Sustainable development is at the forefront of our City's goals. We were the first city in Washington State to offer a solar panel permit exemption program, and we also offer a variety of credits, fee reductions, exemptions and more that support sustainable development in our community.
Save more than $2,000 with Solar Power Incentives
Bellingham created the first solar panel building permit exemption program in Washington State, in which we eliminated building permit and engineering requirements for nearly all residential solar installations. The cost of solar panels is also excluded when determining permit fees for non-residential buildings. Program participants can save more than $2,000 in fees and get an expedited, two-week permit review.
For details, contact the Planning and Community Development Department at email@example.com or 360-778-8382. You can also learn more about our solar power programs here.
Support for New Technologies
The City has proactively identified and pre-approved certain advancements in green building technology. This program allows you to plan ahead with new green technologies, so you can implement the latest sustainable techniques without worrying about project delays. Learn about special credits and exemptions, help protect the local environment and streamline your project!
Innovative technologies and techniques include:
- Advanced Framing (PDF): You might qualify for an expedited, 7-day permit review, along with special assistance from the Green Project Review Team.
- Amended Soils (PDF): You might qualify for special flow-reduction credits
- Composting Toilets (PDF) and Waterless Urinals (PDF): As part of the Voluntary Metering Program (VMP) you could qualify for a flat water bill rate of $28.23 a month, regardless of how much water you use. This incentive is available through the Public Works Department for single-family residence homes.
- Solar Water Heating Systems (PDF): You might qualify for a federal tax credit of 30% of the system's cost, along with a partial reduction or exemption from state sales tax.
- Roof-mounted Photovoltaic Solar Panels (PDF): You might qualify for a federal tax credit of 30% of the system's cost, a state sales tax exemption or reduction, and state incentives based on the total number of kilowatt-hours of electricity generated between July 1 and June 30 (or the closest regular billing cycle) of the following year.
You might qualify for a 50% reduction in stormwater development charges if you implement:
Let us know if there is a new technology you'd like us to review!
Learn more about local incentives by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-778-8300.
- Built Green Whatcom County -
A certification program
sponsored by the BIAWC for residential building projects.
Community Energy Challenge -
A one-stop shop for energy efficiency! Sign up for a home
assessment, learn about incentives, and get connected with a contractor.
Each ENERGY STAR NW qualified home has been built to
meet energy efficiency guidelines set forth by the Environmental
- LEED -
A certification program sponsored by the US Green Building
Council for new construction (residential and commercial) project.
Sustainable Connections’ Green Building and Smart Growth Program
works with local government, building industry professionals and
community members to promote healthy, durable, efficient, and
environmentally responsible homes, neighborhoods and workplaces through
education, technical assistance and advocacy.
Cascadia Green Building Chapter is the regional site for the Northwest Chapter of the USGBC. This
objective of this site is to provide an accessible roadmap for
sustainable building. This site includes resources such as; books, LEED
materials, regional resources, green building fact sheets, green
posters, LEED AP study materials and information on past and future
workshops and presentations.
- Energy Star
Program is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy helping us all save money and
protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices.
Green Tools by King County, created
by the Solid Waste Division, serves as a resource for
information on green building certification programs, guidebooks for
residential remodeling, construction recycling, deconstruction
techniques and a green building evaluator.
King County Green Remodel Guides covers common remodeling topics,
giving helpful hints on materials and strategies to create a home that is
healthy, saves money, and is easy on the environment. The guides are
available in PDF format.
Tree Protection on Construction and Development Sites outlines the
best management practices for tree protection in the Pacific Northwest.
- USGBC: The United
States Green Building Council is a non-profit organization that certifies LEED development
projects and is dedicated to expanding green building practices
including LEED Neighborhood Design. (LEED ND)