It’s a solar weekend!

Saturday is the Washington State Solar Tour presented by Solar Washington.

These tours are self-guided, 10 am to 4 pm.

Download a map and be amazed that rainy ol’ Washington is actually a super solar opportunity!

Maps available from Solar Washington web site:

Auburn updated 9-27
Bellingham/Whatcom updated 9-29
Chelan updated 9-15
Clallam updated 9-29
Clark County updated 9-15
Jefferson County updated 9-28
Kitsap County updated 9-28
Olympia updated 9-24
San Juan updated 9-28
Seattle updated 9-29
Skagit updated 9-28
Snohomish updated 9-29
Tacoma updated 9-27
Vashon Island updated 9-15
Whidbey Island updated 9-22

85 homes, 69 condos under $300,000 for sale in West Seattle (98106, 98116, 98126, 98136)

West Seattle Real Estate Roundup

I found 85 residential real estate listings for sale in West Seattle. I searched sip codes 98106, 98116, 98126, and 98136 only since 98146 is sometimes considered too far south (altho one of my best friends lives in that zip code).

I found 69 condominiums for sale within these same parameters.

I live in 98126 (High Point) but have lived in this part of town since 1997 and can help you sort the wheat from the chaffe. Email me, Tweet or call me with questions or tour information at 206.686.HOME (4663).

You have just over 60 days to close on your first home (or if you haven’t owned a home in 3 years) and get the $8,000 tax credit.

This is a mix of traditional and green real estate for sale.

I am a Seattle real estate professional first, and a green real estate agent second. I can help any buyer/seller, but if you are looking to buy a green home, I have additional education and experience in this area that will really benefit your search for a healthy home.

Coming up: Northwest Children’s Environmental Health Forum

Tukwila Community Center, October 1 – 2, 2009

What do we really know about how our children are affected by toxic exposures, especially during their critical developmental years?

And, who’s minding the shop when it comes to protecting our kids from these chemicals?

The Northwest Children’s Environmental Health Forum brings together a rare group of scientists and policy makers who are on the cutting edge of answering those questions. Conference participants hear from these local and national experts individually as well as on interactive, cross-topic panels, with generous Q&A; time provided.

Day 1 (Thursday, October 1)

Hear from top scientists from around the country who are actively working in this field, as they share their research, debunk myths, and summarize their next steps. Topics include autism, food exposures, endocrine disruptors, climate change, cell phones and electromagnetic exposures, and emerging chemicals of concern.

Day 2 (Friday, October 2)

Get updated on local and national policy and legislation efforts to protect our children. Zero in on efforts being made to protect kids at home, in schools and child care centers, in healthcare settings, in communities, through the foods they eat, and through the toys they play with. Hear case studies from around the country, and interact with policy experts to identify future needed actions. All speakers are
actively engaged in policy reform efforts.

View the Program (updated September 24th) to see the outstanding lineup of speakers and topics, including many regional experts and the following national leaders:

Register here

Free webinar – Business case for clean energy: You’ve Tackled the Low Hanging Fruit, Now What?

Received notice about a free webinar from Sustainable Industries about greening your business operations. Some well known names are listed!

You’ve Tackled the Low Hanging Fruit, Now What?

Launched in conjunction with the Sustainable Industries Clean Energy Handbook for Business, this free exclusive Webinar, presented by Sustainable Industries and Lane Powell, aims to help business owners learn how to prioritize and finance energy efficiency upgrades. Learn about the many incentives available to business owners for energy improvements. Plus, learn how such improvements can help your company save money and contribute to a comprehensive sustainability plan.

Introduction by:
Brian Back, Publisher, Founding Editor Sustainable Industries Magazine:

Moderated by:
Becky Brun, Editor Sustainable Industries Magazine:

Featured Panelists:
Micah Allen, Manager Technology Assessment Service, Business Energy Advisor E Source:
Arthur Venables, Senior Manager Enterprise Energy Management Services E Source:

Platinum Sponsor:
Lane Powell, Attorneys & Counselors:

Gold Sponsors:
Portland Development Commission: Fluid Marketing Strategies:

Composting Food Waste at Home – Feed Your Potted Plants!

