October 29, 2017

A Grant, a Goal, and a Group of People Passionate About Building Better

Picture of Green Building Council members meeting to to discuss National Green Building Standard.

Clark Public Utilities, forward-thinking builders, verifiers and county officials worked together to raise the bar for green building in Clark County, Washington. They formed the Green Building Council and, through education and outreach, got the National Green Building Standard (NGBS) adopted as a voluntary code in their community.

A Crash on Wall Street Leads to an Opportunity on Main Street
After the Great Recession in 2008, Clark County received a grant from the American Revitalization and Reinvestment Act to help jump-start its economy. In return, the county had to make a good faith effort to get a green building code adopted on a voluntary level. They brought on Mike Selig as a Weatherization Project Manager to make that happen.

“At the time we had three commissioners, two of them Republicans, one of them a Democrat. I knew I couldn’t market the adoption of a green building code based on sea lions in the Arctic and carbon and all that,” Mike said.

Instead, he addressed the concerns of builders and homeowners in the area. He found a study from RMLS™ showing that green-certified homes sold faster and for more money. He highlighted that better indoor air quality would resonate with young families who want to avoid harmful pollutants. He talked about increasing load capacity and decreasing demand on city resources.

One of Mike’s most valuable moves was reaching out to builders and key building players in the community.

Bring as many different players as you can to the table: builders, Raters/verifiers, your local home builders association, city and county officials, utilities and their supporting contractors, REALTORS®, appraisers, bankers. Determine how each player can effect change and help to have more above-code homes constructed.



Clark County, Ridgefield, and Vancouver, WA


Clark County, Clark Public Utilities, Building Industry Association of Clark County’s Green Building Council, Urban NW Homes


  • National Green Building Standard
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