Wishing You and Your Family a Happy + Healthy Holiday!

[A Letter to Santa]

Dear Santa, (cc: our friends, family, + community)

Here at Mighty House Construction, we are grateful for everything you do to help us get through the winter months with cheer and joy! We recognize that you are very busy and have immense responsibility, but we feel there are improvements you can make to tread more lightly on our planet and reduce your carbon footprint, while continuing to bring merriment across the globe.

Below are some suggestions. Obviously, you can’t take on all of them at once, but those of us concerned about the health of our future appreciate your plucking away at them as you can.We look forward to our next opportunity to connect – (maybe Christmas Eve?)

Our Best Regards,Laura, Doug, Sydney, and Vivian Elfline
Co-owners of Mighty House Construction

  1. Ditch the wrapping. Send kids on a scavenger hunt to find their gifts – no gift wrap needed. Adults are happy with gifts in reusable or recycled bags or wrapped in cloth.
  2. Work with your “manufacturers” to reduce packaging on your gifts. In addition to reducing waste, this will save space in your sleigh.
  3. Speaking of sleighs….reindeer are cute….but they require quite a bit of food (which uses a lot of energy transporting it to the North Pole. Combined with all that manure, theycontribute to a high carbon footprint. Consider an electric bike (or one that is Santa-powered with the extra cookie energy) when it is time for an upgrade.
  4. Offset your energy consumption by solarizing North Pole Operations. Solar energy doesn’t require sunny weather to work – just a bit of UV rays.
  5. Outsource your gift-making to multiple manufacturers throughout the world. Gifts will be made locally, support local economies, and will spend less time in the sleigh.
  6. Consider your “Nice” list carefully. Maybe some of them are more naughty than you think? Mining coal is so passé – why not donate to charity on behalf of the naughty ones – consider it an offset to all the “bad” they have done.
  7. You probably have stacks and stacks of old letters to Santa. Put the elves to work in the off-season scanning them, cutting out cute drawings to use as gift tags, and RECYCLING the rest.
  8. Skip the snow and glitter sprays this year. Many are made of toxic chemicals that affect your indoor air quality. Go for a natural look in your holiday decor at the North Pole using items from your yard or grocery store produce section.
  9. Swap out all of your lighting for LED bulbs, even the decorative string lights. It will just take a few minutes and will save lots of energy over the life of the bulb.
  10. A successful gift doesn’t always have to be new! For example, a refurbished bike is usually just as good as a brand new one.

Remember, Santa, it isn’t just about the energy you will save by making these changes! Your actions will inspire and empower others to reduce their holiday waste without impact to their holiday spirit.


Reduce the Waste and Support your Local Community this Holiday – Give Experiences and Buy Local

As you were cleaning up from the holidays last year, did you tell yourself that 2013 would be different? Did you make a pledge to cut waste, reduce the number of “gadgets” given, buy local or look for products with less ridiculous over-packaging?Black Friday, the day that is eagerly anticipated by retailers and deal-huters alike is coming soon and now is your chance to follow through on some of your pledges!

If you really like giving tangible gifts to your loved ones, consider buying handmade gifts produced locally. Buying local takes a little more planning but the payoff is huge to you and your community. Local products often come with much less packaging, and have traveled a shorter distance to get to your door and support people in your local community. Here are a few places to shop:

November 23-24
Yulefest at Nordic Heritage Museum

November 29-30
Etsy Rain Handmade Holiday Show

November 29 – December 1
Duwamish Tribe’s Native Holiday Gift Fair

December 7
South Park Art Under $100

December 7-8
Phinney Neighborhood Association Holiday Festival

Finally, The Seattle Good Business Network (we’re a member) is a great way to find locally owned businesses worthy of your patronage.

Another option for reducing waste is to give experiences instead of stuff. Take your cousin to a hockey game, set up monthly dates with the kids or spouse, buy membership passes to a favorite museum or give the gift of classes to learn a new hobby or skill.

For more ideas on reducing the waste this holiday, check out the King County’s Green Holiday webpage and enjoy being creative!

Upcoming Events!

Neighborhood Farmer’s Markets

November 14
Bloom 8: An Evening of Short Talks on Sustainability

November 16
10x10x10 Seattle NWEBG Green Building Slam

November 19
“The Ten”: Green Building Slam Revisited
Gallery Opening 5-7 @ AIA

November 20
The New Era of Health Insurance Info Session
co-hosted by MHC + Office Junction w/Washington Health Foundation

November 20
Fair Trade Coalition Breakfast Fundraiser

November 20
Eco Women Happy Hour at Noble Fir

November 28
Thanksgiving Day

November 29 + 30
Etsy Rain Handmade Holiday Show

The 2013 Green Building Slam is Here!

The Northwest EcoBuilding Guild is expecting a full house at this year’s 10x10x10 Green Building Slam at Kane Hall this Saturday, November 16th!

As chair of the event and a sponsor, Laura promises that it will be filled with fast-paced, mind-blowing talks about remarkable green building projects in the Greater Seattle area. Plus drinks, delicious appetizers and a fun raffle with fabulous prizes!

All that for only $25! It is selling out quickly so buy your tickets today!

Fall Transitions

We hope that the fall season has been treating you well. The early part of this season was filled with clients looking to capitalize on the final weeks of the Community Power Works Program, v 1.0 (v 2.O is underway!) We helped several families batten down the hatches for winter with new insulation, new or refurbished windows, and new heating options- saving energy and money.

More recently, our focus shifted to kitchens – From uplifting a 1960’s kitchen to updating the kitchen in a wonderful craftsman style home, and totally reinventing the kitchen in an amazing view home in View Ridge. While all of our projects have an element of fun that comes from making something new for our clients or updating something that has been worn out, our projects are made even more fun when we get to pass forward our knowledge of sustainable building. Helping our clients make choices that meet their needs, are beautiful, functional, and are healthy for them and the planet is the sweet spot of our business.

When we see articles like this from the Seattle Times, it simultaneously deflates us that sustainable choices are not the forefront of the building conversation AND invigorates us to work harder to get them there. We are pleased that our clients are choosing solutions that are more sustainable (and are the way of the future). The super great news is that the real estate market is already showing this in Seattle. Real estate agents we know report that even back a couple of years ago when the market was tough for sellers, beautiful, eco-friendly, healthy and efficient upgrades created a lot of interest and sold quickly for top dollar.

It is never too early to begin thinking about renovating your kitchen for the 2014 holiday season. The kitchen probably has the most decision points of any other room (see our article about this topic). Call us if we can answer questions about getting started.