Seattle-area February community events and classes with a green focus

By-Product Synergy Northwest Community-Wide Networking Event
Seattle City Hall, Bertha Landes Room, 8:00am – 1:30pm
February 18th PREREGISTER

Revisiting Sustainable Development in a New Era
University of Washington, Parrigton Commons, 7-8 pm
February 18th PREREGISTER

Community-Wide By-Product Synergy Networking Event
City Hall from 8am to 1:30pm
February 18th

Educational Green Home Tour
5-Star Built Green & Energy Star Rated Homes
February 21st

AWEA Wind Power Project Siting Workshop
Tacoma Public Utilities, 3628 S. 35th Street
February 24-25th

Green Building — The New Economy and the Future of the Building Industry
The Grand Hyatt
February 26th PREREGISTER

Make Your Home Green Seminar
ecoHAUS in Bellevue
February 26th & 28th

Northwest Environmental Education Council:Intro to Integral Sustainability
Northwest Environmental Training Center from 9am to 4pm
February 28th

My big career/J-O-B announcement

Well, I still haven’t signed the contract, but beginning TODAY, I am the Office Administrator for GreenWorks Realty in Seattle.

Unfortunately the agency had to layoff the Office Manager – the company was proud to pay a living wage and provide health benefits for Audrey Triantafillidis, who managed the office for over two years. She accomplished things for the company that I personally would not have had the energy or motivation for, probably. She created formal marketing, developed and maintained the web site, implemented a human resources system, among other great achievements. It is unfortunate that the current real estate market has not enabled the agents and broker to retain her. I liked Audrey immediately and really wish I could work WITH her, instead of replacing her at her desk. It is sad.

BUT it is good for me since it allows me to really commit 100% to my real estate business instead of spending most of my time looking for a J-O-B (it really is a 4 letter word, it just looks like a 3 letter word). I had a few interviews between October and today, but had not managed to be “the one” to get the prize. Perhaps it was because I truly was meant to be at the real estate office – I have been branding myself as a green home expert and real estate agent for almost two years via my blog ( and I have worked so hard to make a name for myself in this niche, it made me sick to think of giving it up.

But now I don’t have to! I am only being paid a token, in fact, it is a third of what I was making in my last contract. But to be an agent at the office (25 hours a week, planning on 5+ hours a day), keep the lights on and the papers moving, and being able to put my A-board on the sidewalk and work with walk-in clients – could be invaluable. The office is on a great street in the Greenwood neighborhood of North Seattle. Next door is Bambu Organic Salon where I can get my hair done without chemicals, and on the end of our building is Zak and Zoe’s, a great pet store that hands out treats to visitors. Which is good, because SOPHIA is my co-worker and companion in this venture, and will be going to the office with me every day. And Greenlake is nearby, and we will have available to us – and no excuses to avoid, really – the pinnacle of human and dog walking locations.

The announcement sent out to my company included a brief work history, which I am including here since it enhances my “profile” information (on the right sidebar) without being too long.

Wendy’s earliest background began in the property management industry and she worked in regional offices of multi-state and national real estate asset management corporations. For a few years she was a background investigator for multifamily housing. Later she moved to office and retail management and was on the building management team at the Columbia Tower downtown. She and her husband, Steve, were married on the O deck (73rd floor).

Later, Wendy worked independently for a Windermere Real Estate agent and after a year became an agent on her own. In the last 5 years Wendy directed the personal marketing campaigns for loan officers, created a client support system and prospect management process specific to the mortgage banking industry, and also served as a right-of-way (road projects) and relocation (SeaTac Airport 3rd runway) subcontracting agent for municipal contracts.

She has provided office management and administrative support for two non-profits (one affordable housing, one environmental) in addition to transaction management for the last real estate broker she worked for. She has had her real estate license for over 5 years (cumulative), and became a Built Green Certified Professional Real Estate agent in 2007. She is very excited to be working with like-minded professionals who have passion for both real estate and healthy homes and lifestyles.

You will see her and her rescued Italian greyhound, Sophia, at the office 25 hours a week. Her hours will vary to both accommodate the work load in the office and foot traffic in the neighborhood. If you have specific needs at the office, please call for staffing information.

So that is my big announcement and I am very happy to be able to commit to my real estate business at such an intense level. If you know of someone thinking of buying or selling a home and in need of real estate advice, I am a FULL-TIME AGENT and am happy to provide phone consultation or email communication with folks who have questions regarding the condition of today’s market.

Thank you for your support!

Rare and gorgeous “carriage home” comes on market in High Point (West Seattle)

I was driving home from meeting with some ladies in SE Seattle for a green building consultation Sunday afternoon when I saw signs leading from SW Graham Street onto 30th and I wondered what could possibly be for sale there? And there it was – one of only 4 carriage homes
of this type in High Point built in 2006. I didn’t tour the ‘hood until April ’07, and all of these units were long sold and occupied so I never had the opportunity to see the inside before now.