I’ve had my eye on one of these NatureMills since moving into a townhome and giving up my compost (worm) bin that I had tucked next to the side of my old house. Then the City of Seattle announced a home food waste collection service, that they would take away my food waste and compost (and then sell it back to me as Cedar Grove Compost). So I held off on getting one of these.

But today I received an email from them, that they have made some improvements to their design, which makes me want one again, so I can feed all of my potted plants!!

Here’s what NatureMill has to say:


We’ve listened to our customers. We’ve studied the reviews. We went back to the drawing board and made bold changes to satisfy just about everyone. Please join us in welcoming our 2010 “XE Series” of automatic composters:
* stronger motor to prevent jams
* more powerful filter
* new Energy Save mode
* dozens of other refinements

All of these improvements come without any price increase. The new XE Series is available now, in the Plus and PRO configurations as before.
For details see: .

Also: FREE shipping this month!
To promote our newest products, shipping is free all month, while supplies last.
(UPS ground shipping only within the USA.)

Offer valid until October 1, 2009. Some restrictions may apply. Void where prohibited. Not valid in conjunction with other promotions.


I can’t really afford to get one of these at the moment, and since I have food waste collection service from the city at least I don’t feel guilty for letting the squash rot in my refrigerator drawer! But it is definitely at the top of my list the next time I have some extra money!

It’s market garden day in Seattle

It’s market garden day in Seattle. Wendy and her husband (behind the lens) and their Italian greyhound Sophia walk to the garden in their neighborhood to buy organic vegetables and fresh flowers for the week.


There are two kinds of community gardens in Seattle – a “p-patch” is a garden plot a resident can rent for their own gardening use for the year, a “market garden” plot is reserved for cultivation by low-income residents living in one of the Seattle Housing Authorities “garden” communities. Garden communities is a national term that was sourced from affordable housing communities that supported agriculture for the sustenance of its residents.

In Seattle you can buy a subscription every year to get a guaranteed weekly bag (or two) of vegetables on a certain day of the week based on that garden’s harvest schedule. It can cost several hundred dollars for the year, all due in advance. If you can’t find a family or two to split your CSA share with, going to the garden on its Farm Stand Day is a way to stock up in quantities and with the kinds of produce YOU will enjoy. Not everyone likes beets.
CSA = Community Supported Agriculture

The farm stand concept was tested lightly in 2008 and went into full effect beginning in July of 2009, at least in High Point in West Seattle. There are market gardens in several other communities in Seattle, Wendy was a strong supporter of the farm stand concept. She hates beets and has a limit as to how many vegetables she can eat and hates to waste food by letting it spoil.

Meet High Point’s neighborhood farmer, Hien Nguyen
More about the produce grown in Seattle’s market gardens
More about Seattle Market Gardens or volunteer
Get your own p-patch plot in a community garden near you

Interested in living within walking distance of a market garden? Check out these current High Point homes for sale. Wendy bills herself as the “Resident Green Agent” in High Point. She is a Built Green Certified Professional Real Estate Agent living in a Built Green Certified Home in a Built Green Certified Community. That is called a triple play! Wendy will talk more about what living “Built Green” is all about in a future episode.

Background info:
Wendy was a p-patch gardener from 2000 until 2005 and served on the Board of Directors of P-Patch Trust for three years, 2004-2007. She began to garden at home on her 1/4 acre lot until she and her husband sold the too-much-work house and land and moved to a townhome up the hill in the Built Green Certified Community of High Point. Now Wendy gardens in containers quite successfully, both edibles and ornamentals in addition to several native plant varieties.

See “Are you playing with a full deck?” for Wendy’s experience in converting from a 1/4 acre lot with garden and native plants to a townhome successfully and happily.

