CoBuying as an Affordable Housing Solution

As housing prices in the Puget Sound Region continue to climb, folks are coming up with innovative ways to put homeownership within reach. CoBuying involves unmarried couples, friends or family members buying a home together and sharing a mortgage payment. And it’s on the rise! There are even services like GoCoBuy.com that will help you through the process. More here.

 

NASA: Viewing the Solar Eclipse Safely

Seattle will experience a 90% solar eclipse. Are you planning to view it? Be safe! Check out this guide from NASA on how to do so without damaging your eyes. And remember, that the eclipse is only safe to look at when the moon is totally blocking the sun or if you are wearing certified solar glasses. You can pick up a pair from your local library branch! More info here.

News in the Solar Industry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is it Sunset for Solar Incentives?

The solar industry has relied heavily on government rebates and incentive programs to put the costs of purchasing and installing a system within reach for many homeowners. However, federal incentives are set to start declining in 2019. Initially Washington State programs were scheduled to follow suit in 2020, but now many solar companies are breathing a sigh of relief that the state legislature recently passed a bill extending those incentives through the year 2030. Hopefully, this extension will allow customers and businesses to “wean off” the incentives instead of having to jump off a cliff just three years from now! Read more from The Seattle Times.

Solar Roof Tiles now Available from Tesla

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tesla is no longer only in the business of electric cars. Their recently released solar roof tiles provide homeowners with the ability to create an all around carbon reduction in their home. While these solar tiles are expensive, the overall cost of a solar roof will likely be less because of the significant energy savings over the lifetime of your roof. Additionally, Tesla is offering a guarantee that they will replace /repair any tiles for lifetime of your home or infinity (whichever comes first). Taking these factors into account means that a solar roof can cost as little as $21 per square foot. Check out the Solar Calculator here.

Support Solar with your Checking Account

Did you know that you can promote solar energy in Washington with your debit card? Puget Sound Cooperative Credit Union is now offering a Green Rewards Checking account, which is free to sign up for, earns cash rewards for you, and helps fund their socially responsible banking actions! This year, the credit union will be donating to Puget Sound Solar. More info here.

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!