NW Green Home Tour 2014

NW Green Home Tour 2014

The date is set –April 26th and the committee is off and running. Site hosts are signing up sooner than ever. No doubt based on the success of the previous three years, the NW Green Home Tour promises to be the biggest and best ever. Builders are building again, buyers are in the market and the general public is more aware of how diverse green building really is

The tour is a go! Currently there is still room for sitehosts, sponsors, sustainability stops and volunteers.
The tour is a go! Currently there is still room for sitehosts, sponsors, sustainability stops and volunteers.

Think you know what a “Green” home looks like? Many people attend this free to the public tour and learn the ordinary looking house on their street might actually be quite extra-ordinary. Tour goers can expect to see single family homes, town homes, DADUs, and this year apartments. Innovative outdoors spaces, rain gardens, urban agriculture, and maybe some livestock are all possibilities. Sustainability stops and retail outlets that tie into the tour, such as Green Home Solutions, are all part of the tour.

This self guided tour is from 11-5 on a Sunday. Preview and plan an individualized route by visiting the official website NWGreenHomeTour.org, or pick up the yet to be published free April issue of Seattle’s Natural Awakening Magazine.  Keep an eye out for publication the beginning of April.

The tour is a joint partnership of the NW Eco Building Guild and Built Green. We welcome inquiries regarding site hosts, sustainability stops, sponsorships and volunteer opportunities.

For your Sustainable Real Estate needs from now into the future
For your Sustainable Real Estate needs from now into the future

City Cabins near Columbia City Opens

City Cabins near Columbia City Opens

November marks the sell out month of Martha Rose’s City Cabins on South Nevada Street. These forward leaning homes are garnering a 5 Star Built Green Rating. Some people may call them “Green” others might call them “Smart” or “High Performance” construction.  What ever you call them, the facts are they are more energy efficient and comfortable than the current standard of construction.  With the constant promise of rising energy costs, these homes far exceed current code requirements and will save the occupants money on utilities now and for many decades to come.

5 Star Built Green Homes
4 High Quality Homes at Rainier Vista in Columbia City

Located in the up and coming neighborhood of Columbia City, many in Seattle know that this close in neighborhood has been going through a renaissance in the last decade. Historical buildings, wonderful restaurants and pubs, funky galleries, live music and art walks help all add the lively attitude of this neighborhood. The proximity of these homes to the new light rail station supports the notion the residents of  Rainier Vista, don’t find it necessary to own a car.

Built Green Homes by Martha Rose
Understate, comfortable finishes inside and out

Concrete floors, wood beams, solar panels, plug-in for an electric car, south facing exposure, balanced ventilation, and a green roof are just a few of the unusual features you will find in these homes. Purchase a City Cabin, and it’s likely you will become the educator to your friends and guests explaining the  future of the built environment. Few people have homes like these, and most don’t know many of these features will become standard in the next decade. The argument can be made, by purchasing a deep green home, you not only save money on utilities while living the the house, but your protect your resale investment by having a well insulated, efficient  and desirable  home that’s built to last into the next century.

Deep Green Homes South Seattle
Complete with Green Garage Roof and Fruit Trees and Cisterns

The open house are now long gone on this property. Contact me if you like to know more about these special homes or other intelligently built homes in the Seattle WA area. Hopefully these have inspired some other spec builders to “do the right thing”. Let me know if you would like me to add you to my email list.

For your Sustainable Real Estate needs from now into the future
For your Sustainable Real Estate needs from now into the future



Famously Beautiful Deep Green Town Home Seattle

Built Green Homes by Martha Rose

Famously Beautiful Deep Green Town Home Seattle

This town home is famous and extremely good looking, but don’t let that scare you off. The subject of radio interviews, articles and soon to be featured in the 2013 10x10x10 Green Building Slam, this high performance home was a behind-the-walls star on the 2013 NW Green Home Tour last spring.

Built Green Homes by Martha Rose
Understated, comfortable finishes inside and out

Are you the kind of person that is drawn to smart, versatile, easy-going, practical, no nonsense natural beauties?  Who isn’t?  This GREEN Realtor can’t help you with your ideal life partner but this home is a great fit for someone looking for those same features in their next residence. Just the elegance of authentic finishes, no faux or fancy anything here. Ponderosa knotty pine, polished concrete, stainless steel, cork, forged steel and some pleasantly surprising design choices thrown in for fun.

Yes, this home is rated 5 star Built Green, but it is also the physical manifestation of 30 years of an accumulated knowledge and intuition of a highly experienced and insightful builder.  This is where form meets function.

