Seattle’s Green Home Tour 2015

Seattle’s Green Home Tour 2015

It’s hard to believe it’s time once again for the NW Green Home Tour. This year be sure to sign up for a free ticket through Eventbrite, either download the guide from the website or pick up a copy of the Seattle Weekly. This year, the tour has grown so much it makes more sense than ever to have the event over two days on the weekend.

Smart Homes
Seattle’s Tour of High Performance Homes

April  25-26th 2015 are the days this year from 11-5. On Saturday interested attendees can tour the Eastside, and Central sites. Check out 21 Acres in Woodinville which is having their own mini show of sorts. So many things to see at one place. Sunday is reserved  for the sites in North Seattle. As usual this region has the densest clusters of green homes on the tour. Many people like to walk or bike this part of the tour (last year we had people arrive with a growler cage on their bike).

NW Green Home Tour
These NWGHT 2014 attendees came in style. On their bikes complete with a growler cage on their bike

Are you looking for remodeling ideas, want to know what a rain garden is, or interested in meeting service providers one on one? All of these objectives can be met on this weekend.

It’s strongly recommended by experts, OK maybe just me….that you start early in the day with a game plan:

  • Where comfortable slip on shoes, you will be in people’s private homes, let’s show the hosts we appreciate their generousity
  • Print up a schedule ahead of time and mark the “must sees’ depending on your interests and timelines
  • Bring a camera, notebook, umbrella, bottled water and what ever else you might need. It’s possible you might encounter a rare line this year
  • Bring a snack, you may not want to take the time to eat out once you see how great some of these sites are and want to see as many as possible
  • Bring your printed ticket to show you have registered and have read the legal waiver
  • Bring a cheerful attitude and an open mind, this tour can be fun! As well as very educational

The hope is the tour will ‘normalize”the concept of high performance homes for the unfamiliar. For those with a deeper knowledge, the tour will put them in front of the professionals that can answer those questions that have been in the back of their mind. A common complaint is people want to see all the homes and it is frankly impossible to do, so plan ahead and like any good tourist be flexible and I promise it will be time well spent or your money back!


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



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.


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.


Shoreline Home Featured on Green Home Tour

Shoreline Home Featured on Green Home Tour

New fireplace
Family Room Focal Point

It’s just around the bend and we just received some pictures from one of the homes on the north end of the Seattle Green Home Tour this coming weekend. This home has a view and is featured as N10 on your map and Natural Awakenings brochure.

Here is how the designer described her project:

Jolly Green Giant Home on Seattle Green Home Tour

by Interior Designer Wendy Albee, Albee Interior Design

This is the story of the Ekrem family who built their dream home on a small parcel of land taking advantage of the beautiful views of Puget Sound. Though they did not specifically set out to make a green home, they wanted to incorporate some green and sustainable features that made sense, making their home a little more earth-friendly and energy efficient than most. And we incorporated universal design features to ensure the family can live in their dream home for a very long time.

Because the concept of ‘green’ building or remodeling can be daunting to the average person, we decided to be part of the tour to demonstrate simple, practical steps that the this home incorporated to save money on energy costs and to improve air quality. We also used recycled materials where it made sense esthetically rather than setting out purposefully to use these materials.

Bathroom with water wise toilet
Green can be beautiful

(From an interior design perspective, if a client is not that interested in being ‘green’, I do make a point of showing my clients products and materials that are recycled or upcycled that fit in our design style and color palette(s). The dual-flush toilets are an easy sell as they look great and function so well and when I tell them 1/3 of their water usage is from the toilet, they don’t hesitate. Low voltage lighting is getting less expensive so that is also easy for clients to see the benefit).

The first thing you’ll notice walking into the home is the enormous amount of natural light. The windows are all high-performance, triple pane glass.

The main floor includes one bathroom with earth-friendly Marmoleum flooring and recycled glass tiles in the shower and vanity backsplash. A second bathroom has a solid surface countertop that is made from86% recycled materials including corn, ceramics, mirrors and glass (Eco from Consentino). The laundry room also has Marmoleum flooring and Energy Star appliances. All cabinetry is made locally in Monroe.

The great room is located on the 2nd floor where the extended family gets together every Sunday. The kitchen appliances are Energy Star rated and much of the lighting is LED. The family side of the great room has an energy efficient gas fireplace.

The master suite, also on this floor, hosts a dual-flush toilet, radiant heated floors with programmable thermostat, engineered quartz countertop, locally-produced finishes, and Water Sense fixtures. Ambience is created with the LED soffit lighting.

2012 Green Home Tour
Newly remodeled bathroom

The lower floor has hydronic radiant heat with Marmoleum flooring. It contains a small bathroom, mud room and ‘man work cave’.

This home goes to show how so called “green professionals” can make small changes in the perceptions of our clients. A lower flow toilet is a painless step to take towards saving resources and reduction of infrastructure. Insulation not only saves money on energy costs in the long run, but increases the comfort of a home. . . . and it all adds up!

Kent Award Winning Home on the Seattle Green Home Tour

Kent Award Winning Home on the Seattle Green Home Tour


5 star built green
This Home is on the Seattle Green Home Tour

Do you have a preconception of Kent? I have to admit I did having spent some time there in the past. I love the city of Seattle and all it has to offer, it’s quiet sophistication, it’s culture and yes it’s beauty. I also happen to love getting away from the city to enjoy the great outdoors Washington State. All the water, the forests, the vistas and viewing the wildlife. Just like Ruth Anne on Northern Exposure, I go shooting quite often when I go out to the country, but it involves F-stops and lenses, and finding the elusive perfect lighting.

