|Puget Sound Solar courtesy of Northwest EcoBuilding Guild|
I contacted member and tour organizer Cate O'dahl, a consultant with ESP Services, who told me, "It's free. Anyone can participate. There are sites all across Puget Sound." The event will also include a FREE EXPO on Saturday, and FREE ENERGY WORKSHOPS on Sunday.
In addition to the Seattle Green Home Tours, people living in Tacoma, Puyallup, or Olympia should not miss the guild's South Sound Tour, presented by the Olympia chapter. Click here for information on their many sites open this weekend. Those include a small passive house by The Artisan's Group, called "The Jewel Box." It sits on a lot overlooking Bud Inlet in Olympia. You will see a wide variety of great projects on this tour. They have an information hub already open, where you can pick up maps and information. Click here.
|Green Pod photo courtesy of Northwest EcoBuilding Guild|
The Northwest EcoBuilding Guild's mission is:
"...to support through education the progressive work of members in the Pacific Northwest in order to improve the relationship between our communities and our built environment. The Guild provides open-source educational materials to the construction industry and the general public in order to encourage building practices that dramatically reduce carbon emissions, are self-sustaining, contribute to local economies, and create optimal conditions for human health and community."
|Envision Homes photo by Devon Burns|
"I thought I knew what I was talking about and I had no clue," Burns told me. "The folks in the guild have the passion for doing things the right way, irregardless of profit, irregardless of their own needs. I find guild builders to be not about profit margins. They’re more about the relationship they build with the building and the owners. There’s a sense of integrity."
The more Burns learned, the more intense he became about green building, until now he is considered to be as deep green as they come. He and his wife Devon built their dream house, the one they are showing on the tour, the one they plan to sell, sadly, since since they decided to downsize. It has been a home they've loved and a project they'll never forget. Burns recalls the process:
"We wanted to leave no stone unturned. We wanted to deliberate absolutely every thought, every product, every application and apply it against all the principles, whether it was a finish or the insulation type or how we were applying certain things. It had to pass the test, several tests, and pass them in all ways. It’s a struggle and a lot of people don’t necessarily want to go through that. But we wanted to try to meet every demand. It has to be zero toxic or very low toxic. It has to be highly efficient. It has to last a long, long time and be durable. Trying to find products that meet all those criteria is difficult and it takes deliberation. It takes an industry of sustainable remodelers, and that’s where the guild folks come in."
(Read more about this house by clicking here.)
|Lemon Drop photo courtesy of Northwest EcoBuiling Guild|
|Sockeye Homes in Kent voted "Idea House of the Year"|
|City Cabins by Martha Rose Construction photo courtesy of Northwest EcoBuilders Guild|
So many more exciting ideas. Check out these sites:
Pamela Burton and Jeremy Smithson of Puget Sound Solar slashed energy use in their century-old home by 86% by making green improvements. Read about it here and be sure to visit their site.
Kristin Sakai, one of the owners of Sockeye Homes, also contacted me about their five-star demonstration home, also on the tour. This new construction in Kent is so full of green innovations that it has been named "The Northwest Idea House of the Year." Click HERE to link to the case study.
S.A.G.E. Designs NW (S.A.G.E. stands for "Small Artful Green Environments") is featuring on this tour, a 2200 sf pre-fab home full of modern technology and extreme energy efficiency, shipped from Germany in 10 shipping containers. The shell went up in eight days. Read more here.
|Ballard Net-Zero Energy House Photo courtesy of Northwest Eco-Building Guild|
Ballard NET-ZERO ENERGY HOUSE built by Eric Thomas and Alexandra Salmon is a "must see" on the tour. They even have their own blog about this project. Please be sure to take a look at "Zero Energy House Seattle."
YS-Development's tour site in Bellevue will give people the chance to see inside the walls of a green home under construction. Check it out here.
And last but certainly not least, don't miss perhaps the most interesting site of all:
Clearwater Commons, the subject of my previous blog post and an article in the online journal Neighborhood Life. Here is their information for the tour.
I've shown you sites mostly in the greater Seattle area, but don't miss the South Sound Tour either, which has so much to offer.
Why not pack a picnic lunch and celebrate Earth Day by enjoying these great green events?
Congratulations and best wishes to every member of the Northwest EcoBuilding Guild. They're helping to make this a better world.