Beautiful Townhome
View from master deck in October

There is just one townhome left, an end unit with privacy overlooking a magnificently ancient tree located in a park across the street. Depending on your lifestyle this townhome can approach  the status of a Net-Zero or Passive House. Even if you aren’t frugal with your energy use, the house will save you money on utilities while saving you money on your taxes. The already installed PV panels are working away feeding power back to the grid while they are waiting for the new occupant to move in. Besides the electricity generation the water saving features watch your consumption so you don’t even need to think about water usage.

This town home might be well known, but fame hasn’t changed it. It’s had it’s time in the limelight and is ready to retire into a quieter life. It knows it’s built to last at least the next 200 years. It will be a reliable friend that will keep it’s good looks for years to come.

Just a sample of the unusual features:

  • PV Panels (Solar Panels already installed) complete with financial incentives
  • Passive solar and lots of natural daylighting
  • Polished concrete floors with 4″ closed cell foam insulation beneath
  • Bibs insulation with advanced framing minimizing thermal breaks
  • Specially installed triple pane windows atop custom metal pan liners
  • Green roof, cistern, and almost invisible storm water mitigation
  • Custom milled, sustainably harvested wood, locally sourced
  • Heat Recovery Ventilator with MERV 12 filter for superior air quality
  • Universal Design on all floors
  • Low utility usage–and bills
  • LED lamps installed throughout–can be changed if desired
  • In-wall USB charging ports and networking throughout the home
  • All electric home including radiant ceiling heat and induction range
  • Additional loft not included in square footage
  • Beautifully functional 3rd floor deck with lots of light and Mt. Rainier view
  • Owner/operator manual with hands-on warranty from the builder
  • It’s own fan club (honestly, the builder has a following!)

As the Buyer’s Agent if you would like to know about this one of a kind opportunity I’d be happy to speak with you. This one of a kind home is not going to last for long. Take advantage of the bad luck of the government shut down and low interest rates. You’ll be glad you did.

2858 South Nevada Street Seattle  (Columbia City) 2 blocks from the light rail station.


Shifting Energy Trends Worldwide

Shifting Energy Trends Worldwide

For more information on Energy Efficient  Homes in the Seattle Area  Search for Green Homes I would be happy to explain the different Green building programs common to our area, or how to green up your existing home for long term savings and increased resale value.


The End of Fossil Fuels


West Seattle Gem Ready For Your Vision

West Seattle Gem Ready For Your Vision

This adorable home is new to the GREEN Seattle real estate market, a 1923 Craftsman bungalow currently for sale has been lovingly cared for. It all ready sports the newer conveniences one expects in this century and and has kept the charm of the last century from some 90 years ago. The combined updated systems including heating, plumbing, and appliances to make this home comfortable with its remodeled kitchen and bathroom. One could easily leave it as-is and it’s a head turner.  A low maintenance back yard is ready for your summer BBQs. The generous front porch is perfect for sipping a cold beverage while watching the sunset hidden from the street.

5400 36th Ave SW Seattle
Light filled corner lot with Northwest Exposure

If one is so inclined, the yard has immense potential. The corner lot with the abundant light floods the yard, set just a few feet above the sidewalk. It’s a perfect scenario for an edible garden, fruit trees, or more ornamentals.  The backyard is set up to be a low maintenance entertainment center with a large paver patio. The trellis is already in place for your kiwi or grape vines. The fenced yard is great for young children, dogs or perhaps chickens? Permaculture anyone?

While this home has so many smart attributes, the new owner could take advantage of the Community Power Works program, to maximize the energy efficiency. Add a mini split heat pump to provide the home with air conditioning as well as heat. Receive rebates back for retrofitted insulation and energy upgrades. It’s a great time to take advantage of these incentives in any resale home.

The wonderful thing about this home is all the options. Live comfortably as-is with all it’s charm and upgrades. Or turn the 4,800 square foot lot into an urban farm with animals, a greenhouse, fruit trees and other edibles. The unfinished basement is perfect for a root and canning cellar or making your own beer and wine.

If you love the Craftsman aesthetic, are considering the conveniences of  West Seattle, or want to know how you could love this neighborhood maybe you hadn’t considered before, be sure to contact me. I have been a fan of  West Seattle for a long time. I’m more a little proud to say I’m responsible for many people’s move from North Seattle to this peninsula just west of downtown and they haven’t looked back.

