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Tuesday, April 23, 2013


When Seattle homeowner Becky Chan attended the Northwest Green Home Tour in 2012, she found herself taking the first step on an exciting journey, a complete “green” remodel of her own older home. The information she gathered and the contacts she made at last year’s event gave her everything she needed to move forward. One year later, her project is near enough to completion to be is part of the third annual Northwest Green Home Tour taking place on Saturday, April 27, 2013, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“The Green Home Tour planted seeds in my heart about my own project,” Chan told me.“I was inspired by many who were generous in sharing their knowledge in green building. I look forward to sharing my experience with others.” And she already has. You can read the story of Chan’s year-long adventure, and see amazing before-and-after photos, on her blog, Blue View, Green Built.

 This year’s tour showcases 28 sites featuring new construction, remodels and retrofits in the Puget Sound area, all of them using green and sustainable building materials and practices. They are categorized by area:

Central, South, and West Seattle sites
Eastside sites
Bainbridge Island sites

Chan’s house is number N12, located in Seattle’s Greenlake neighborhood, part of the North Seattle tour area.  The original 1980s home was well constructed but not very appealing, with a large garage door facing the street as its dominant feature. You can read more about it and see amazing before and after photos in this blog post written by her architect, Parie Hines of LD Arch Design. This company—whose motto is “Less is more GREEN”—focuses on green additions and remodels, with a mission of “thrifty and thoughtful design for a small planet."

“Although this was an intensive remodel,” Hines told me, “we were able to keep costs down by focusing the budget on the building systemssolar panels, triple pane windows, high efficiency equipment, and SIPs panels—and saving money on finishes.”

The builder was Ted Clifton, of TC Legend Homes. He and his crew also built the “Zero Energy House” in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood. In a year’s time, this house produces as much solar energy as it uses. You can read the homeowner’s blog here: Zero-Energy House
The 2013 Northwest Green Home Tour is presented by the Northwest EcoBuilding Guild and Built Green and is presented by Green Home Solutions—Earth Friendly Building Products & Home Store. Interest in green building continues to grow at an exciting pace. According to Built Green Director, Aaron Adelstein, 30 percent of new homes currently being built in King County have a green rating, and in Washington State overall, over 20,000 certified green homes exist.  And every one displays something about its owner, in one way or another.
Concerning Chan’s home, Hines said: “Becky has a funky industrial aesthetic, so we were able to use salvaged and inexpensive materials such as weathered steel, plywood, and concrete in artful and cost effective ways. She is very crafty and an amazing gardener, so I look forward to seeing how she adds her personal touch over time in creating custom light fixtures, landscape elements, and finishes.”

Chan’s dream came true. Maybe there’s a green home in your future too. For more details on every one of the 28 sites and an official tour map, please visit the tour’s website here. You might have a long day, so you’ll be happy to know there are several “Sustainability Stops” in and around the home sites, with refreshments and additional information. Enjoy yourself, and maybe I’ll be writing about your new home at this time next year. If you have a good story, let me know.

All images are courtesy of  LD Arch Design.


Unknown said...

What an inspirational story! I've spent the past few years working on green homes in Tennessee; it's always great to hear personal stories about what's going on in the rest of the country.

Cate O'dahl said...

Thanks Candace, what a great article