Events

2018 Green Genius Brokers of the Year

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Every year since 2013, Green Canopy has hosted the Green Genius Broker Awards at the Built Green Conference. The awards honor Real Estate Brokers who have excelled in marketing and selling certified Built Green homes in the Snohomish and King Counties. The Green Genius Awards judging panel is made up of experts in the building and real estate industries who look at both quantitative and qualitative data on the brokers including:

- The number of certified Built Green homes sold on the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS)
- The number of Built Green homes with the certification documents uploaded to the NWMLS
- The number of Built Green home benefits included in the marketing remarks on the NWMLS
- The level of knowledge and focus on Built Green building displayed in external marketing platforms like the broker website and social media

This year, there were four awards given: 2018 Listing Agent of the Year Award, 2018 Listing Office of the Year Award, 2018 Selling Agent of the Year, 2018 Selling Office of the Year. This year's winners:

GREG STAMOLIS | LISTING AGENT OF THE YEAR

Greg Stamolis, Managing Broker at Windermere Ballard, sold 16 certified Built Green homes with all listings including the certification documents on the NWMLS. Greg is a Seattle native, has been a licensed Real Estate Agent since 1990, has a business degree from Central Washington, continually gives back and helps expose the benefits of green building and lifestyle practices on his website. Outside of selling homes, Greg enjoys climbing mountains, is a husband, a parent and nature-lover.

WINDERMERE CAPITOL HILL | LISTING OFFICE OF THE YEAR

The Windermere Capitol Hill Office sold 36 certified Built Green homes the past year, three with the certification documents uploaded to the NWMLS. Owner, Pat Grimm says,"I see green building and sustainability as an extension of the values that I hold dear and do my best to promote in the office... another consistent, reoccurring theme as to how my values show up is respect. I love the respect that green building and sustainability demonstrates to our community and future generations."

TUSHAR GARG | SELLING AGENT OF THE YEAR

Tushar Garg, Owner and Broker at Flyhomes, sold eight certified Built Green homes, two with the certification documents uploaded to the NWMLS. Tushar is excited about sustainability and green homebuilding as he fell in love with Seattle because of the surrounding nature. His business, Flyhomes, is unique in that the brokers and team members come from all different backgrounds helping to find different solutions and generate new ideas.

REDFIN SEATTLE | SELLING OFFICE OF THE YEAR

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The Redfin Seattle office sold 24 certified Built Green homes this past year, with all 24 NWMLS listings including the certification documents. Redfin continues to move the needle forward both in their business model and in green real estate. They've blogged about "The top 10 Neighborhoods for Green Homes" and continue to highlight the benefits of Built Green homebuilding.

Congratulations to all of the 2018 Green Genius Award Winners!

The 2018 Green Genius Awards were presented and made possible by:

Green Canopy at the Annual Starbucks Sustainability Fair

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Green Canopy had the pleasure of being a part of the 2018 Annual Starbucks Sustainability Fair. This year’s fair was an opportunity to introduce the 6,000+ Partners working at the Starbucks Support Center to community resources aligned to the Partners For Sustainability mission: to educate, engage and empower Starbucks Partners to make sustainable change. Here are a few Partners we got to meet at the Green Canopy booth:

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"I’m a bit of an eco-enthusiast... I was intrigued in talking about the ways that architecture impacts home temperature and how the local climate, the lot and the orientation of the structure on the lot can be leveraged to reduce a home’s carbon footprint." — Brian L.

 
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"I'm a project manager for Starbucks in the Design & Construction Services.  I love the idea of a zero energy home, especially in our region of the US.  When utility bills can vary so hugely, it's nice to know that not only would I be keeping them steadier for our month-to-month energy costs, I would be helping to sustain resources and working against a large ecological footprint." — Nicole M.

 
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The Green Canopy Crew enjoyed meeting so many thoughtful Starbucks Partners while finding new and old friends who are using business as a force for good in the world. Here is just a snapshot of those we met:

Net Zero Energy in Portland

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Green Canopy introduced the Company’s first Net Zero Energy Homes in Portland by holding a class with valued partners in the movement. New construction “Net zero” or “zero energy” homes are highly-efficient home powered by the sun and typically built to a higher certification standard — in this case Earth Advantage Platinum. With less than 10 ever transacting on the Portland Regional Multiple Listing Service in the last 20 years, zero energy homes are very unique. Real Estate Brokers and buyers are learning more about what zero energy is apart from the apparent solar panels. Benefits like: healthier, allergen-free air quality; comfortable, evenly-distributed heating and cooling; and smart, cost-saving technology.
 
