happen.  They organized a team of interns, conducted interviews with builders and code officials, and created an initial database design.

In response to this leadership, Thurston County has contracted with the Northwest EcoBuilding Guild, to complete design and construction of the database.

  This database, which will eventually be housed on the Guild’s website, is a basic mechanism for local building officials, the building industry and other parties to share information about examples of successfully permitted green building, high-performance, and other innovative construction techniques, materials and technologies.  

The idea is that once an innovative approach has been approved by one local jurisdiction, the information and code interpretation used to justify the permit can be captured and published, making it easier for builders to get that approach permitted in other localities.  Since it takes so much effort and money to go through that process, why should each builder and official have to reinvent it independently?  This will streamline the process and provide a positive feedback loop to incentivize green building.

The goal is to publish the beta version of the 'Code Innovations Database' in early 2012.  To do that, the Guild will be working with students at Evergreen College who will be conducting interviews and writing case studies on approximately 30 relevant projects, which will be used to populate the database.

Once the database is published, the Guild will work closely with building officials to start using the database, and provide training designed to reduce the time necessary to approve green building projects.  In the long-run, the hope is to expand the source of data beyond local jurisdictions, to begin capturing and cataloging successfully permitted approaches from around Washington State and the rest of the world. 

For more information, please contact Chris Van Daalen, NWEBG Green Codes Database Coordinator, at (360) 789-9669 or GreenCodes@ecobuilding.org.

About the Northwest EcoBuilding Guild
Founded in 1993, the Northwest EcoBuilding Guild is a 501(c)(3) community of builders, designers, suppliers, homeowners, and partners concerned with ecological building in the Pacific Northwest, and currently has seven active Chapters in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Please visit www.ecobuilding.org.

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