How my morning has been progressing

I started out cleaning off my desk – woke up too early. Then of course the sun starting doing great stuff outside my window.

Funny how I see spots every time I take a picture of the sun! Makes it a little hard to see the computer screen.

Blogging is always more fun than cleaning anyway.

I am waiting for the birds to quiet down and then I will go back to bed. 4 hours of sleep is not enough for the day I have planned!

Top 10 Reasons to Avoid Bottled Water

I don’t think Nubius Organics will mind if I repeat their email notice from yesterday. Sometimes we need a reminder on these stats and there is always the opportunity I will reach a new reader with this information.

My most recent water bottle acquisition was at Seattle’s greenfest in March, from EarthLust. See photo at bottom.

Americans drank 8.8 billion gallons of bottled water in 2007, up more than 7% from 2006.. Even in areas where tap water is safe to drink, demand for bottled water is increasing—producing unnecessary garbage and consuming vast quantities of energy.

~ It takes approximately three 8oz bottles of water to make one disposable plastic bottle…so that we can get 8oz of hydration.

~ Approximately 1.5 million barrels of oil—enough to run 100,000 cars for a whole year—are used to make plastic water bottles, while transporting these bottles burns even more oil. Imagine a water bottle filled a quarter of the way up with oil. That’s about how much oil was needed to produce and transport the bottle.

~ 40 billion plastic bottles end up in landfills each year, costing cities as much as 70 million in cleanup costs annually. Is this really how we want to spend our tax dollars?

~ In 2006, the equivalent of 2 billion half-liter bottles of water were shipped to U.S. ports, releasing thousands of tons of global warming pollution and other air pollution.

~ The bottled water industry spends millions of dollars a year to convince us that their product is somehow safer or healthier than tap water, when in fact that’s just not true.

~ Disposable bottled water has far less rigorous testing requirements than city tap water for bacteria and chemical contaminants. There are no requirements for bottled water to be disinfected or tested for parasites such as cryptosporidium or giardia.

~ 3 out of 4 Americans drink bottled water. 1 in 5 will only drink bottled water, (although it’s far less regulated than tap water) and in blind taste tests across the county, 2/3rds of people couldn’t even tell the difference.

~ The irony here, of course, is that about 40% of bottled water is actually tap water, which is typically free and is much better regulated and more rigorously tested than bottled water.

~ In the US, bottled water corporations such as Nestle are draining billions of gallons of water from rural communities around the country, limited or depleting well water available to the citizens who live there.

~ Unfortunately, only about 15% of plastic bottles are recycled. The rest are sent to landfills. Or, even worse, they end up as trash on the land and in rivers, lakes, and the ocean.

~ Plastic debris in the environment can take between 400 and 1,000 years to degrade.

My new bottle from EarthLust even fits in the cupholder in my MINI Cooper – not an easy feat!

No better time to clean your home office than at 4:55 am on a Saturday morning

Morning’s like this are one of the reasons why I picked this particular townhome location in High Point in West Seattle.

No, not for mornings where I can’t get back to sleep because I am suffering from a head cold and can’t breathe properly. But for mornings when I am somehow awake at the miraculous hour of sunrise and the view of the Cascades from my house.

Trying to breathe woke my brain up enough to think about other things, including the fact that I plan on holding the GreenWorks office open today and rearranging said office with the help of Steve. Guess thinking about change got me too stimulated to go back to sleep.

That and the BIRDS are ridiculous. Love it but man, are they noisy. I woke up at 4:15 and they were already singing.

TOMORROW: Green Jobs, Green Communities

CONTACT: David Hirning, 206-571-6586

Small-Business Leaders, Local Residents Host Green Jobs Event
Call on Congress to Pass Strong Clean Energy Jobs Bill to Jump-Start Job Creation in Seattle

Local small-business leaders and residents of Seattle will host a green-jobs rally and tour of area clean energy homes on Wednesday, May 27, in the High Point neighborhood of West Seattle. The event is being organized by the Seattle chapter of, which has about 50,000 members in the Seattle metro area. At the rally, local residents will call on Congress to pass the American Clean Energy and Security Act, which the House of Representatives is expected to vote on this summer. If passed, the bill would create high-paying jobs, reduce electricity and heating costs for local households, and keep America competitive in the global economy.

