Green Building & Smart Growth

We help create vibrant and healthy built environments for both people and the planet. The Green Building & Smart Growth Program supports local businesses in this sector, advances the most cutting edge sustainability practices, and contributes to an improved quality of life for our region.


Find Local BusinessesGet Involved

What is Smart Growth?

Smart Growth America defines smart growth as an approach to development that encourages a mix of building types and uses, diverse housing and transportation options, development within existing neighborhoods, and community engagement. The 10 principles listed here are considered the foundation of a smart growth approach.

1. Mix land uses
2. Take advantage of compact design
3. Create a range of housing opportunities and choices
4. Create walkable neighborhoods
5. Foster distinctive, attractive communities with a strong sense of place
6. Preserve open space, farmland, natural beauty, and critical environmental areas
7. Direct development towards existing communities
8. Provide a variety of transportation choices
9. Make development decisions predictable, fair, and cost effective
10. Encourage community and stakeholder collaboration in development decisions

Smart Growth Events


Working to build upon community leadership, we collaborate with partners to create new spaces that help revitalize neighborhoods. Previous projects include Kapow!, Commercial St. Night Market, Birchwood International Market, Bellingham Soapbox, Synchro Tree City, Shadow Geometry, the Untzbrella, and more!

Education & Networking

The Sustainable Design and Development conference is designed to not only sharpen skills on ROI and BTUs saved, but explore how we can create solutions and leverage opportunities which impact our social fabric and make our communities safer and happier.


Sustainable Connections is proud to be the backbone agency for the Whatcom Housing Alliance, a group of local organizations working to increase opportunities for people of all income levels to have the opportunity to live in walkable neighborhoods that foster healthy lifestyles. Whatcom Housing Week and Bellingham For Everyone are projects of the Whatcom Housing Alliance.

Green Building Events

Imagine This! Home and Landscape Tour

Every year, do it yourselfers and those looking for great contractors for an upcoming project delight in a day of exploring beautiful, innovative and eco-friendly homes and Landscapes during the annual Imagine This! Home & Landscape Tour.

Green Building Nerds

Green Building Nerds, An informal meeting held every other month (usually) where peers in the green building industry discuss, troubleshoot, share and have fun nerding out about green building over a beer. Topics, locations and attendance vary, but nerding out is always encouraged.

Bellingham Green Building Slam

10 speakers, 10 slides, 10 minutes. Learn about 10 innovative and sustainable, green buildings, ideas, or advances that push the envelope in our built environment. From green building professionals to the public, all are welcome!

Toward Zero Waste

Over 450 businesses have engaged in our (FREE) Toward Zero Waste program and are reducing waste. Participating businesses are also saving money and making a positive change for our community and the environment. Contractors in the residential or commercial sector can take advantage of our Toward Zero Waste program to receive help navigating the wide world of construction debris.

Thank you to our event sponsors and partners!

Barkley Company
Barkley Company

Green Building & Smart Growth program lead sponsors

Barkley Company
Barkley Company

Silver Sponsors

Bellingham Bay Builders
2020 Engineering
Cascade Joinery
Chuckanut Builders
A1 Builders
Puget Sound Energy
People’s Bank
Lautenbach Industries

Bronze Sponsors

Become A Member or Donate Today!

Become a business memberDonate as an individual