Category Archives: Energy Efficiency

Seattle’s ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE SURVIVAL HOUSE is open Sunday 12:30-3:30 pm

The only thing missing from this house is bars on the windows (and sans apocalypse, that is a good thing).

On the surface it looks like a cute 1918 Craftsman in West Seattle. But peek below the surface and you will be impressed by the uniqueness of this property. It’s not for everyone – this is an eclectic and fun 1918 Arts and Crafts Movement home that has stood the test of time and offers forward-thinking “green” upgrades. 2+ bedrooms (used to be three, can be returned to three) and large studio space (in former garage) allow the occupants to live large with a very small carbon foot print. It has something for everyone – for the green at heart and also the traditionalist. New 200 amp electrical service for quick charging the electric vehicle or powering other hobbies (kiln?) The Master Suite addition offers luxury, comfort, and a unique place to relax. People just drool over the images of this bathroom! Let them be envious for a reason.

New 40 year roof
New Mitsubishi ductless heating and cooling system with remotes
Prewired for use with backup generator (comes with sale)
Two EPA certified wood burning stoves with cook tops
European Master Suite -Sun-Mar composting toilet (and a regular bathroom too)
Graywater system with 300 gallon cistern serves master bath
Energy Star appliances (all appliances stay)
Property backs to the West Seattle Golf Course and sits above Longfellow Creek

Featured in Curbed Seattle with this recommendation: “Consider this 2-BR home a $285K investment in your future, post-apocalyptic or otherwise.”

Online video tour
Online flyer

Come look at this property up close, admire the Master Suite and the gigantic hammered copper soaking tub, and meet me, Wendy Hughes-Jelen, Green Real Estate Specialist, EcoBroker, and Realtor. Let’s talk green homes!

Live…from the Built Green Conference 2012: Keynote Speaker Denis Hayes, President/CEO of Bullitt Foundation

Wow what a great lunch

King County Green Tools staff Patti Southard and Kinney (missed the other name) made introductory remarks for Mr. Hayes. First they gave us some statistics and diversion rates for construction materials. Newest edition of the Construction Recycling Directory just came out. He suggests that builders use 2 bins on sites so the sorting is done immediately because it is very time consuming to sort it later. He also mentioned the 20/20 Refit Challenge. Rehabilitating older homes to become healthy, comfortable, energy efficient homes is a lot more sustainable than deconstructing a structure and building something new It’s all about keeping materials out of the waste stream.

Patti thanks the staff at Built Green for creating such a great model that others in the country look to. Collaboration is key. She says every day we are working on making this a beter planet it is like writing a love letter to the Earth. She says we are lucky to have the kind of leadership we have in our area – with Denis Hayes, the founder of Earth Day, having joined our community. She shared her own memories of how Earth Day is a holiday not for religion or anything else, but for doing something for others and the plant.

Denis Hayes
Funny guy! Seems to be speaking extemporaneously. He said normally he gives a rousing motivational speech about becoming more green. But he doesn’t have to do that here, since everyone in the room is involved in the green building industry. He talked about how the Bullitt Foundation stat=started out in a hayloft, and since joining the organization the Board agreed to the construction of a green building. The piece of property the foundation owned called for something larger than an office for seven people, and now they have a 52,000 sq ft mixed use building. Billed as “The Greenest Building in the World” He said there are 26 geothermal wells that are 400 feet deep. ALL of the energy that will be used in this building will be generated by the building. Net Zero is not accomplished very often. Hayes talked about trying to meet the requirements of the Living Building Challenge. He spoke about sourcing materials for the building, finding contractors who would

Bullitt Center – Hard costs up through TI: 17% more expensive than regular Class A office space and found they can’t rent it for any more than regular Class A office space. If you are a tenant in their building and meet ll of your energy goals, you have no energy costs, it’s free. Society needs to start placing real value on things that endure. These major investments count for something. He talked a lot oabout the features that went into this new building. I missed the last tour a couple weeks ago! So I sent an email to find out when the next tour will be. Defnitely have to get it on it.

If I had to do it gain knwoing what I know now and this will sound ridiculous – this is the first time I have worked on a building, but it has given me a lot of humility. So he deerred t a lot of te experts, vendors, and contractors, for elements and aesthetics that if he woudl have won on if he had stuck to his guns. And he would hold out to have it his way next time.

Live…from the Built Green Conference 2012. Session 1

Coming to you live this morning from the Built Green Conference in gorgeous Mukilteo. We are at the Rosehill Community Center above the ferry terminal.

The structure this year is breakout sessions bookending a keynote speech at lunch. There also is an expo where we can meet vendors and other stakeholder sin energy efficiency and green homes. It is hard to decide which session to go to. I picked the one that best matches my personal interests and professional role as a real estate broker.

