Project Spotlight: Deep Green Westwood Addition

The goal for this DEEP GREEN Westwood Addition designed by LD Arch, was to transform a typical Seattle war-box home into one that is intriguing, yet approachable with a modern, super-functional design for an expanding family.

BEFORE

AFTER

Mighty House added a second story with a master bedroom and bath, a family sized porch, and a kitchen refresh. The family had an eye on choices to increase comfort, efficiency, and a healthy indoor environment that also made budget sense. The result, is a beautiful two-story addition that includes simple and complex sustainable building solutions suitable for projects of all sizes.

The floor plan of the existing house was largely untouched, but the the thoughtful design of the addition allowed the second story and new porch to complement it with a new modern aesthetic and improved functionality.

Kitchen with teal backsplash

Recycled glass tile, locally produced cabinetry with non-toxic construction, and an existing oak floor refinished with a water based finish, gave this kitchen and dining space a completely new look with very few new materials.

The south-facing windows high on the wall of the upper floor allow sunlight to wash over the ceiling and into the space, creating a naturally bright and welcoming master suite. Infrared Radiant Ceiling Panels provide a cozy, efficient heat source without impeding furniture placement or blowing dust and allergens around. And a Solatube in the master closet greatly reduces fabric-damaging UV rays while maintaining all the benefits of daylight.

large front porch with wood panel ceiling

Salvaged front porch ceiling paneling, reuse of existing siding on the new structure, and reusing the old front porch as the back are just a few of the creative ways we minimized resource consumption & gave new life to old materials.

See more photos of this project on Flikr

Save the Date for the NW Green Home Tour on April 29-30!

It’s still a ways off, but we’re already getting excited for this year’s NW Green Home Tour from the Northwest EcoBuilding Guild. The 2017 tour will be the seventh annual event that brings together thousands of visitors, helps educate the public on green building, and lets you get into homes and experience real-life sustainable solutions in person!

We will be co-hosting a site on the tour with LD Arch Design. The Westwood Addition project features DEEP GREEN solutions and infrared radiant ceiling panels. More information coming soon!

April 29 – 30, 2017 | 11 am – 5 pm

Join us! FREE Tickets Here

A Sustainable Home Makeover: Spanish Bungalow Style

At Mighty House Construction we believe that you don’t need need radical change to make a radical shift in how you live, play, and grow in your home. Sustainable makeovers are about small, sticky changes that you can sink your teeth into and make a big difference.

Watch as Mighty House’s Co-Founder, Laura Elfline, presents at the Green Building Slam on this Spanish Bungalow in Madrona. What started as a simple kitchen remodel became a project that would enable a family to increase the livability of their home, enhance their energy conservation efforts, and balance the circle of life. Then, check-out more pictures from the project in our gallery.

Investing in Alternative Energy

Investing in renewable energy directly benefits you and all of us! Check out these opportunities to start making a change:

Seattle City Light Logo
Join City Light’s Green Up! Program
City Light customers can support renewable energy in the Pacific Northwest from geothermal, dairy biogas and wind by adding $3, $6, or $12 to their bill each month. Call (206) 684-3800 or visit seattle.gov/greenup 

Northwest eco building guild logoEducation Session: Solar Energy for Those without Solar Access  Join the NW EcoBuilding Guild at the Phinney Neighborhood Center on Wednesday May 25 from 7-9pm for a discussion of solar energy and how we can make it accessible for renters. More info.

 

The Future of Green Building

Dunn Lumber asked Mark LaLiberte, a trainer and consultant working to educate the homebuilding industry about sustainability and increased energy efficiency, about future trends and how we can reach a goal of building ‘zero-energy’ houses by the year 2030. In this video, Mark discusses components that will help builders reach this goal such as the ‘perfect wall’ and Passive House certification. See the full video here.

Radiant Heat Panel Open House – Wednesday 3/23

WindowsMighty Energy Solutions will be opening our home showroom to the public on Wednesday, March 23. This is an opportunity to see our Ducoterra SolaRay Radiant Ceiling Panels in action. The new year is a great time to start thinking about how to efficiently heat your home. Pacific Northwest winters can be tough, but not with SolaRay Radiant Heat Panels! These panels provide us with warm, cozy, and healthy heat all year long. Come experience this comforting heat yourself at our open house.

3108 SW Webster St, Seattle, WA 98126

Morning Session 7:30-10:30 AM
Afternoon Session 3:00-6:00PM

RSVP’s are welcomed, but not required.

Shorter Days, Colder Nights

Although it is still fairly mild outside, the heat will need to be turned back on soon.

Early Fall is a great time to consider your heating systems for the years to come. Rebates on efficient heating systems are still available throughthe City of Seattle as well as incentives through the Community Power Works program, to switch from oil to electric heating. We are an approved contractor in both instances and can answer your questions. However, funds are limited and when they are gone, they’re gone.