The event was held in one of the two Green Canopy Net Zero Energy Homes. Introductions were given by Debbie Chase of First American Title who welcomed brokers with bites from Elephants Delicatessen. Green Canopy Cofounder, Sam Lai, explained the mission of the company and the desired outcome of regenerative communities. And Chris Dawkins and Brian Schmidt of Lightbox Portland shared stories about their lessons learned from building their zero energy project that sold last month in Northeast Portland.
 
To begin the class on zero energy, Peter Brown of Earth Advantage — green building certifier — divulged details on what makes up a zero energy home. For this certified Earth Advantage Platinum Zero Energy project, Earth Advantage visits the project site several times to audit the quality of building — something that is not done for code-built homes. It is tested on a range of performance metrics like efficient water and lighting fixtures, structural integrity, and the energy consumption versus production. Brown also explained that the performance of zero energy homes is dependent on the lifestyle of the occupant — a household of 8 would likely consume more energy than a household of 2. A lively discussion ensued about the accuracy of energy certifications when home occupants have significant impact on the energy consumption of the homes. One remark was how a car’s Miles Per Gallon may not precisely reflect a car’s performance due to user differences like the number of passengers in the car or a different driving styles.
 
Green Canopy Construction Program Manager, Ryan Nieto, answered questions on the home the group was sitting in. Brokers remarked on the simple design qualities that they appreciated like the high windows allowing natural light in while providing privacy from the street. Nieto discussed how living in a net zero or zero energy home is not a sacrifice for sustainability but rather a convenience and the way of the future: “Net Zero Energy is a lifestyle choice. We’ve built high quality, energy efficient, and healthy homes that empower homeowners to embark on their personal journey towards Zero Energy, without sacrifice comfort or livability while adding durability and value.” 
 
The class adjourned and attendees were invited to walk through the home with the green building experts. Interactive “tags” were placed near distinctive features for attendees to learn about the features and their respective benefits for homebuyers.

Less Waste & More Meaning with Bea Johnson

At Green Canopy, we believe living in a net zero energy home goes hand in hand with a zero waste lifestyle. Partnering with Seattle Zero WasteZero Waste WashingtonEco Collective Seattle and Seattle EcoWomen in welcoming zero waste activist, Bea Johnson, to Seattle was an honor. 
 
According to research outlined in Drawdown: 100 Solutions to Reverse Global Warming, “Over the course of a century, methane has 34 times the greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide. Landfills are a top source of methane emissions, releasing 12 percent of the world’s total.”
 
The Zero Waste Movement has been an important piece in the pursuit of greater sustainability and reducing our landfills. In 2002, The Zero Waste International Alliance was formed to tackle waste management issues globally from the front end and defines zero waste as, “designing and managing products and processes to systematically avoid and eliminate the volume and toxicity of waste and materials, conserve and recover all resources, and not burn or bury them.” They believe that by “implementing Zero Waste we will eliminate all discharges to land, water or air that are a threat to planetary, human, animal or plant health.”
 
Bea Johnson — a French native living in California as a mother of two, — took this concept, and applied it to her everyday life and decisions. Johnson’s blog, Zero Waste Home, that she started in 2008, shows how to create less waste in a practical and cost-saving way.
 
Since 2008, her family of four has only been producing enough trash to fill one small jar every year. In the process, she’s found that a zero waste home has simplified her lifestyle and afforded her family more time together, with a priority on creating experiences and memories together.  Bea has inspired a global community of Zero Waste bloggers and lifestyle adopters. Her bestselling book, Zero Waste Home named after the blog, has been translated in 20 languages, she’s given 200+ speeches in 30+ countries and been featured in publications and TV Shows around the world. The New York Times, the Today Show, BBC Breakfast.

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Johnson spoke to a sold-out crowd of about 200, centered around her 5 Rs:
 
Refuse
Refuse what you absolutely do not need — and especially disposables or plastics.
 
Reduce
Reduce what you do have. Look at what you have and ask yourself, “Can I do with less?” Can I donate this or give it to someone else that needs it more?”
 
