Advocating for Living Wage Green Jobs & Internships

Though last week’s announcement that the U.S. will withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement left many of us feeling hopeless it can also serve as a reminder of our ability to innovate and create a sustainable future on a local & national level despite federal policy. This summer, we are highlighting environmental work in our community that puts people and equity at the center. And there’s no better place to start than with Got Green, a grassroots community nonprofit based in South Seattle, that is working for climate, economic, and racial justice.

An impassioned group of young people at Got Green, known as the Young Leaders in the Green Movement have been successfully waging a campaign to increase the number of dignified, living wage green jobs for young people of color in Seattle. In fact, last fall they saw a huge win when the Seattle City Council passed the Green Pathways Resolution that will kickstart the effort by creating a definition of “Green Jobs” for our city that includes both environmental impact and social equity! Stay updated here.

 

Summer Home Maintenance

Summer is just around the corner! To keep your home in tip top shape, here are a few tasks to make time for this season:
  • Prep for cooling season by cleaning ceiling fans and filters in air conditioning units
  • Install blinds (interior or exterior) to reduce the need for cooling systems
  • Stop the majority of summer dirt from entering your home with both an interior and exterior walk-off mat
  • Check for rot and any mold/mildew or pests in your basement, deck, and attic
  • Save money and energy by installing an outdoor clothesline and hang-drying your sheets, towels, and clothes in the sun
  • Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they are working properly
  • If you didn’t get to washing your windows during the spring, now’s your chance
  • Have your roof and gutters cleaned
  • Plan and implement a summer schedule for landscaping and watering your lawn and plants
  • Clean and test (or consider professional service!) for the following: your range hood, bath fans, sump pump, wood stove, sprinkler system

Creative Corner: Solutions for Older Homes

Sustainability is often about creativity and working with what you’ve got. This is especially the case when remodeling older homes, many of which were not built with modern kitchen design or location in mind.

At this home in Leschi, the existing kitchen windows were lower than standard counter height. Our solution was to create a window-well behind the sink. This allowed the windows to stay in place, while also reducing cost, minimizing landfill waste and preserving the home’s old world charm.

See more photos of our kitchen remodel projects here.

Is Hydroponic Produce Organic?

As reported in the PCC Sound Consumer, there is a currently a heated debate on whether or not hydroponic produce (grown without soil) should be considered organic. The argument is that while hydroponic produce can be grown less expensively and with fewer inputs, many proponents of organic farming believe that soil is a central part to maintaining biodiversity and promoting healthy plants, animals, and humans.

We found the debate interesting – read more here.

Watering Wisely, Even in the Rain

Did you know that across the country, about 9 BILLION gallons of water are used for watering gardens and lawns every day?! By using the same practices that save water in the summer, we can keep our waterways and salmon healthy in the winter and spring. At the Natural Yard Care Series, King County provided tips for keeping rain gardens, watering the right amounts at the right times, and the benefits of compost and mulch. Making small changes in the ways we care for our gardens can have a big impact on our neighborhood waterways.

water collecting on side of the road

Read more here.

New Book: Remodeling Advice from an Architect

Are you thinking about remodeling your home but feeling unsure of where to start? A new book by our friend + colleague Stephanie Wascha of Wascha Studios, summarizes what she’s learned from 18 years as an architect, on two key subjects. First is how to prepare for your project – information you’ll need to give your architect, how to establish your priorities and save money. Second, she outlines how to avoid major conflict when you and your partner have different ideas in mind.

More info here. Available from Wascha Studios as well as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the like.

New Year, New [Healthy] Kitchen

You wouldn’t know it just by looks, but this kitchen is about to receive a Mighty House treatment! Beyond better integration of the dining and pantry area… Beyond value-engineering that please the eye and the pocket book… we’ll be using several products that are manufactured healthfully with the intent to do less harm to environment and humans, for the products full life cycle.

One of those such products is a countertop made of compressed paper and resin. Luckily, the top three composite paper counters are locally manufactured with locally-sourced paper. Paper countertops like Trea are super dense and strong, making them as durable and luxurious as stone, but warmer and simpler to manufacture. They simply need wiping and oiling to be maintained and can be evenly sanded to look completely new. They are a beautiful capstone to any kitchen and a multitude of other solutions.

Call us to learn more or stop by one of our supplier partners, Greenhome Solutions, to take a look at all the solutions in one place! Plus, stay tuned for photos of the finished project!

Project Spotlight: Columbia City DADU

The homeowners live in a very small home and decided to convert their garage into a detached auxiliary dwelling unit (DADU) to be able to house guests, host parties, but also to simply GET. MORE. SPACE!

Mighty House Construction believes, it’s not always about making the most green choice, it’s about knowing all the options and finding the greenest solution that balances need, budget, and aesthetic. The design originated with Mark Johnson of Signal Architecture and was then collaborated on with Mighty House Construction and the homeowners resulting in unique detailing and creative solutions in every square foot of the space.

Longevity – Building for sustainability means considering current and future needs when designing a space. Right now the DADU needs a simple kitchenette, but the homeowners thought ahead to aging in place and designed the DADU as a multi-use space with a
kitchen that will be useable by a caregiver or other on-site family.

Budget Conscious Kitchen – Although the materials used for the kitchen aren’t high on the eco-conscious scale, they kept the project within its budget. Because of these cost-efficient choices, the homeowners were able to maximize their investment in the green-ness of the other features and more quickly invest in more solar.

“Wet Room” Bath – The bathroom is designed so that everything in it can get wet! This means that square footage is maximized within the bathroom and the rest of the DADU. The “skinny” sink and towel nook commanded a custom cabinet built by MHC staff on-site for a perfect fit.

Multi-Functional Space – A Murphy bed folds into the wall and can then function as a dining space. Features like this make this DADU functional for anything from an art studio or expandable party space, to guest quarters or a quiet place to escape for cat naps. Every design choice was made with an uber- flexible space in mind.

Salvaged Materials – The pendant lights were purchased from Second Use Building Materials, which means they were salvaged from another project. By renovating the garage, we also repurposed the space itself. Reusing and repurposing is a great way to minimize resource consumption and breathe new life into old materials.

Creative Daylighting – By including skylights, Solatubes, and a huge west-facing entry door, we were able to maximize the natural light entering an otherwise dimly lit room. Taking advantage of daylight also reduces the amount of mechanical illumination needed for this space. The homeowners took it one step further and used LED bulbs throughout.

What would you do with the extra space of a backyard DADU?

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.

Choosing Safe Cleaning Products

You would hope that keeping our homes free of bacteria and dirt would be simple. But it turns out that there can be a surprising number of toxins in the products that we use to keep our homes clean!

The EPA has just made it easier than ever to choose products in the store that are free from harmful chemicals. This rating also takes into account a product’s impact on the environment in terms of packaging waste, water use, and more!

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