So I am in the Fowler Room in “Transforming Markets: Community Power Works, 20/20 Home Refit Challenge, and Community Energy Efficiency Programs.”
This is a panel of multiple perspectives, including building science, outreach, marketing, and workforce development.
Jason Lear (Batt+Lear)
Andrea Petzel (City of Seattle Department of Planning and Development)
Ruth Bell (Community Power Works)
Dan Wildenhaus (Senior Building Science Specialist for Fluid Market Strategies)

Topics this session
Community Energy Efficiency Program
Do Energy Efficiency Programs transform markets?
Have local programs transformed our market?
How do we know?
What’s next?

Interestingly enough, I was an early participant in the Community Power Works program, before it reached its current iteration of providing a $95 energy assessment. A volunteer came to my home and talked about energy efficiency and how to cut your personal energy use. Low hanging fruit (one of the easy. low cost things you can do) included replacing all of our existing light bulbs with CFL bulbs. This was about two years ago. I had not changed out the light bulbs from when we bought the townhome as new construction in 2007. It is a 3-Star Built Green Certified home in the Built Green Certified Community of High Point in West Seattle. Besides energy efficiency, changing to a lower usage bulb makes your home more comfortable. All of those incandescent bulbs put out a lot of heat.

There are a number of measuring tools that are being utilized to show the results of the Community Power Works retrofits. Over 500 homes have been completed, with over 240 in the pipeline now. The gal si to reduce energy use by at least 15%. Only one home has not met that goa, anf there are some “audacious” homes that are saving 50-60% in energy use on their utility bills.

Building science
Rather than write all new specs, they use Department of Commerce specifications for building performance.
Reducing air leakage in a home (insulation)- leaky recessed lighting fixtures increases heat loss/gain, and can cause ice dam problems.
Most often performed corrective action taken in homes in the program:
Air sealing
Attic insulation
Wall insulation
Floor insulation
uct sealing
Duct insulation

Measurement used to be in carbon savings. Most people couldn’t understand it so it was changed to energy savings. Quality assurance has to be evaluate frequently so course corrections can be made. Programs like this leverage current training to bolster both new and existing workers and create not just jobs but quality companies.

Who are the customers/
Income between $50-$150k. There is a significant drop off in the higher income brackets, perhaps these flks don’t consider government programs for tem. There also is a low number of households with people of color. Perhaps there is a language barrier or translation problem that needs to be increased. More outreach to lower income communities. There are cultural liasons speaking about 12 languages
33% of households have children in the home
Most homes were built before 1959.

Average cost of upgrade $14,500
Average CPW rebate: $2,600. (18%)
Average utility rebates: $700 (5%)
Customers with CPW loans: 25%

Washigton State University (WSU) is a big participant in the program, helping with surveys of homeowners after they have participated in the program.

Now what? (Jason Lear)
20/20 Home Refit Challenge: 20,000 ohomes with 20% energy savings
Program participants get: Special financing and the market value of a Buitl Green Certification + Energy Score
Puget Sound Cooperative Credit Union (PSCCU) has developed a special home equity loan for homeowners who participate in the program.
“Puget Sound Cooperative Credit Union understands the challenge in affording energy-efficient alternatives for your home. We’re here to help with our Energy Smart Loans. Our loan products cover everything from heating and cooling, hot water tanks, gas conversions, windows and even renewable energy like SOLAR! Need to do some prescriptive measures before you can make your home more efficient? We can usually help with that as well.”

What is the future of Community Power Works?
Under negotiations now withs stakeholders trying to get interest gauged from utilities and assessing market need. By Jan or Feb 2013 there may be an extension to the program (but no new money coming in).

This is a working blog post and will be updated as more information becomes available to flesh out the details of this session.

Have you heard about the Drive-In Condo in West Seattle? | Built Green Certified (VIDEO)

My normal marketing process would have had this video out a lot sooner; however, this is the Built Green condominium that received an offer on its first day on market…so naturally the marketing process kind of stopped (except for all of the online marketing).

So this video features my community of High Point, then marketing the view ground floor condominium that sold on day one. Unfortunately the first buyer flaked and it went back on market last Saturday!

NWMLS #380491 2840 SW Raymond Street, #102 | Seattle, WA 98126

2 Bedrooms | 2 Bathrooms | 996 square foot home | Ground Floor | Barrier Free | City and Mountain Views | Attached one car garage | Covered patio

High Point is a Built Green Certified Community and this is a 3-Star Built Green Certified Home.

Experience this secluded ground floor location in this award-winning neighborhood with pocket parks on every block, community gardens, and other environmental features. Great views of downtown and the Cascade Mountains.

Nine foot ceilings, granite slab breakfast bar, stainless steel appliances, raised panel doors, crown molding and designer colors upgrade. Luxury living in a secure building. Move right in and don’t lift a finger! Turnkey!

Listed by Mountain To Sound Realty and marketed by Wendy Hughes-Jelen
Built Green Certified Professional, Realtor, and EcoBroker
In West Seattle since 1997 | Living Green and Wearing Pink!

House of the Immediate Future

Finally, something post-worthy! I’ve been grinding away on real estate (conventional at the moment, not green unfortunately), but I am still doing a lot of reading and this popped into my email today from Jetson Green.