I stopped because I knew there was a little dog that lived here, and I would rather not disturb her during the week, and it gave me the opportunity to meet the listing agent. Of course, the unit that just came on the market is staged the way most people want to live – funny thing, tho, is that someone does actually live here, and the house always looks like this (you can tell it just does).

Outside of the home is a small front yard with nice gardening space, and a cute covered front porch. Inside on the ground level is a quest room – or office/den. Attached is a one car garage with extra room for storage. On the main level is a SWEET kitchen with a great tile bar, and windows all around the living space. There also is a small deck. I have to commend the current owner for choosing to upgrade to half-shutters on the windows. They let in light and air if the windows are open, but provide extensive privacy. There is a pantry, stack high efficiency washer/dryer, and 3/4 bath on the main level.

The top floor loft is a master suite, complete with private bath and a very well-organized walk-in closet. The interior architecture is unique, and it is a vaulted yet cozy and romantic “attic bedroom”.

The home is well-appointed, and painted in contemporary themes. Of course, the home is 4-star Built Green Certified, and has a heat pump that helps with winter heating AND SUMMER AIR CONDITIONING. I know it is only February, but I am already thinking about the hot summer days just around the corner, and am envious of who gets to have A/C (my home does NOT). The listing agent may not know of its certification since the owner may not actually have the certificate on hand. In which case, she should be contacting Built Green with her address and requesting a copy!

Click to see more details and a photo tour of this great home in West Seattle. Square footage is quotes as 1,420 per King County Records.
6309 30th Ave SW – High Point Carriage Home

If you would like to see it in person, and would like a tour of the community (which is also Built Green certified), EMAIL or call me at 206.686.HOME (4663). After all, I am the High Point real estate expert!

$30k price reduction, “traditional” home in Upper Rainier Beach

In the green real estate industry, we distinguish environmentally certified “green” homes from non-certified homes by referring to all other homes as “traditional”. I have a traditional home listing in SE Seattle, and the seller has agreed to a $30,000 price reduction.

This turn-key home leaves you guilt-free when adding your personal touches. Merely move in and decorate—or manifest your dreams with some hard-core remodeling.

Fully fenced back yard for your 4-legged best friend(s). Lots of great gardening space. Built with pride in 1945. Step light on the Earth and live in a “recycled” home that has great green spaces!

2+ bedrooms, 1 full bath, 1090 sq ft fin, 1780 sq ft total. Partially finished basement, extra finished space. New gas furnace, cabinets, fresh paint. Refinished hardwood floors. 2 fireplaces. 2 garages – 1 attached, 1 detached. Corner level lot, approx. 6,000 sq ft, fully fenced back yard.

Near Kubota Garden in Upper Rainier Beach neighborhood, SE Seattle. On bus route 7, convenient to new light rail station, downtown, Tukwila, Renton, airport, etc.

Click to find full listing details for 10246 62nd Avenue South, Seattle

Every home can be a green home with GreenWorks Healthy Home Package. The full package is offered to GreenWorks homebuyers as a gift and the assessment is offered to the public for a fee. It is designed to improve the comfort, health, energy efficiency and durability of your home environment. Check it out and call 206.686.HOME for more information.

Don’t miss this ~ Green Home Tours in Seattle

One of my colleagues at GreenWorks Realty has launched a new web site to coordinate green home tours in the Seattle area, Typically these tours will be of what we call “Deep Green” homes, 4- and 5-star Built Green Certified and sometimes also ENERGY STAR certified homes. The tours are free, and space is limited so you must register in advance.

Dean Martinson, a fellow agent, says

Join us as we explore the features and benefits of green projects from around Seattle. Learn first hand what makes these homes sustainable, energy efficient, and healthy.

Each month your tour guides will take you through two projects -one finished home and one work in progress. We will see behind the walls and learn about the ideas behind the building process. In the completed home we will see how it all comes together and take a moment to marvel at the craftsmanship and the beautiful finishes.

Dean’s next green home tour date is February 21st, 2009 beginning at 11:00 am at a beautiful home in the Crown Hill neighborhood. It is impressively green, and also skillfully incorporates outdoor living and privacy in a close-quarters site location. I loved the house, and would move there in a heartbeat if I didn’t love my Built Green Community of High Point and West Seattle so much.

