Owners of certified green homes in Snohomish County could be exempt from additional property taxes for up to 7 years, under legislation developed in cooperation with Snohomish County Councilmember Brian Sullivan and introduced today by Sen. Marko Liias, D-Lynnwood.

“Our family-owned construction company was one of the first in the county to participate in the Built Green program a decade ago, so I have firsthand knowledge of its many benefits,” Liias said. “Certified green buildings typically consume less energy, are made with sustainable products and leave a smaller carbon footprint. That’s a gain for the rest of the community, and in return the homeowner gets a temporary tax break on the cost of upgrading the home.”

On average, green homes cost 2 percent more per square foot to build than other homes but deliver benefits such as increased durability, better indoor air quality and improved stormwater management. A four-star certified green home, for example, consumes 20 percent less energy than code, recycles more than 50 percent of waste from demolition and construction, and uses a fraction of the potable water of a home built to code.

Liias partnered with Snohomish County to write Senate Bill 5753, which would give the County the option of granting a tax exemption for up to seven years on the county’s share of property taxes. In addition, local cities could choose to participate in the county’s program and offer the same discount for their residents.

“Green homes raise the value of our communities, protect natural resources, and help communities achieve environmental goals,” Sullivan said. “This modest but significant incentive will help folks build homes that make their community a better place to live for all concerned.”