Reuse
Whatever you cannot refuse or reduce then you reuse. Make the things that you do purchase, long-lasting re-usables and not single-use items. This can also look like reusing the compostables you’ve bought as many times as possible as Johnson will freeze the discarded pieces of vegetables from cooking to make vegetable stock. 
 
Recycle
Whatever you cannot refuse, whatever you cannot reduce, whatever you cannot reuse — then you recycle. Sending back the products and materials that wear out to the initial supplier or a local recycler to be turned into something else. If you absolutely cannot refuse using a laptop and it breaks, recycle it at a local business or mail it in if needed.
 
Rot
Whatever you cannot refuse, reduce, reuse or recycle, then you allow to rot in the compost. This is the last of her R’s because it is the last resort and typically a very small amount leftover after going through the first four Rs.
 
The most impactful part of Bea Johnson’s talk for me, was hearing how implementing a zero waste lifestyle has shifted her family’s focus towards giving gifts of experience instead of things, allowing for more memories and bonds to be made. Instead of new toys for Christmas, her son got to go skydiving for the first time and still talks about it.
 
After the presentation, Green Canopy’s Director of Investor Relations and Impact, Susan Fairchild and Zero Waste Washington’s Heather Trim, kicked off happy hour by asking, “what is the next step you want to take in living zero waste and how can you make it happen?”

Happy & Empowered

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It's time to clothe my dreams in reality, to create a home for wanderers who cannot bow before the traditions of a single dwelling and a fenced yard. Who look beyond marriage and blood to gather brothers and sisters bound by more than custom and umbilical cords. Generous minds and loving hearts, laughing eyes and simple tastes who know that serenity at sunrise and peace at sunset are worth more than the treasuries of kings and IRA security. It's time to clothe my dreams in reality, to gather together kindred spirits. Who look beyond what is and was to understand what can be, who know that love and compassion, joy and peace are our birthright stolen by a culture's madness and to band together the manipulations of frightened lives, wise minds, and bruised hearts, daring souls and brave spirits who know that love is worth the stars and friendship does not hide it's private anxieties behind sophistication and steel symbols. It's time to clothe my dreams in reality, to move beyond jealousy and possession, isolation and imprisonment. To confront boredom and loneliness, sadness and lovelessness, to make known my secret needs and reveal my hidden yearnings, to risk self exposure as the only path to final freedom, to surround myself with the energy flowing from the earth's core, the passion of rivers and resilience of trees, and thus to clothe my dreams in reality! —James Kavanaugh | It's Time

Green Canopy is feeling happy and empowered from Empower Happy Hour this month— thankful for all presenters, sponsors and stakeholders who came together with us to celebrate Sightline Institute: a local, independent think-tank, who envisions an economy and a way of life that is environmentally sound, economically vibrant and socially just. Here are some highlights from the presenting impact organizations:

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Keynote | Ryan Honeyman | Lift Economy
Ryan gave a synopsis of his background including his start in psychology and criminal justice and a passion for "reforming the criminal justice system and prison reform." While reading some of his brother's Environmental Studies books, Ryan grew excited by the idea of using business as a force for positive change.

Lift Economy began by "wanting to help existing companies scale their impact." Ryan explains... "We started to realize that while it's great to do consulting work with companies, many companies are categorically excluded from access to capital— and especially women and people of color."

The Force for Good Fund created by Lift Economy, is a fund that is investing in women and people of color-owned enterprises. "How can we create an economy that works for the benefit of all life if we don't put more women and people of color in charge?"

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Petra Franklin | Dwehl
"The Dwehl founders came together to solve a problem that has a massive impact upon America's future, home ownership... and in the process we realized this was a prosperous business opportunity, that was better for all stakeholders...

In America, there are more people renting today than anytime in the history of the US census. And, as it turns out, renting is not working in their favor. The average net worth of a renter is $5,000 whereas the average net worth of a homeowner is $225,000. In addition, renters can expect to spend 30–50% of their income on rent, whereas homeowners can expect to spend 15–25% of their income on their monthly payment. The GenX and Millennial generation have come of home-buying age. They have jobs and they pay rent. In fact, they pay $535 Billion dollars in rent annually and Pew Research says that 72% would prefer to buy a house than continue renting, but they do not qualify for traditional home financing...