Prefab Wet-Cores Used in Next-Gen Home

Off-site fabricated modules with plumbing, electrical, and mechanical systems — referred to as “wet-cores” — were installed recently in The Home of the Immediate Future in Seattle. These will help keep the home affordable and high performance.

It really caught my attention since it is close to home (I live in Seattle). After The Next 50 exhibit at the Seattle Center, the home will be relocated to a Rainier Vista development by Dwell Development that includes three other homes. I did a little poking around, and Built Green featured this Dwell community at Columbia Station (next to Light Link rail) in January. This micro-community will grow to 15 units of affordable housing and are cited as “great example(s) of 5-Star green building and design at an accessible price point.”

See the Case Study here.

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

ConvectAir heat saves you money, keeps dust from blowing around from forced air

I recently began marketing a townhome in West Seattle for sale. Although it is not an Environmentally Certified Home it does have some green features.

Technically it is listed as having forced air heat since throughout the house there are Cadet-style wall heaters. But the current owner (and I suspect the previous owner as well) only heats using the ConvectAir low profile wall heater located in the living room on the west wall on the middle level.

Heat rises, so if you spend most of your time in your living areas and are under covers at night, there is no reason why convection style wall heat run for only 12-14 hours a day can’t provide enough warmth to make you completely comfortable. Not to mention you will save a ton of money on your electric bill.

I will get a picture of the heater tomorrow, but for now here is the information on the actual townhome. And visit for more information on this brand of heater.

“Go Small, Go Green, and Go Home” | The non-trend in new homes

Martha Rose (Martha Rose Construction) has a guest post on the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties Facebook page today, called “A New Normal in the Home Market”

Martha is a very creative home builder. I have toured several of her properties in the last 5 years. She loves educating people about what is going on “behind the walls” since that is where most of the energy efficient things happen. Home buyers often arrive on the scene too far along in the construction process to be able to see and fully appreciate all that went into making the home as efficient as possible.

If saving money is important to you, and you are in the market for a home, you will want to seek out “Environmentally Certified Homes” through the local Northwest Multiple listing Service. Large search sites often don’t allow you to use this as one of your search criteria but I made sure my brokerage’s search page does at Mountain To Sound Realty.

If you have any questions about green homes, let me know. It has been five years since my husband and I purchased a Built Green Certified home in a Built Green community and I have a lot to share.

25E: The Cut Energy Bills at Home Act

This is very exciting news that I came across on the blog from San Francisco-based Efficiency First, “a national nonprofit trade association that unites the Home Performance workforce, building product manufacturers and related businesses and organizations in the escalating fight against global warming and rising energy costs.” Their page “Introducing 25e: The First Performance Based Tax Credit for Homes” includes links to the actual text of the Senate bill, a quick reference fact sheet, and a webinar from December that discusses it in detail, as well as software and contractor credentials.

The brief description is:

The Cut Energy Bills at Home Act has been introduced in the Senate with bipartisan support. If passed, the bill would create a new 25e tax credit — the first residential performance-based tax credit given to homeowners who make energy efficiency improvements. The proposed bill would provide performance-based tax credits of up to $5,000 per project for homeowners who install qualified energy efficiency measures

I signed the petition in support of this important new bill, saying:

As a Realtor and EcoBroker I support any smart legislation that will create a market-driven change to building quality and energy consumption. 25E could create a revolution in bottom-up energy conservation by individual power users, from east to west, north to south. As someone born in the same year as Earth Day and seeing improvements at a pace slower than the destruction occurring on our planet, I consider it a personal mission to educate my clients, friends, and family about indoor air quality and energy usage in their homes.

If you also feel this is important, please endorse this new legislation by signing their petition to add your support to this important effort! Stay tuned for more details as they become available.

City Cabins now available for sale on Queen Anne hill

I met Martha Rose a few years ago when touring one of her sustainable home developments in the Shoreline area just north of the Seattle city limits. It was called Fish Singer Place and it was a renovated original home and three new homes built on the original property – a very large lot.

Now Martha Rose has just completed a project with a view – and Martha is moving closer and closer to what is called “Zero Energy” homes. You should look into City Cabins if you want the ultimate in clean green and great energy efficiency in your next home. The homes are located on the northwest slope of Queen Anne and just across the water from Ballard and boast a Walk Score of 75! They are 5-star Built Green Certified, the highest possible rating in our area. Visit the website

About City Cabins
Martha Rose, known by many as the ‘Queen of Green,‘ is a national leader in the Green Building Movement. Her interest in energy efficiency and sustainable building practices goes all the way back to the 1970‘s and currently is her main focus. Today Martha is striving toward building Zero-Energy spec-homes.

The energy crisis of the 1970‘s sparked her interest in conservation and alternative energy that became intertwined with her career in construction. The necessary learning that goes along with this topic is deep and on-going. Today, Martha is an educator herself, pushing the building industry towards zero-energy-use homes.