So I have to admit, when I heard a house was in Kent on the tour this year, I thought it was great, that green building concepts were spreading further out than just Bellevue into the suburbs of our metropolis. Then I opened the file with the pictures attached. All I can say now is WOWIE! (In my best Christopher Walken voice)

What a view inside or out
Award winning home
Awarding winning green home
Worth the drive from Seattle to see this home

Here is what Sockeye has to say about it:

Located in Kent, this custom home is so packed with ideas it has been named The Northwest Idea House of the Year. Come see for yourself the incredible design ideas, cutting edge systems, and Built Green features, making this a 5 star demonstration home and Click Here to View Case Study

Especially if you are in the south end of the Seattle grid I urge you to go see this home and be inspired by the creativity in solving the matrixs of what green can be to come up with such a lovely solution!

You can see the whole tour brochure at the NW Eco Building Guild’s website

Ballard Less Than Zero Home

Did you get a chance to read about the cool house in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood that not only produces enough energy to have zero costs, but also produces more energy than it uses!  As a tribute to Robert Downey Jr. , I am calling it the Less Than Zero house, but obviously green building has nothing to do with the excess of the 1980’s.   Anyway, I stray.  Here is a screen shot from Eric Thomas and Alexandra Salmon’s blog on their innovative Ballard green home.

seattle green real estate

What is the most impressive thing about this story to me is that this creative couple was able to get a brand new Ballard home for just under $400k when all was said and done plus it is a green home.  Who says green real estate has to be expensive?  Do your homework like these two did and you will be surprised!

Are you interested in Seattle Green Real Estate?  We are happy to help you and boast some great Green Seattle Realtors at Cooper Jacobs Real Estate!

How To Reuse Old Clothes For Inexpensive Halloween Props

How to Reuse Old Clothes For Inexpensive Halloween Props

OK, granted it might be a bit of a reach easily putting your hands on a old Halloween Costume with a witches hat and a long grey wig around the house. That said, it is the Halloween season and most homeowners have a pair of old gloves, some unused fabric, unwanted shoes, odd bits of  lumber and fasteners and an old broom lying around. My Norwegian grandparents never threw anything away and their Ballard homes (including the garages, basements, and canning cellars), were always neat as a pin with those amazing glass jars held in the line up by the single screw in the lids. But I digress. . . .

Many of us would have the bulk of this in the pile for the trash, Goodwill, Salvation Army, or some other charity. One can always wait for the Halloween overstock sales where you can buy previously un-obtained essentials when they have reached the prime of their shelf  life.   A local neighbor of mine installs this on the phone  pole in front of his house annually. Every year it never fails to garner giggles and admiration from the passersby.

I know some will consider this is a stretch for a green post.  However I will never underestimate the value of unexpected humor and whimsy!  My personal touch would be the addition of an obvious outdated cell phone (before it goes to charity) in one of the gloves.


Look where you are going

Let me know if you want to know the location in our local Seattle neighborhood. I am new to blogging and block the comments as a newbie, but feel free to give me a ring and I will let you know the intersection if you would to see this “masterpiece” in person!

Edible Plant Sale

Edible Plant Sale

Saturday and Sunday May 7th and 8th will be the weekend for the much-awaited Seattle Tilth’s Edible Plant Sale in the Wallingford neighborhood. If you haven’t been to this before, things you should know – expect long lines, bring more money than you planned on, wear comfortable shoes and clothing appropriate for the weather.

This very popular event is one of the few times when you can meet the growers, expect organically grown plants, find rare heirloom varieties and gain a wealth of information. This is a great time to glean answers for any of your edible plant questions from the multitude of plant experts. The person behind you in line (and yes there will be plenty of queues), might be the very person with the knowledge and experience you have been wanting to meet.

For more information see Seattle Tilth's website

The concept of Urban Farming, or Permaculture, or the re-emerging of so-called Victory Gardens has stimulated a resurgence in people wanting to grow their own food. There is no need to be intimidated by your lack of knowledge or the overwhelming choices you are likely to find. If you are new to the subject of gardening, you might want to get one of their “Gardens to Go” – a prepacked suggestion of combinations based on a certain theme. You can find both warm and cool season crops and perennials as well.

Warning – the lines will probably be long.  You will be tempted to purchase some amazing things you may have never seen before, and there will be much more to see than you might expect.  All the reason for the extra money, time, patience and comfy shoes.

If you aren’t one of those people who planned their weekend around this event you can have a second chance on May 14 in Issaquah. See Seattle Tilth for more information.

Seattle Greendrinks

Seattle Greendrinks

Tired of the doom and gloom in the news, but care and

Bring your own glass

want to learn more about issues of local sustainability and greater issues on other continents? Seattle Greendrinks meets on the second Tuesday of each month.

About once a year the Greendrinks event is simultaneously located  in many Seattle neighborhoods which is a great way to check out this gathering. Other times they might meet  in the Sodo area, The Woodland Park Zoo, at an architecture firm in a LEED built building in South Lake Union, or a car dealership in Ballard etc.

The great thing about  Seattle Greendrinks is you are educated on a great cause in a setting you may not usually find yourself in. People are friendly, like-minded and casual. You donate a ridiculously small amount of money at the door and not only do you have a beverage (bring your own container to reduce waste), but you have a small bite, get some information, but most of all you gain the kind of optimism that a small gathering of people can bring about change.

You can learn about commercial green real estate, residential real estate and all facets of  the world of sustainablility. If this piques your interest Seattle Greendrinks is really worth checking out.

They are also advertising the Northwest Eco Building Guild 2011 Green Home Tour. For more information go to