According to his web site, Dean’s tour includes one completed home and one home under construction, for that “behind the walls” view of what makes a home green. He will help answer the following questions regarding green homes:

  • What is sustainable?
  • What makes a home energy efficient?
  • How can we save water?
  • What makes a home more healthy?
  • How do we improve Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)?
  • Certified Built Green? Energy Star? LEED?
  • Day-lighting? Advanced Framing?
  • Energy Audits? Thermal Imaging?
  • What can you do to make your own home energy efficient, comfortable, and healthy?
  • Each tour explores lots of topics with real life examples.

I hope you take this opportunity to get some “behind the walls” green education. These green home tours will become a regular feature, and I will be scheduling new High Point tours this spring via my group, Green Spaces Real Estate. These tours include an outdoor exploration of the environmental features that were built in to this community that garnered it Built Green certification. Select homes and condominiums for sale will also be a part of the tour.

Traveling Green Isn’t Black and White

Hot out of the Inbox is an email from the Rick Steves travel empire in Edmonds, Europe Through the Back Door.

I am posting it here since you may not be on the mailing list. He has a very good message about air travel and the CO2 emissions that come from it – and that once in Europe, you can use rail travel as a way to reduce your travel carbon footprint.

My only recommendation to you is to not try to take a train anywhere on Christmas Eve. We went from Milan to Torino on that day, and we had to stand in the breezeway most of the way it was so insanely crowded. He probably warned us against it in his books that we bought and took with us but had not erad all the way thru yet.

Dear Traveler,

Traveling ‘green’ is something every thoughtful traveler should strive for. Earth’s the only planet we’ve got, and we need to keep it healthy. But for Americans traveling to Europe, there are practical trade-offs that make traveling green closer to shades of gray than black and white.

Your flight to Europe will unavoidably spew lots of CO2 into the atmosphere, and for the time being there is no practical alternative. To try and make up for the environmental damage, a growing number of travelers are purchasing carbon offsets, which direct money into worthwhile things like reforestation and alternative energy projects. If this 21st-century way of “paying indulgences” helps people travel with clearer consciences, I’m all for it, because I’ve always believed that travel makes us better-informed, more thoughtful citizens of our planet — something we need now more than ever.

Thankfully, once you land in Europe, you’ll have more control over how green your trip is.

Flying is often the fastest (and sometimes even the cheapest) way to get around Europe, but flying just piles on to the CO2 impact of your transatlantic flights.

Europe’s comprehensive, energy-efficient rail network gives travelers a practical alternative. In many cases (figuring in how time-consuming it can be to get to an airport, go through security, etc.), going by train can be just as quick. It’s certainly more comfortable, and here’s the bonus: you can feel good about exploring Europe with a carbon footprint that’s 70% to 90% smaller than if you’d flown. Need another good reason? Eurail Passes are even cheaper now than they were a year ago.

To learn more about the greening of European rail travel, check out this month’s Travel News. You’ll also find articles on my favorite way to fly (without a plane) from France to Italy over Mt. Blanc, some exciting new tours we’ve just launched…and a Travel Tale that bares all.

However you choose to explore our planet, may your travels be thoughtful — and happy.


Dump this house!

Great segment on the Today Show! Click here to Read and Watch: Dump this house! How to sell your home fast 5 mistakes anxious sellers make, plus tips to get the highest sticker price

So, you need to get rid of your house and you need to do it quick. Don’t panic. This may not seem like the best time to dump your house, but with Barbara Corcoran’s advice, it’s possible.

Loft Envy ~ tons of daydreaming material

I took a green mini-tour the other day, and seriously fell in love with a hip modern loft in South Park, right across the street from the new and equally modern looking South Park Library branch.

It was nearing dark as I pulled up, as you can tell from my photo here, since it was the last stop on my Area 140 e-cert tour (translation: environmentally certified homes in the West Seattle area). I saw the library across the street and almost drooled at the thought of living right in the center of things – at least for South Park – alone with my little dog and a cat or two, across the street from the library and not too far from the trail by the river. Unfortunately it was too dark for me to get a picture of the library. This photo I took from the Google Maps street view, where you can get a 360 degree view as if you were standing in the middle of the street.

Personally, I don’t think I can live in an open floor plan of only 700 feet *with* another person, so I would also have to not be married to continue my fantasy. I celebrated my 11th anniversary this last New Year’s Eve, so that is not likely to happen of course!

I used to work in South Park, back in 2001 I was office manager at ECOSS. I also had a p-patch at Marra Farm. So continue the fantasy of also being able to walk to work and to my garden…the only thing missing down here is a major grocery story. And a post office. Looks like I would continue to go to Westwood up the hill from here to attend to those sorts of things…

My life is obviously not in synch with my fantasy world. It’s probably better off that way, since if fantasy were reality, I wouldn’t have anything to think about when driving from one property to another. But look at this place – these photos are linked from the Pb Elemental’s “Work” section of their web site.