We see this as an opportune time to reinvent residential home ownership and we want to ensure this solution is better for all the stakeholders. By verifying three years of rental history and using that number as the basis for a home ownership payment, we are able to offer ownership of highly desirable homes with no downpayment and 5% financing.  Equity starts accruing immediately!

The mission of Dwehl is to grow the net worth of our customers but what we realized was Dwehl also presented us with an extraordinary opportunity to upgrade America’s housing stock to net zero efficiency!”  

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Kevin Bayuk | Force for Good Fund
"Lift Economy has been working with 100s of different social enterprises, mostly small-scale enterprises, trying to reinvent the economy— organizations that are trying to provide needed goods and services, but do it in a way that are non-compromising in terms of their potential social and environmental impact. These types of enterprises are chronically underfunded, under-resourced." 

Kevin went on to explain how Lift Economy saw a gap that needed to be filled, and thus created the Force for Good Fund as a way to fund B Corps who are seeking to model a more diverse and  inclusive ecomomy. 

"It's not traditional to be able to invest in the type of enterprises that we're prioritizing, wth the type of fund that we have."

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Bec Chapin | NODE
"We're building radically-sustainable homes and we're delivering them through an effortless customer service process. And we're doing it because of climate change."

"75% of the buildings that we're going to be using in 2050 don't exist today. So right now, we're building the stock of that... and we have the chance to shape the future."

"We think this is the answer... It's buildings that give back more to the environment than they take. Buildings that become ecosystem services, not just extractions. They're regenerative."

"A company that benefits everyone is the only company we can see ourselves being a part of."

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Aaron Fairchild | Green Canopy & Cedar Fund
"Imagine with me, if you will, a future where all of the energy needs in all of our homes, come from the sun...  where net zero energy homes are the norm. Imagine a future where issues of sustainability and poverty are inextricably linked."

"We have this impression that deep green, net zero energy homes are available only to the upper middle class and to those that can afford them. And these same homes (that are actually more affordable to own and operate through the energy savings) are not available to those that have the greatest need in our society...

Imagine a world where these good homes are affordable. Imagine a future with me where our wild lands are not fragmented by development... but rather our cities, through thoughtful design and density are the key to preserving our wild lands for all of life to thrive...

A future where we're not building regulatory walls that separate us— zoning and regulatory land use walls that create neighborhoods that are exclusive to only those that can afford to move in and have access to those amenities... 

A future of love and empathy for one another because we can see ourselves in the other. Because we live together. We're co-mingled and intermingled in diversity and by the way, we need that diversity of thought, history, perspective to be applied to finding solutions for that future that we envision... a future where our communities are resilient and vibrant because they're inclusive.

Imagine with me.. if you will.. where the hard-earned income that you generate through your labor, that you invest in your children and their future,  does not work at crosspurposes to that future that you envision. Imagine a future in which your hard-earned capital could accelerate and activate the future we envision and earn profits...

The Cedar Fund was designed to address these four issues: resource scarcity and global warming, the housing crisis of access and affordability, urban sprawl, and quality impact investment opportunities not reliant on direct government subsidies."

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Bettina von Hagen | EFM
"Everything we need to do to combat climate change... is right in front of us...

It's not just about the climate. It's about social equity, it's about distribution of wealth, it's about how we relate to each other...

The good news is that climate change could be the stimulus, not just for addressing the climate, but for addressing the fundamental ills of society that we know and that we recognize...

Strategies that we employ in forests, changing the way that we manage them, can double the carbon storers while at the same time yielding this broad range of benefits...

We have the most amazing solar factory in the world, right here in our forests. The needles and leaves are solar receptors. The trunks and the branches are the batteries. These batteries last forever... for hundreds of years."

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Alan Durning | Sightline Institute
Alan, the executive director at Sightline, touched on how the housing crisis today is a housing crisis of "cruel musical chairs... The only way to stop the rise of prices and of rents, displacing those with the fewest resources, is to provide enough chairs. We need more houses of all shapes and sizes...

The question is not, 'can we end cruel musical chairs?' The question is can we do it without sprawling... well, you can." Alan goes on to show how Tokyo, the biggest city in the world and more than 10 times the size of Seattle, has accomplished this by building more dwellings in the city. Vienna was another example cited by Alan.

"In every city where housing is affordable, the lesson is exactly the same for us in Seattle— you have to build enough housing for everyone who wants to be here."