How To Search for a Green Home in WA State

How To Search for a Green Home in WA State

We have great news in the state of WA — aka the “Evergreen State“.  Our own Northwest Multiple Listing Service is making it much easier to find a Green Home and help the potential buyer understand just how green a home is right from the listing!  Our NWMLS is also making things easier for our environmentally minded home sellers to brag about the special features of their homes when they place their listing on the market. Starting June 26th 2013, it will be much easier to know how to search for a green home in WA State.

The new search fields will target the three most common green certification programs in WA state. Built Green (which varies by each county, King and Snohomish Counties have the largest program in the state), Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), and NW Energy Star (not to be confused with the program that rates appliances). In residential homes, Built Green is probably the most common rating along with NW Energy Star due to the overlapping of energy goals of the two programs.  These programs might be the most easily understood by the builders and homeowners as they use checklists as well as in most cases now, third party certifiers. LEED is considered more complex and is still the leader in commercial building and multifamily and mixed use buildings. This program requires a more detailed knowledge of the program and uses third party certifiers as well. Most new construction in the downtown core carries a metallic LEED rating.

Green WA Homes
How to find a Green Home in the Seattle Area

So what’s the best way to search for a Green Home in WA State? Use a Green Seattle Realtor!  We have access to the search fields that can pinpoint what it is about a home that makes it “green”, and quite often can find out the particulars before a walk through. We have the ability to search based on heating efficiency, HERS Ratings and many more criteria . Granted green construction is still a smaller part of the market, but awareness and demand is increasing at a quick pace. The recent changes to our search fields will make it easier than ever to weed out the impostors from the real deals. This new ability allows the sustainable building community to be one step closer to normalizing green building to people understanding what it truly is. Green is thoughtful, smart building that will be the norm in the future of building. Please give me a ring if you would like to to know more about this important development and how I can help you can search for a green home in WA State.


NW Green Home Tour

NW Green Home Tour

It’s getting toward the end of April, for many that means taxes are done, but for the NW Green Home Tour committee that means we are busier than ever. We have been working hard since November scoping out the local neighborhoods for interesting sites for our third annual NW Green Home Tour.


North Seattle Green Homes
Some committee members of the Green Home Tour who have been putting this together since last October

If you have been on the tour in one of the previous years, then you know what a fantastic opportunity this FREE tour is to garner information and see what real life solutions look like.  Generous homeowners open their doors and allow the public to see what kind of improvement they have made to their homes.  This not only usually benefits their utility bills, but also quite often their indoor comfort and indoor air quality. There is something for everybody here. This year will also feature the rain gardens in Ballard, the subject of some controversy lately.  There are experts at each site there to answer whatever questions you may have about what makes these homes and sites so special.

There will also be several Sustainability Stops this year. Some will be offering drinks and snacks. Others will be offering product information and other services.

So mark April 27th on your calendar and reserve the whole day. Sometimes you get more than you paid for!

Go Green & Go Home!


Ballard New Construction Townhouse

Ballard New Construction Townhouse

The could be the Ballard beauty you have been looking for!  This town house has everything you need and a few perks you didn’t know you would want. High walkscore, transitscore, bikescore, and a NW Energy Star, 5 star Built Green rating (pending) that not only will save you money in the long run, but it has thoughtful and healthy design and construction. You don’t have to be “green” to appreciate the bells and whistles on this one!

Ballard Townhouse
This is a home your friends will envy for location and beauty

There are many features and building systems that go into a home such as this, I am certainly happy to explain them if you are curious, however anyone, one can see attention to detail and thoughtful design the architects and builder have put into this townhouse.

Just a few of the features not often seen in other Ballard or Seattle town tomes:

  • LED Lights through out – beautiful & you may never need to change a bulb
  • Mini Split Heat Pumps- remote controlled, highly efficient heating & air conditioning
  • Water Saving Fixtures- dual flush toilets, water saving faucets & shower heads
  • Windows Above Code -allows for an abundance of light & no cold spots
  • NW Energy Star Appliances -again another opportunity to save on utility bills
  • Induction stove top range – for added savings & safety & indoor air quality
  • Low VOCs – means better indoor air quality for decades to come
  • ERV – for healthy indoor air & energy savings
  • Green Roof-  this almost no maintenance gardening is good for the environment & beautiful
  • Ready to go for PV Solar panels (incentives & co-ops are available)
  • Wired for whole home sound & alarm, even on the roof deck with sweeping views!
Healthy Built Homes
Great entertaining spaces practical and beautiful

People have misconceptions about what “green” means. If  one didn’t know how green this home is, they might just think it was smart, hip and had thoughtful design.