Pb Elemental (a neat nod to the chemical element of Lead, Pb being the notation for that element), is at the forefront of modern architecture in my book. Just look at the awnings that keep you dry (and shades some of the glass from the sun) while you enjoy your patio on a warm but rainy spring day – they are solar panels. Oh, did I forget to mention this was a 4 star Built Green Certified home? It also is certified by the ENERGY STAR program. Which is why it was on my tour… it even already has a rain barrel installed, near the front door.

I can’t help it – I just want you to enjoy these professional photos marketing this property with me. I took some pictures, too, but they just are not as good as this…

I mean seriously, who couldn’t go to *town* with awesome planters on this patio? The bamboo screen along the border is already installed and growing to increase the privacy of the sunken deck and patio. SWEET.

I can’t even begin to imagine how I would laze about my living room, reading books and relaxing, with my entire wall open to my patio and my dog and cat(s) running in and out of the house, enjoying the sun.

I love the cabinets in the kitchen. The swing up, and they are solid. Look at the ceiling…beautiful wood. There is a powder room off the kitchen for guests.

Completely open industrial stairwell to the loft bedroom. There is a great laundry nook at the top of the stairs with uber-efficient washer and dryer, and a ventilating fan (indoor air quality is one of the mainstays of green home design). There is a large clothes closet, a mechanical closet, and full bathroom upstairs.

The loft may be only 700 sq ft or so (I think Pb Elemental’s info says 670 square feet), but it is open, bright, has the ultimate in interior appointments, and I am still daydreaming about the place a week later. It certainly made an impression. The company purchased over 10 different properties in South Park and is almost single-handedly remaking the streetscape. There was a map on the counter showing all of the properties the company had acquired, and they are spread out nicely in the neighborhood. (Could not find that information on their web site, tho.)

Maybe in another lifetime, this will be the place for me. Maybe in YOUR lifetime, it IS the place FOR YOU. Click here for listing information.

If you would like to know more about South Park and West Seattle, how convenient it is to all points of the compass, and more about the last available of 4 loft homes and a townhome that were built on this particular lot on South Cloverdale Street, send me an email using the button on the right hand side of the page!

As loco-org movement grows, more suitably sustainable “dining out” options emerge

No, this is not about pork butts – even though they are very cute here. There was an interesting article in the PI today, Let’s be honest about the local-organic-sustainable approach.

In it, Leslie Kelly talks about a great sushi experience in Whitefish, Montana – and wonders how a restaurant that touts local organic food can get away with serving sushi clearly not from Montana.

She says

I think there’s going to be a sea change as far as the whole local-organic-sustainable movement at restaurants is concerned. At least, I hope that change is coming. Chefs can be more upfront about their desire to put quality first, maybe calling their efforts “best practices fare”.

I can’t agree with her more. The first example she holds up as a good example of this is Chef Jason Wilson at Crush. He says he “tries to balance the so-called carbon footprint by taking measures to offset the environmental impact of importing olive oil, arborio rice and unusual spices from a company in San Francisco.”

Not only is Chef Wilson outspoken about the direction he is further going with what was already a recognized unique restaurant in the loco-org movement, but he also walks the walk. He was the first big-name Guest Chef for P-Patch Trust’s annual Chef in the Garden event – the first year he opened his restaurant (2004). I was serving on the Board of Directors then, and it was an amazing meal, and he was a pleasure to work with from a planning perspective.

Leslie goes on to say

Maybe it’s up to us consumers to be more vocal about menu accountability. When you’re considering what to order, don’t be shy about asking where the ingredients came from. The best example I’ve seen of a restaurant truly committed to executing the local-organic-sustainable mission is at Taste at the Seattle Art Museum, where the menu features at least one dish repared with ingredients sourced from within 60 miles.

I have to agree with Leslie. I do ask when I am in a restaurant that I feel cares about what its consumers think and believe in. This is in part because I am interested – but I also am being an acitivist in the sense that I want the restaurant to know people are asking, and we better hear the kinds of answers we want to hear or we are going to eat elsewhere. When my husband and I last ate at TASTE at SAM we were proud as we could be to see both eggs and beef from Skagit River Ranch in Sedro Woolley featured on the TASTE menu. We even enjoyed deviled eggs as a side dish, just to be able to say we had supported one of our favorite farmer market vendors! Not to mention, you can’t beat super fresh local and organic eggs! We have visited the farm many times, it is a great experience for anyone who wants to see where their food comes from – or just wants to visit the country for an afternoon. The farm store is open Saturdays, 10 AM to 6 PM – and I dare say, there will probably be something to sample in the kitchen!

Leslie also mentions Sea Breeze Farm from Vashon Island, and I highly recommend their smoked bacon. You won’t find smokier bacon anywhere! We are lucky in that they are a vendor at our local farmers market every Sunday!