All photos by Reagan Ashley and videos by Kyle Porter of Porterworks

The Nation's Oldest and Largest Local Homebuilder's Association Honors Green Canopy

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On December 5, 2017, the Master Builders Association (MBA) awarded Green Canopy and CEO, Aaron Fairchild the 2017 Built Green Moving the Market Award at the Master Builders Association Awards & Gala. Aaron and Green Canopy were chosen “for taking the step to build only net zero energy homes.” Founded in 1909, the MBA is the “nation’s oldest and largest local homebuilder’s association” and continues to move the industry towards greater innovation and sustainability.
 
“I’m extremely honored to represent Green Canopy’s team, owners and stakeholders in receiving this award from such an established and reputable organization as the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties.” -Aaron Fairchild, CEO, Green Canopy Homes
 
“Aaron is an inspirational force in the Puget Sound area residential home building industry. He and his team continue to push the limits at the intersection of sustainability and business in new and exciting ways. I commend Aaron and Green Canopy for all they do for our association, our communities, and our region,” states Aaron Adelstein, MBA Director of Programs and Products. 

The MBA featured CEO, Aaron Fairchild, in the Master Builder Winter 2017 issue in the article, “The Man in the Green Hat.” Here is some of what they had to say:
 
“Aaron’s drive to transform the market is indicative of not just his desire to align business, community, and sustainability but of the work and thought that he puts into this effort. He is truly a leader in the regard, constantly innovating and aligning actions with his words. Aaron is a collaborator, mentor and leader all at the same time.” -Leah Missik, Built Green Program Manager
 
“The positive culture Aaron has cultivated resonates throughout his company, the Master Builders Association, and our region.” -Cameron Poague, Master Builders Association
 
“Aaron is the type of person who is actively changing home building for the better” -Cameron Poague
 
Also included in the article is a quote from Green Canopy Co-Founder, Sam Lai, “Aaron can seem enigmatic to some because he’s difficult to pin down. He is a disciplined business mind– as fierce and pragmatic as you would expect from a third-generation banker and Foster School MBA grad. Yet his unwavering passion for social and environmental justice seems counterintuitive… like the trucker cap on his head and Wendell Berry poetry on his lips. One way to understand my friend and CEO is that he is true to his heart and that’s what drives him. He has a vision to make the world a better place and the grit to execute a business plan to make that vision a reality.”
 
Green Canopy continues to be a leader in the housing industry, and in our city.

Why We're Thankful

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“Our changing climate means we must reshape the way we grow and build to enable all people, both now and in the future, to thrive. For the building sector, this means dramatic and ambitious solutions including rapid market transformation for a net-zero carbon built environment…We need courage from all sectors of the industry to be radical, strategic and collaborative to reach our shared goals of carbon neutral(ity)… You are part of the solution.” -Rose Lathrop | Green Building and Smart Growth Program Manager, Sustainable Connections 

AUTHOR | SAL LAI, COFOUNDER
What makes me thankful? Despite my concerns with our society’s trajectory, I am encouraged to see entire communities centering their lives around purpose and community­— doing the courageous work to reverse global warming and fight social injustice at the same time.  When I witness this, it reminds me that I do believe we are moving toward a more generous, integrated and regenerative way of living on this planet. This makes me thankful. 
 
I had the pleasure of seeing evidence of this movement at the 2017 Sustainable Design and Development Conference in Bellingham, Washington. The theme for this year’s conference was “Transforming the Market to Carbon Neutral” and the strategies presented during the day were both challenging and exciting:
 
Get Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable | Patti Southard, Program Manager, King County Green Tools
In the opening keynote Patti Southard, Program Manager at King County Green Tools, addressed a room mainly full of white designers, architects, builders, consultants and researchers. Patti challenged us to question whether our projects (in an industry responsible for 45% of the Green House Gas emissions in the built environment) contribute to social justice in our communities for all people. She reminded us that we should exercise land use planning “as if people mattered” and informed us that in the ten years between 2007 and 2017, our African American population within the city of Seattle declined from 13% to 7%. Our society is only getting more economically stratified with minorities moving out of the city and Caucasians rapidly moving in. However; In King County, there are more languages spoken than any other city in the entire US except Los Angeles. By 2022, the population of American children will become “minority majority” for the first time. So, what does it mean for us to plan as if people mattered? Homeowners must focus on the value of diversity in our neighborhoods— to advocate and draw on the deep well of love and connection, rather than fear or anger. As homebuilders, we need to increase the affordability and accessibility of resource-efficient homes.
 