Low VOC Home
Well sized bathroom with beautiful water saving features

This is the home where your friends will want to meet you for dinner parties and sunny day BBQs on the roof deck high above Market Street in the tree canopy watching the sunset over the Olympic Mountains.


Built Green Eastlake Townhome

Built Green Eastlake Townhome

Now is your chance to move into the active Eastlake community.  If you aren’t already familiar with this hip neighborhood you will be.  Segways, kayaks, bicycles, skateboards, rollerblades, public transit and two feet are all common forms of transportation.  This is one of those neighborhoods one might only need a car to get out of town. A Built Green Eastlake townhome is one of those properties that Seattlites seek out. This is a great central location for the University of Washington, or for those who have jobs in the Downtown core of the city.


Lake Union Town Home
Start your Spring Training in active Eastlake!

A high walkscore of 80 means you can walk to a different breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday of the week. If you work Downtown or want to hang out at South Lake Union, it’s a doable walk or you can just hop on a bus and be there in just a few minutes. After work you can enjoy walking or kayaking  just down to the hill as you admire our own Lake Union Floating Home community. Take a walk along the lake trail, or cycle up the hill to the Mountain Bike Park. When you are done you can go back home and get Fido and head back up to the Columnade undercover off leash dog park.

Beautiful finishes
Main entertaining level with access to fenced back yard with deck.

While this neighborhood might be the center of it all,  you can choose to hang out at home in your comfy townhome with its extra dose of already built-in flexible storage solutions. Maybe it’s the great elementary schools that attracts to to this area, the neighborhood eateries and entertainment, convenient transportation options or something else. In short this home has something for everybody! Check it out, this home will be in demand.

Save Money & Green Your Home

Save Money & Green Your Home

We are so lucky in the City of Seattle to be owners of wonderful older homes. We have such wonderful Craftsman, Mid Century Classic, and NW Contemporary styles of architecture.  Along with the solidly built homes full of historic charm so carefully decorated and loved lies the evil money pit (cue the daunting music in minor chords). It actually resembles more of a sieve.  Small and sometimes larger cracks, holes and circuitous routes so small the eye doesn’t even see the stealthy thieves.  When the pressure from our forced air furnaces or the heat stack effect takes over during our cold winter nights, physics charms all the heat that good money and fossil fuels create as a by-product of combustion. It coaxes heat to find a way to escape our carefully locked-down fenestrations and into the wilds of the the outdoors.

In plainer language, the heat we pay so much to create leaves our homes too quickly around unintentional gaps in the inner walls of our homes and businesses. I recently was lucky to have Steve Hoffman, a contractor with Community Power Works, to my Phinney Ridge home to perform what is the state of the art energy audit.

Leaky Home Assessment
Just a few parts to the equipment for the test, surprising how much can be learned in a couple of hours.

This involves a large red piece of nylon fabric, some Velcro, an aluminum stretcher frame, a large box fan and a couple fancy electronics. In some ways the test is deceptively simple.   My part of the work ended at cleaning the ashes out of my fireplace. I also locked up my indoor dog and cat for a couple of hours just so they wouldn’t escape during the test as there are times the front door is open.

As I suspected, indeed my chimney flue leaked, but I also learned the double pane windows I installed to save energy were a large source of heat loss around the factory assembled mullions and transoms. No surprise of course the 10 year old can lights in the kitchen were also a source of money escaping through the ceiling and into the attic. I learned of some cold spots in the walls I need to investigate more thoroughly and a few other surprises.

To top off the deal of the decade, the auditor went through the house and provided me with replacement low wattage compact fluorescent lights to replace the soon to be outlawed incandescent bulbs. I plan to see how far I can go with this program, so far I have $95 out of pocket expenses for a $400-600 assessment, and about $50 or more value in light bulbs.

Community Power Works is funded by a federal stimulus bill and won’t be around for much longer.  I highly recommend seizing the moment. This deal is too good to be true! My plan is to install a mini-split heat pump with two heads, one for each floor of my home. Not only will it provide me an inexpensive source of electric heat, but will also provide me with something I haven’t experienced in the 25 years that I have lived in this home. . . . air conditioning! Of course Community Power Works will be there to help me with the rebates and incentives I can collect while saving myself money in the long run and increasing the value and comfort of my home. Sometimes it’s not too good to be true. Seattle, like Oz, really is the Emerald City and there is no man behind the curtain unless it’s the red door.