Also, join us for our open house on November 5 to see infrared radiant ceiling heat in action. A low-cost, high efficiency option for reaching those hard-to-heat areas or a whole house solution.

 

Community Solar Program Expanding

City Light’s popular Community Solar Project is expanding, and Seattle residents will soon have the opportunity to take part in the state’s largest solar project.  The next installment of the program is planned for the Phinney Ridge neighborhood of Seattle, where panels will be installed on buildings at the Woodland Park Zoo and the Phinney Neighborhood Center.

The project will allow hundreds of City Light customers to offset their electrical usage by buying “shares” of the system. These sort of innovative projects allow all of our community to invsest in and benefit from solar even if their home or business isn’t perfectly suited for panels itself.

Each unit will be sold for $150 and the cost can be added to a participant electric bill and paid in two installments.

In addition to the good feeling that comes from helping the environment, participants will receive credit for their unit’s production on their City Light bill through June 2020. It is estimated that incentives will total more than $190 per unit by the time the program ends, so the investment could more than pay for itself as long as customers stay in the City Light billing area.

If you are interested in participating, be sure to sign up for email updates to hear when the units are on sale. The last installment of the Community Solar Project sold out in just 6 weeks. Visit the Community Solar website to learn more.

Arizona Utility Ruling May Set Precedence for WA & Other States

One of the features of our Mighty Efficient Remodel on the NW Green Home Tour (see opening article) is our solar panel system that we are slowly growing towards our goal of living in a net-zero home.

As solar power becomes more affordable and more common, utilities across the country are beginning to consider the full cost of providing services to customers with solar and whether the current system is financially sustainable.

According to John Finnegan on Forbes.com, win-win decision was recently made in Arizona, a state with rapid solar power growth. An article in the Daily Journal of Commerce shared that the Arizona Public Service had spent more than $3.7 million to convince the public that homeowners using solar panels are costing other customers money. Under the system they objected to, homeowners were able to sell excess power at full retail price back to APS in a process called “net metering”. This can cut bills by about two-thirds, but doesn’t allow the utility company to recover all of their costs including overhead and infrastructure.

In Arizona, the decision was made that individual homeowners with rooftop solar systems will pay higher costs for utility service (an average of $5 per month) but the increase is much lower than the amount sought by Arizona Public Service. The ruling is only a temporary fix, but is important because of the rapid growth of solar in the state and the fact that many other states and utilities are reviewing their net metering charges and incentives as solar grows.

Sustainability is about finding a balance between doing what is good for people, the planet, and the bottom line. A system that hurts utility companies while providing service to their community or that gouges individual homeowners for doing good by installing solar wouldn’t ultimately be sustainable in either case.

What do you think? Have you been considering solar but have questions? Come visit us during the Green Home Tour and chat with professionals from Artisan Electric with no obligation.

Electricity Usage Falls Nationwide, But Have Our Habits Changed?

photo from buildingagreenfamily.com

The average amount of electricity consumed in U.S. homes has fallen to levels last seen more than a decade ago…but it appears that it isn’t really because our personal habits have changed.

According to the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce, power usage in the U.S. is on track to decline in 2013 for the third year in a row….so what has “powered” the change?

Building codes are tougher, forcing homes to be more energy efficient; insulated windows and other building technologies have dropped in price, making retrofits more affordable; and big appliances have gotten more efficient thanks to constantly stricter federal energy standards. Some examples include:

  • A standard room air conditioner uses 20% less energy than it did just 12 years ago
  • Large LED televisions can use 80% less power than the cathode ray tube televisions of the past.
  • Laptops, tablet computers and smart phones are much more energy efficient than the desktop computers of yesterday.

However, just as technologies are becoming more efficient, we are using more devices. It just so happens that the improvements are outweighing our consumption – for the time being. Just think of how much better we could do if we ALSO changed our habits!

5 simple things you can do TODAY!

  • Consider having “no-technology” nights at home – days when the TV, computer, and smart phones stay off.
  • Install a programmable thermostat that makes sure your heat/AC doesn’t accidentally get left on when you aren’t at home. Also, try setting the temperature on your heater 2 degrees lower or your ac unit just 2 degrees higher – you won’t notice much difference in comfort but it will save energy. You could even geek out and get a Nest.
  • If you haven’t gotten rid of your cathode ray television (the big box style), do it. Make sure to dispose of it properly. Individuals and small businesses can their units to REPC in Seattle or Tukwilla and recycle it free of charge through the
    e-Cycle Washington Program.
  • When you have the funds, consider investing in solar – it is a great way to make a difference.
  • Finally, get inspired! Come check out all of the energy upgrades at Doug + Laura’s Home on the Green Home Tour on April 26!