BSCE - Green Building

With a continued focus on sustainability, the Salt Lake City Building Department is able to offer expedited plan review as an incentive to build "Green." This Expedited Plan Review program is designed to reward energy efficient and environmentally friendly construction by reducing plan review turn around time for projects which meet the program requirements. By recognizing that time equals money for many projects, this program offers tremendous savings for the applicant, while doing the right thing for the environment; once again demonstrating Salt Lake City's commitment to improve building sustainability.

To qualify for expedited plan review your project must meet the following criteria:

  • New permit applications must meet the design criteria for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver or greater as established by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) for commercial development. 

  • Residential applications are required to meet an Energy Star Home Energy Rating System (HERS) rating of 85 or better.

On this website you will find further information regarding the Expedited Plan review process for this, along with links to other sites that offer incentives to Build Green.

Click here to see the Green Building Expedited Review Application.


 

Expedited Plan Review for Green Building

The purpose of the Expedited Plan Review Process is to support the City’s commitment to green building practices in new construction and major renovations throughout the City by incentivizing developers who agree, in advance, to meet or exceed the “Silver” level of LEED certification or achieve the standards required for an ENERGY STAR rating for homes. Information on the program, standards for eligible projects, the application form and other resources are available at the links on the left side menu.

Additional Information

Renewable Energy Systems Brochure

LEED Certification Program - United States Green Building Council (usgbc.org)

Energy Star Program (energystar.gov)

Rocky Mountain Power Rebates

Federal & State Incentives for Renewable Energy (dsireusa.org)

United States Department of Energy (energy.gov)

Questar Rebates & Incentives (thermwise.com)

Utah Green Homes (utahgreenhomes.com)

Utah Clean Energy (utahcleanenergy.org)

Utah Department of Natural Resources (naturalresources.utah.gov)

Green Building Clarification Institute (gbci.org)

Rocky Mountain Power (rockymountainpower.net)

Information to Speed the Application & Approval Process
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LEED Silver Expedited Plan Review
  1. A Green Building Expedited Review Application must be filled out and signed.

  2. A completed LEED credits form must accompany the construction documents.

  3. The form must identify all of the credits and associated points that the project is incorporating into the design, including all required prerequisites.

  4. Complete specifications must accompany the drawings at the time of log-in.

  5. A deposit check for the appropriate amount (based on valuation) must be received and a receipt provided to the client.
    $1 - $100,000 = $1,000 deposit
    $100,001 – $1,000,000 = $5,000 deposit
    $1,000,001 and above = $10,000 deposit

  6. After the project is logged in, we have three days to make a determination whether we will accept or deny the prioritized status. Public Utilities and Zoning must be notified immediately and given a set of drawings for LEED review.

  7. The minimum LEED certification category for a prioritized review is silver.
    Certified 40-49 points
    Silver 50-59 points
    Gold 60-79 points
    Platinum 80+ points

  8. Review of the construction documents for LEED silver status is not a review for code compliance. We are verifying that the credits that are registered for LEED certification are clearly identified on the submitted drawings and specifications.

  9. A minimum of six energy (EA) points are required when meeting the minimum 50 points for Silver status.

The project requirements for prioritized LEED plan reviews include the following:
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Residential Energy Star Expedited Plan Review
  1. A Green Building Expedited Review Application must be filled out and signed.

  2. A complete listing of Energy Star rated construction components must accompany the construction documents.

  3. The list must verify a HERS rating of 85 or better (lower).

  4. A deposit check for the appropriate amount (based on valuation) must be received and a receipt provided to the client.
    $1 - $100,000 = $1,000 deposit
    $100,001 – $1,000,000 = $5,000 deposit
    $1,000,001 and above = $10,000 deposit

  5. After the project is logged in, we have three days to make a determination whether we will accept or deny the prioritized status. Public Utilities and Zoning must be notified immediately and given a set of drawings for LEED review.

  6. Review of the construction documents for Energy Star-rated is not a review for code compliance. We are verifying that the credits that are registered for certification are clearly identified on the submitted construction documents.