Building the Decarbonized Future | Vincent Martinez, COO, Architecture 2030
“In the wake of the US’s intention to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, it is clearer than ever that change in the building sector will come from the bottom up.” Vincent Martinez, COO of Architecture 2030, spoke about the importance of private-public partnerships (rather than public-private) to decarbonize the built environment in cities. Business and grass roots community groups will play an integral role in transforming our housing sector from the ground up. Many think tanks and research studies indicate that urban density is a primary, necessary strategy to decrease our carbon output while maintaining the infrastructure needed for another 1.1 Billion people in 15 years (the equivalent of a brand new, New York City built every single month). Are we willing to acknowledge and embrace the fact that our cities are growing and guide the momentum to a better outcome?
 
A special thanks to these other industry leaders for bringing these discussions:

Passive House | Alex Boetzel, COO of Green Hammer
“Reducing energy use – and consequently, CO2 emissions – of buildings, is an instant and continued action on climate change.” Alex Boetzel, COO of Green Hammer provided practical, actionable insight on energy use reductions of 65-75% using passive strategies so that buildings can become net-zero-energy and subsequently carbon neutral. Green Hammer has built homes in the Portland area receiving certifications including: Passive HouseLEED PlatinumFSCEarth Advantage and Living Building Challenge.
 
More Affordable Sustainability | Bec Chapin, Cofounder of NODE
“As gatekeepers to the change we want to see in the world, we have an opportunity to change the way we think about (home)ownership.” This transformation should allow more people to prosper in our quest for more affordable housing and sustainability in the built environment. Bec Chapin had the crowd pair up to actively share stories with one another, getting strangers to engage at a heart level and making her session the loudest and liveliest.
 
Shannon Todd and Don MacOdrum | TRC Solutions
On behalf of the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, Project Managers, Shannon and Don shared their vision and strategy for partnerships between local governments, certification programs and utilities to make green building an obvious and cost-effective choice for all builders. Their conversational style allowed us to understand the important “boots on the ground” work and how TRC is leading to break down the cost and system barriers to green building. Thank you for your hard work.
 
A few quotes from this presentation:

  • “What if our homes could represent the values that we are evolving into?

  • “What if we could build homes that were purpose-driven, balanced, community-focused, warm, generous, integrated, regenerative.

  • “We came together to start Green Canopy under this vision that the homefront was a leverage for transforming the way in which we live in our environment and we still believe that today. The tactics and our strategy has changed but the mission has stayed the same... we want to transform the real estate market."

Now Available: First Net Zero Energy Home in Magnolia

Contributed by Alexa Ashley
Green Canopy's first net-zero energy home is now available on the market. This home is the first of it's kind in Magnolia with only a handful being listed on the NWMLS in the last 20 years. Green Canopy's Accounting Manager, Jen Trujillo remarks, "I didn't realize how few houses like this there are." The Company has been building a diverse range of homes (including single-family, townhomes, rowhouses, net-zero ready houses) in Seattle since 2009 and this project is their first net-zero energy home, which includes solar panels. 

Green Canopy believes that net-zero energy homes are the future and will become the standard for new construction since they are more sustainable, comfortable and resilient. Project Manager, Wilson Deaton explains, "It's exciting because net-zero is really the pinnacle of green building... you can build as green as you want but until you get to a place where you're not using any energy in a house, then you haven't quite gotten there. If you can build a house that uses no energy, then you've completely switched the math when it comes to how much pollution you put out and how much carbon goes into the atmosphere– and that's the goal."

In the past, net-zero energy homes have been more expensive than similar homes, but Green Canopy has been able to offer this home within the normal market range by staying on budget (1.8% budget deviation compared to the industry standard of 13%) and implementing strict quality control checklists. The project manager, Valeriy Korol, who carried this project to completion says, "I think as a company we have a pretty good strategy (as to) why we're building the house. It's not about money, we're Green Canopy. We're trying to improve the world. We're changing the world. So... it's a small step overall, but it's a step to save energy, to think about the future of your kids and the future of the world."

The high-performing ventilation systems in these homes also provide a more healthy indoor environment as Deaton explains, "you have ERVs (energy recovery ventilators) and HRVs (heat recovery ventilators) so you can change the air and make sure you get enough fresh air... not to mention when you build Built Green 4 star or 5 star you're always using building materials that have less chemicals in them. Less harmful chemicals."