WHAT: Clean Energy Jobs Day – A tour of the High Point neighborhood as an example of how green energy initiatives create jobs, better communities, and a safer world.

WHEN: 4:00 pm, Wednesday, May 27, 2009. The tour is expected to last 1-2 hours.

WHERE: See below.

WHO: Join members and meet people who are incorporating green concepts into their Seattle lifestyles. Meet High Point residents, a realtor, a small-business owner, and a candidate for Seattle city council.

MEDIA FEATURES: See green-built sidewalks and roads, Longfellow Creek, green spaces, a pond park, walking trail, waterfall, and the Seattle skyline. See green homes constructed by five different construction companies. And while it’s under construction, catch a glimpse of Neighborhood House, which will include 20,000 square feet of classrooms, gathering spaces, social service offices, and technology labs—one of the largest built-green projects in the country.

Stop #1: Resident home of Jennifer Cobb, 3123 SW Raymond Street. MoveOn organizers will provide an overview of the local clean energy economy and talk about potential expansion. Yves Vetter, the owner of a small, local green retrofitting business will speak. Jen will show us the green features in her home, constructed by Saltaire.

Stop #2: Wendy Hughes-Jelen of GreenWorks Realty will lead us on an environmental walking tour of the neighborhood on our way to one the neighborhood’s model homes. Wendy will explain High Point’s green features, which include bio-swales, different forms of pervious and impervious surfaces, and landscaping designed for water filtration. From the home, you can view the green space, pond park and walking trail, waterfall, and Seattle skyline.

Stop #3: Resident home of David Ginsberg. David will show us the green features in his home, constructed by Devland, Inc. David is currently a candidate for Seattle City Council and his platform includes a commitment to the greening of Seattle.

Directions: Take the West Seattle Bridge to the stop light at the end and and turn left on 35th Avenue SW. After about 2 miles, turn left on Raymond Street. Just past 32nd Avenue SW is Jennifer Cobb’s home at 3123 SW Raymond Street. Bus: Route 21 departs about every 30 minutes along First Avenue downtown and along 35th Avenue in West Seattle.

This event is part of Power Up America, a national organizing campaign to support a strong clean energy jobs bill. To learn more about the campaign, visit Political Action is a political action committee powered by 5 million progressive Americans. We believe in the power of small donors and grassroots action to elect progressive leaders to office and to advance a progressive agenda. We do not accept any donations over $5,000, and the average donation to Political Action is under $100.

Hardhat tour of LEED Gold Neighborhood House construction site in West Seattle

I managed to arrange for a hardhat (and heavy shoes) tour of the new LEED Gold Neighborhood House under construction in West Seattle. Ray Li, the Director of Strategic Planning, will lead the tour.

The building: 20,000 square feet of classrooms, gathering spaces, social service offices, technology labs and more, located in the heart of the redeveloped High Point public housing community.

Green notes: Constructed with the environment in mind

•When certified, the Neighborhood Center will be the first LEED™ Gold-certified building constructed by a nonprofit agency in Washington, meeting the highest standards of environmental design and sustainability as designated by the U.S. Green Building Council.

•The building will use 244 solar panels to produce up to 50 percent of its own energy needs – the largest array of solar panels in the state of Washington.

•A ground source heat pump will significantly increase energy efficiency. By running a non-toxic fluid through underground piping, instead of coils exposed to constantly changing air temperature, the building’s heating and cooling system will take advantage of the relatively constant temperature of the earth to provide much more efficient heating and cooling.

