2030 Challenge - Overview

What Is It?

The 2030 Challenge for Planning was issued by Architecture 2030, a non-profit think tank transforming climate change problems into solutions through the design of the built environment. The 2030 Challenge for Planning asks the global architecture and planning community to adopt reduction targets for energy, water, and transportation for new construction and major renovations. To advance these goals on a district basis, Seattle 2030 District was created in partnership with the City of Seattle. This pilot relies on the 2030 Challenge for Planning goals but focuses on existing buildings to improve the viability of high-performance renovations.

The 2030 Challenge program provides additional height, floor area ratio, and allows you to request additional departures from the Seattle Land Use Code through Design Review in exchange for meeting the environmental requirements below.

Project Benefits

Developers that are constructing new buildings or building additions that meet the program standards can get the following benefits:

  • Up to 25 percent more floor area
  • Up to 30 percent more floor area if saving an unreinforced masonry structure
  • 12.5 feet of additional height for residential construction or 15 feet of additional height for non-residential construction in zones with height limits of 85 feet or less
  • 25 feet of additional height for residential construction or 30 feet of additional height for non-residential construction in zones with height limits greater than 85
  • Additional design departures for the pilot programs as specified in Seattle Municipal Code 23.41.012D


To be qualify for this program, your project must:

  • Qualify for Full Design Review or review by a special district or historic review committee
  • Be located within an urban center, excluding lots within the shoreline or the international special review districts
  • Renovate an existing structure that qualifies as a substantial alteration as determined in the Seattle Energy Code and the Seattle Existing Building Code
  • Retain either the opaque portions of all exterior walls or the superstructure of existing structures (the foundation, structural frame, floor framing, and slabs of the structure)

Our pilot program will expire on December 31, 2025 or when 20 projects enroll in the 2030 Challenge Pilot.

Environmental Requirements

  • Reduce total energy use by 25 percent or more based on the Energy Use Intensity (EUI) targets in the Target Performance Path of the Seattle Energy Code Section C401.3, and use no fossil fuel for space and water heating
  • Reduce annual stormwater runoff and potable water use by at least 50 percent from program baselines
  • Reduce single-occupant vehicle trips for work and non-work-related trips to percentages equal to or better than rates defined in the Seattle Comprehensive Plan

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.