The project requirements for prioritized residential plan reviews include the following:
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LEED Executive Order

Responsible City Agency: Community & Economic Development & Business Licensing

Introduction

LEED AND ENERGY STAR PLAY AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN ENERGY CONSERVATION IN THE CITY

The Leadership in Energy in Environmental Design (LEED) rating system is a system created by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), of which Salt Lake City Corporation (City) is an active member, to provide a national standard for healthy environmental and energy efficient design. Various local stakeholders, including architects, planners, environmental consultants, professors, political leaders, energy experts, health officials, and City staff members worked with the City to review the LEED rating system.Presently, LEED offers four (4) levels of certification: “Certified,” “Silver,” “Gold,” and “Platinum.” The standards comprising these different levels are considered to promote a healthy environment, provide long-term cost benefits through efficient use of energy, optimize building performance, and create healthier workplaces for employees and visitors. A project can earn points in each of these areas and the number of points earned determines which of the four levels the project will attain. The City has determined that adherence to LEED standards in certain circumstances is in the best interest of the City by obtaining the energy efficient benefits promoted by those standards. The Energy Star Program (ENERGY STAR) is a joint program of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the United States Department of Energy that helps consumers save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices. ENERGY STAR qualified homes are independently verified to meet strict guidelines for energy efficiency set by the EPA. These efficiencies help homeowners save money on utility bills, provide a more comfortable living environment with better indoor air quality, and help the environment. The Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index (also known as the Energy-Smart Home Scale) is used by ENERGY STAR to rate the efficiency of a residential building. The ENERGY STAR requirement for a home in Salt Lake City is a HERS Index of 85 or less. The Mayor has determined that constructing homes that meet ENERGY STAR standards (i.e., HERS Index of 85 or less) is in the best interest of the City by reducing the demand for non-renewable energy in the City’s residential buildings. Through LEED and ENERGY STAR standards, the City is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by implementing more sustainable practices, including green building technologies.

Background

THE CITY’S LEGISLATIVE HISTORY REFLECTS A COMMITMENT TO ENERGY CONSERVATION

Buildings are a leading contributor to carbon emissions and climate change. Existing buildings and the building development industry consume nearly half of the total energy used in the United States. The City is committed to increasing efficiency of certain resources, including energy, water, and materials associated with construction projects, as demonstrated by this Executive Order. The City supports green building in both the public and private sectors, a fact that is reflected in the City’s rich legislative history from both the Executive and Legislative branches. On June 8, 2005, Mayor Anderson signed an Executive Order requiring all public buildings owned and controlled by the City to be built or renovated using LEED standards at the “Certified” level. Then, on January 19, 2006, Mayor Anderson signed an amended Executive Order increasing the LEED standard for City owned and controlled buildings to the “Silver” level. On October 17, 2006, the City Council enacted and the Mayor approved Ordinance No. 78 of 2006 (codified at Chapter 18.95 of the Salt Lake City Code), which requires applicable City funded construction projects to achieve, at minimum, a “Silver” certification level of LEED compliance for all new buildings and major renovations of 10,000 square feet or larger. This enactment placed the City among the most progressive cities in the nation in terms of sustainable building policies. Subsequently, on November 7, 2006, the City Council adopted Resolution No. 73 of 2006 encouraging both the Library and the Board of Directors of the Redevelopment Agency to adopt similar LEED standards for applicable building projects funded by the Library Fund and Redevelopment Agency. On November 17, 2006, the City Council enacted and the Mayor approved Ordinance No. 79 of 2006 (codified at Section 18.12.010 of the Salt Lake City Code), which amended its Board of Appeals membership requirement to include one LEED accredited member.

The Purpose of this Executive Order is to Incentivize “Green” Building

The purpose of this Executive Order is to reassert the City’s commitment to green building practices in new construction and major renovations throughout the City, and to provide leadership and guidance in promoting, facilitating, and instituting such practices in the private development community by incentivizing developers who agree in advance to meet and/or exceed the “Silver” level of LEED certification or achieve the standards required for an ENERGY STAR rating for homes.