This is Wendy’s 2nd video blog (vlog) post. She and her husband Steve are still getting the hang of their equipment and editing software – and until they can learn to edit their clips together you will have to wait in suspense for their weekly visit to the West Seattle Farmers Market. She also is trying to learn how to think and speak at the same time (these cuts are first takes and not rehearsed outside of 4 am wakefulness) and Wendy’s noticed she seems to scowl when she thinks. She hates how her face pulls in these videos. She has vowed to work on this – along with Natalie Coughlin, Olympic Gold Medalist swimmer currently competing on Dancing with the Stars, who also pulls her face when she concentrates, especially when underwater.

Green Spaces moves to video – Wendy’s inaugural VLOG (video blog) post talks about her appreciation of native plants

In Wendy Hughes-Jelen’s inaugural VIDEO blog post she shares her experience of growing up in the country, moving to the city as an adult, and THEN coming to appreciate the plants she took for granted as a kid.


She discovered that there are many parks and small green spaces where the native plants she loves thrive – often through restoration and stewardship efforts such as the Native Plant Stewardship training program of the Washington Native Plant Society. Wendy is a 2001 graduate of the WNPS stewardship program and helped restore a 3 acre green space next to Chief Sealth High School in West Seattle.

Visit for more information regarding native plant stewardship training.

Interested in raising your family in the woods of unincorporated Snohomish County?
As a real estate agent Wendy likes to tie in her educational blog posts with lifestyle opportunities and housing choices. View Residential and Vacant Land for sale within 2 miles of where Wendy grew up, near Echo Lake, midway between Woodinville and Monroe, Washington.

If you would like more information regarding any of this property for sale, please drop Wendy an email.

USDA Loosens Income Limits on No-PMI Loans by Guest Blogger Stephen Hochhalter of Sound Mortgage

I’ve been referring and working with Steve since 2006. He has many very happy clients, including myself!

Guest Blogger, Stephen Hochhalter, of Sound Mortgage

USDA Loosens Income Limits on No-PMI Loans

Zero-down programs are few and far between these days, but one stalwart just got an upgrade!

USDA Guaranteed Rural Development loans offer 100% financing with no monthly Private Mortgage Insurance. Seriously, did you hear me? I said NO monthly PMI. While there are some geographic limitations on this program, if you have your eye on a piece of property that would qualify, you need to take notice.

Although income restrictions for this program are determined based on the number of people living in a household, these limits were loosened beginning April 20. As a result, more buyers may now qualify and be able to afford higher value homes under this program.

Previously, the income limitations were based on the exact number of people living in the home. For example, the limit for two people was different from the limit for one person; the limit for three people was different from the limit for two people, etc.

As of April 20, however, the household income limitations are grouped into two categories: 1-4 Person Households and 5-8 Person Households. This is great news!

It means that higher income earners with fewer people in the household may be more likely to qualify.

In non high-cost counties, where 1-4 people reside in a home, the income limit will now be $70,750. In homes where 5-8 people reside, the limit is $93,400. While these figures serve as a guide, there are certain formulas to arrive at these numbers where people can earn more and still qualify.

Now just because you see the word “rural” in the program name, it doesn’t mean we’re talking farmland here. No, you don’t have to raise cattle or chickens to qualify. Rural generally is defined as areas that are not densely populated and have fewer neighborhoods – but you might be surprised at how many neighborhoods qualify. To check if a property qualifies, email me or click the link below.

Is my property eligible for USDA Guaranteed Rural Housing financing?

I’m very excited about what this can represent to your business. More buyers will have the ability to buy a home without a down payment. Also, when it comes to USDA Rural Housing loans, the seller can pay closing costs up to 6%. When you combine these benefits with the available tax credit of up to $8,000 for first time home buyers, helping more people get into the home of their dreams is suddenly a lot easier.

If you have questions about this update, give Wendy or myself a call. We can show you how waiting for the lowest price could really cost you more in the long run.

Stephen Hochhalter
Sound Mortgage