•Natural daylight will illuminate nearly all regularly occupied spaces to reduce reliance on electric lighting. The building will use only electric power (no natural gas); because most of Seattle’s electricity comes from hydroelectric sources, the building will need very little fossil fuel to operate.

•Highly reflective roofing and light-colored paving materials will harmlessly reflect away heat rather than absorbing heat and then radiating it into the surroundings, avoiding the “heat island” effect typical of many buildings.

•Storm water runoff from the site will be slowed by using permeable paving materials and collecting rainwater from the roof in a cistern and series of rain gardens.

•Ninety-five percent of construction waste will be recycled.

•Reinforced concrete will contain high levels of recycled fly ash (an industrial by-product), replacing some of the cement typically used, which requires large amounts of energy to produce. Steel used for reinforcement also will contain a high percentage of recycled material.

•To ensure optimum indoor air quality, the use of low- or no VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) paints, sealants, coatings and adhesives will reduce or eliminate the cancer-causing off-gassing that occurs in most buildings, as does the elimination of added urea-formaldehyde in wood and agrifiber products.

“This new building, this crown jewel is important for Neighborhood House but also for the country and for the world. It will change the conversation about social uplift and the environment. This is an extraordinary, bold, breakout move. Neighborhood House should be applauded and supported for taking this first step.”

~ Van Jones / Nationally recognized environmentalist and social activist and now Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation at the White House Council on Environmental Quality

More Information: Green Spaces Real Estate Meetup
Date & time Wednesday, May 27, 2009 7:30 AM
Location Commons Park – High Point (West Seattle)
32nd Ave SW & SW Sylvan Way (32nd is posted as SW Lanham Place)

“ Meet at the amphitheatre on the south side of the “view mound” along 32nd (Lanham) ”

What is green space?

This little tidbit of information is part of a “5 Amazing Green Cities” list. I was drawn to it for its conciseveness.

People ask me how I came up with the name of my blog – which launched at about the time my husband and I put in our offer on our current home in the Built Green Certified Community of High Point in West Seattle. Almost every block has a pocket park and the community is adjacent to a greenbelt. My particular home is across the street from a pocket park on one side and the greenbelt on the other and although the neighborhood is very dense it does not feel that way because of the thoughtfully planned green space.

I specialize in new green homes in addition to traditional homes that can be greened through an energy retrofit and thoughtful design of the available space on the remainder of the lot. I also thrive on learning about healthy living options and green living trends and new products. And I love sharing what I’ve learned. THAT is where the name of my blog came from.

And here is an explanation of green spaces…

What is “Green” Space?
“Going green” can mean literally just that — turning your community green with foliage. And green space is exactly what it sounds like: It’s the amount of open space reserved for plants and trees, gardens, parks and nature preserves. Green space improves air quality, cuts pollution levels and energy costs, and adds to the aesthetic of the city.

Some cities are finding innovative ways to include green space in their urban landscape. In 2000, the city of Chicago planted a garden in place of the black tar roofing on a city government building. Green roofing offers similar benefits to gardens and parks at ground level by helping to reduce urban heat islands. Green rooftops also add a layer of insulation to the building, keeping it warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer, reducing the building’s energy costs.

Get your tix now to see “Elmo’s Green Thumb”

Elmo, Big Bird, Rosita, Oscar the Grouch and the rest of the Sesame Street Live cast are coming to the Tacoma Dome, 2727 E. D St., Tuesday and Wednesday to share Sesame Street’s gentle lessons and fun in “Elmo’s Green Thumb,” a new show. The story tells of Elmo’s quest to find a garden home for Sunny, the sunflower he’s been growing in a pot.

The show will also be playing at Comcast Arena in Everett, 2000 Hewitt Ave., Friday-Sunday. Tickets start at $11. Tickets to the show Tuesday and Wednesday at the Tacoma Dome can be purchased at 206-628-0888 or Tickets to the shows Friday-Sunday at the Comcast Arena in Everett can be purchased at 866-332-8499 or