How the Incentive Will Work - Expedited Plan Review

The City is committed to incentivizing energy efficient and sustainable development and construction on all new construction and major renovation projects throughout the city, and this 

Executive Order authorizes the City Building Official to expedite building plan review for that purpose. To support and implement this commitment, the City Building Official shall publish, within 60 days after execution of this Executive Order, the “Expedited Plan Review Process” (Process), to be implemented by the Division of Building Services and Business Licensing (BSL). This Process will be available on the BSL website (www.slcpermits.com). This Process will include a section entitled “Standards for Eligible Green Building Projects” that 

describes, in detail, the LEED and/or ENERGY STAR requirements, including the type and distribution of points, that will need to be met for a project to qualify under the “Expedited Plan Review Process.” Projects that are in keeping with the City’s aggressive initiative to lessen the impact on the environment will apply for expedited plan review by:

  1. Submitting an Application for Expedited Plan Review that demonstrates how the project will meet the City’s current “Standards for Eligible Green Buildings” as documented in the published “Expedited Plan Review Process”

  2. Meeting with City staff to discuss how the project will comply with the City’s current “Standards for Eligible Green Buildings”

  3. Submitting a refundable Green Building Deposit of $1,000 for projects valued up to and including $100,000; $5,000 for projects valued at more than $100,000 up to and including $1,000,000; and $10,000 for projects valued over $1,000,000. All deposits shall be in the form of a cashier’s check or credit card payment.

After meeting the 3 criteria above, City staff will determine within 3 business days if the project is approved for expedited plan review. If the project is not approved, City staff will notify the applicant and refund the Green Building Deposit within 14 business days.

 

Expedited Plan Review For New Construction & Major Renovation Projects That Meet Certain Sustainable Building Criteria
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Green Building Standards

Standards for Eligible Green Buildings - LEED Silver

Expedited Plan Review with the Salt Lake City Building department for Commercial projects must meet the minimum of 50 points (Silver) as established by the USGBC LEED NC rating system. Of the 50 Points (minimum) required to meet the Silver status, Salt Lake City is also requiring at least 6 of the points to come from the EA (Energy and Atmosphere) category. Please note that the Prerequisites for all categories are required to be met in order to be considered for LEED certification. The project must also be registered with the USGBC before consideration for this prioritized status.

Standards for Eligible Green Homes - Energy Star

Expedited Plan Review with the Salt Lake City Building department for residential projects must meet the Energy Star Hers rating of 85 or better as established by the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) Hers Index. The project must also be tested by a State certified home energy rater. Documentation is required before approval for the deposit refund.

What is a HERS Rating?

A home energy rating involves an analysis of a home’s construction plans and onsite inspections. Based on the home’s plans, the Home Energy Rater uses an energy efficiency software package to perform an energy analysis of the home’s design. This analysis yields a projected, pre-construction HERS Index. Upon completion of the plan review, the rater will work with the builder to identify the energy efficiency improvements needed to ensure the house will meet ENERGY STAR performance guidelines. The rater then conducts onsite inspections, typically including a blower door test (to test the leakiness of the house) and a duct test (to test the leakiness of the ducts). Results of these tests, along with inputs derived from the plan review, are used to generate the HERS Index score for the home.

The HERS Index

The HERS Index is a scoring system established by the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) in which a home built to the specifications of the HERS Reference Home (based on the 2006 International Energy Conservation Code) scores a HERS Index of 100, while a net zero energy home scores a HERS Index of zero. The lower a home’s HERS Index, the more energy efficient it is in comparison to the HERS Reference Home.

Each 1-point decrease in the HERS Index corresponds to a 1% reduction in energy consumption compared to the HERS Reference Home. Thus a home with a HERS Index of 85 is 15% more energy efficient than the HERS Reference Home and a home with a HERS Index of 80 is 20% more energy efficient.

Standards to Meet for Homes and Other Buildings
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Information on Green Mortgages
Explore the different types of green mortgages, how they compare to regular mortgages, qualifying for them, etc.
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