Live…from the Built Green Conference 2012: Session 2, Double Down-Marketing Green and Universal Design (Aging In Place) | Dave Porter, PorterWorks

The Power of Synergy

Dave Porter of PorterWorks said we’ve all scared the crap out of each other enough. Take water for instance. Of all the water on the planet only 3% of it is potable, 2% of it is ice, and we are wasting so much of it.

What does green mean to you?
People spoke up with a lot of words –
Future Proofing
Smart Design

Dave says a lot of green building is missing the mark. He has seen a lot of 4 and 5 star Built Green homes, but they are not designed to last.

Words for Universal Design
Simple solution to a complex problem
Universal design
Proportional (too many homes are too large and just for two people)

We spent some time evaluating the room we were in.

Universal design is not a hospital or hotel room that is “accommodating”. They all look and smell like old nursing homes. He is talking about some spiffy places. European curbless shower. The tile does not have to scream hospital.

1 in 9 people have an issue with indoor air quality, lke asthma.

Why people buy green homes
Save money
Make money
Indoor air quality
They care a little bt about the world.
…in that order.

People are very interested in protecting their house. Indoor air quality and home security is something people will spend money on.
It is ridiculous that people will buy a green home to address indoor air quality issues but then bring in toxic furniture.

7,000 people become 65 every day.
2.7 million people in a wheelchair
6.8 million need some sort of mobility assistance
10 million blind or visually impaired, 1 million deaf and 10 million hard of hearing
NAHB has a program Certified Aging In Place. But Dave says it is about any age, there are 121,000 under the age of 15 in a wheelchair.

Someone you know is going to need Grace of the space

Intersection between green and universal design
A rambler – smaller home, no stairs
Floor coverings –
HVAC – ductless, remote control, accessible filter
Light switches – they should be lower
Outlets – should be higher
Windows – hand crank openings, good daylighting so no need to use lights
Materials – concrete floors, wood
Appliances – induction stoves since it inly heats metal and not people. Some people have sensory limitations. Central vacuum systems. Microwave drawer. Dish drawrs instead of front loaders. Front loading washing machine instead of top loader. Pull out shelves. More drawers.
Cabinets and hardware see above
Landscape and walkways – pervious concrete would offer traction on a ramp. Drip irrigation Biophylia. raised garden beds.

Seven Principles of UD

– Equity Use
– Flexibility in Use
– Simple and intuitive to use
-Perceptible Info
-Tolerance of errors
-Low physical effort
-Size and space for approach and use

UD and Green Checklist

-Think family
-Think ahead
-Think green
-Do not think disability, wheelchairs, or ramps
-Do not think ADA, Fair Housing Act or other accessibility guidelines

Now the room has been brokern into sections and we are putting on our “designer” hats to design a green and universally designed home.

Dave concluded with some photos of good universal design. Your job is to solve problems. Uncover problems then solve them.

This is a working post.

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.

Two Built Green condos going “pending” today; I am blogging LIVE from the Built Green Conference tomorrow; OOPS…biking in the woods in the dark

Big news today – two Built Green condominiums in Redwood High Point (where I actually live) are going “Pending” today. I represent one buyer, and a seller, in two different transactions. It’s a good week!

Also I will be blogging live from the Built Green Conference tomorrow. I have gone every year for the past 4 years on a press pass so I can share what I learn and also keep fresh with the most up-to-date information when it comes to green homes. You can tune in tomorrow right here for updates and information on the latest trends.

Photo for today is a picture I took at Rattlesnake Lake Monday night after biking with my husband 22 miles down the Iron Horse Trail from Hyak in Snoqualmie Pass. The trail starts at the pass with the Snoqualmie Tunnel, 2.75 miles of pitch black and cold. The trail unexpectedly ended at the Cedar River Watershed Education Center and clearly our timing was off as by that time it was dark (see photo, haha). We expected it to connect to the Snoqualmie Valley Trail, which we have biked sections of before. (We would have found the entrance to the trail just down the road if it had not been dark!!) We biked another 8 miles down very steep roads (Cedar Falls Road, then over I-90 and into town), annoying traffic, to reach North Bend and my real estate office where we left one car. Total trip was 29.76 miles. Average speed was 12.6 mph, fastest (on my bike) was 25.6 (Steve probably had faster). It was a little scary going down a steep hill in the dark. Later looking at a map we determined we had taken a MUCH more direct route than if we had been on the Valley Trail, which winds all over. We had to drive back up to the pass to get the other car. We walked into an Applebee’s in Factoria for dinner at a quarter to 10, and didn’t get home until 11. A ride to remember!!

A Creative Two-Prong Approach To Getting a Property Sold

7705 11th Ave SW
7705 11th Ave SW (NWMLS 349459) just reduced the listing price $3k and offered a $2k bonus to the selling agent
It’s not always about a lower price, although it is nice. Sometimes it is about getting a real estate broker to even notice a property to get them to sell it. You can achieve this with a two-prong approach – a price reduction the benefits the buyer, and a commission bonus in addition to regular commission to the agent to ensure the property at least gets shown.

Agents have biases…and sometimes think they know everything. But if you sweeten the deal a bit, sometimes an agent can get out of their own way and show a property that is perfectly ideal for their buyer client if the agent would just stop thinking they always know best or know with 100% certainty if a property is going to work for their client or not.

Now, if the buyer says “NO TOWNHOMES” then fine, maybe don’t show them a townhome (although I always said no to condos and townhomes and then somehow bought a condominiumized townhome 5 years ago – which is why I have the attitude I do about this whole issue). But I actually had someone show one of my other listings yesterday that for the same price was a ground floor view condo with attached garage and the agent’s feedback was “They’re looking for a townhome…” You can bet that I sent her info and this video, stat!

So how does a two prong approach work? A price change is obvious – and the buyer saves money. But the additional strategy was to be sure to offer “Full Commission” (a % that many companies have an internal policy to sign listing agreements at), THEN offer even more if the agent could bring an acceptable offer by a certain date. This particular property? Currently the Selling Office Commission is $6,508.50. The typical agent is only getting a portion of that, depending on the company and what they negotiated when they joined the office. If it were I selling this home I would be getting a check close to $5,000 after the company’s portion plus some incidental expenses and insurance was deducted. The bonus? The property owner here has agreed to pay an additional $2,000 straight to the buyer’s agent at closing, and that’s not anything to shake a stick at. Suddenly my almost $5k went to almost $7k, and that’s going to pay my bills for a couple months.

If you have a tired listing, think about blending your approach and splitting the seller’s sacrifice between the buyer and the buyer’s agent. It’s a win-win-win, for the buyer, the seller, AND the agent. Who might not have ever looked at or shown the property if that $2,000 carrot wasn’t dangled out there in the first place.

I had no idea – paint made from plastic bottles

Something that came across my Facebook feed this weekend was a report from Earth911 about a paint made from PET bottles. I had no idea this existed, so of course I had to share it.

In 2011 Sherwin-Williams received an EPA green chemistry award for its paint formulation that contains recycled plastic bottles PET plastic bottles, in addition to acrylics and soybean oil. The paint combines the performance of alkyd, or oil-based, paints, with acrylic paint’s low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can cause respiratory irritation and damage to kidneys, lungs and nervous systems.

Look for ProClassic Waterbased Acrylic Alkyd, ProMar 200 Waterbased Acrylic Alkyd and ProIndustrial Waterborne Enamel.

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