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

Green Building Events

Green Home Tours & Talks

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 during the Green Home Tours & Talks.

Green Building Nerds

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

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!

Smart Growth Projects


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!

ADU Handbook

Developing an ADU can seem daunting, but you are not alone. Many ADU permit applications are submitted by homeowners who are first-time applicants! We developed a handbook to help homeowners determine if creating an ADU on their property is feasible, and provide step-by-step guidance for how to proceed with developing one.


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.

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.

Many Thanks To Our Energy & Green Building Sponsors:

Instinct Builders
Bellingham Bay Builders
Cascade Joinery
2020 Engineering
Cascade Joinery
2020 Engineering
Bellingham Bay Builders
2020 Engineering
Instinct Builders
2020 Engineering

Become A Member or Donate Today!

Become a business memberDonate as an individual