The project was recently listed, with it's first public open house and class to help brokers and buyers understand the benefits of net-zero and solar power. When asked why this project is exciting, Chief Financial Officer, Andy Wolverton, responds, "It feels like the next step. In the last few years... our quality has improved, our process has improved but what we're building hasn't changed all that much as it relates to our mission and this is evidence of that. Going another leap forward."

Thank you to all of of the Green Canopy partners who have helped make this leap possible including but not limited to: Northwest Electric & SolarVan Wyck & PorterEvergreen CertifiedPerformance Insulation,  Built Green, and Tesla.

f you have questions about this property, would like to schedule a showing, or be informed of upcoming Green Canopy projects, email info@greencanopy.com

This home features:
- Soaring views with expansive rooftop deck
- Built Green 5 Star certification
- Clean lines with open spaces
- Lots of natural light
- 5 bedrooms
- 4 bathrooms
- 3,643 square feet

as well as net-zero technology which includes:
- Energy recovery ventilator to properly ventilate while providing highest air quality
- Solar panels that have the ability to fully power your home and eliminate energy bills
- Sense energy monitoring system which allows you to see how your energy is being used
- Ducted mini-split heat pump with AC for comfort
- High-performance weatherproof construction
- Smart home technology
- Induction range
- EV-ready

MLS #1211653

Patience and Urgency Combined | SOCAP17 and the BCorp Champions Retreat

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The last two weeks has been a whirlwind of intentional conversations with like-minded, social purpose organizations. The B-Corps Champions Retreat and the following week of SOCAP17 were both intense conferences of shared themes and desired outcomes. A couple things linger in my mind from these social impact conferences:


  • The short distance the social impact investment community has traveled to date and where it is on the arc of its lifecycle trajectory.

  • The emphasis on personal improvement.


So how far have we come? My first year at SOCAP was 2009. That was the same year when I first learned about B-Corps companies at the Sustainable Industries Journal forum from Stephanie Ryan of B-Lab. It was directly after SOCAP09, in November of 2009, that Green Canopy bought its first project and our work to build the company began full-tilt and relentless. The first years of Green Canopy were about survival and getting the organization right. Today we have the capacity to expand the scope of our community beyond the Pacific Northwest region. In 2013, we certified as a B-Corps, but my first B-Corps retreat was two weeks ago. This was followed up by SOCAP17, my first year back since 2009. In the eight-year span between first learning about B-Corps companies and SOCAP, and today, this community has grown significantly and become a legitimate investing force and philosophical approach.
 
When looking at the lifespan of contemporary impact investing in the SOCAP17 booklet, the movement is younger than many of us, just turning 40 years old. If we are investing for this generation but also for generations to come, then we are in the infancy of a multigenerational movement determined to continue to grow, learn and transform global society and economy. We are on the early side of the impact investment lifespan for sure. We have a long way to go and the urgency of the issues we are addressing with our labor and capital create impatience on behalf of just about everyone in this community. Throughout both conferences it felt like most people were understandably feeling the impatience of our youthful movement. Like we just want to be older and more mature than our short 40-years will allow.
 
And then when we couple our youthful impatience with the urgency our work demands, impatience compounds. Which, perhaps, is the reason so many conversations at both conferences discussed the importance of personal, emotional, and spiritual growth in the practice of social entrepreneurship and impact investing. If the antidote to anger is patience, then the lack of patience leads to anger. The importance of love in our work requires patience, yet patience decidedly lacks urgency. Perhaps in order to productively hold this dichotomy through the transition to a new paradigm, a focused determination that allows for grace and patience when organizing with a sense of urgency requires each of us to develop increased mindfulness within swirling storms.

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Celebrating our collective “wins” and taking stock of our successes happened throughout both conferences as well, and from my perspective there is a lot to celebrate in the progress we have collectively made in just the last eight years. When I first learned about B-Corps companies in 2009, there were 205 certified B-Corps, in 28 states and in 54 industries. Today there are 2,310 certified B-Corps, in 50 countries and in 130 industries. SOCAP has tripled in size and become an international affair. It is drawing investment firms representing more capital than most people seemed to think possible just a few years ago. Bringing values into our investment analysis continues to seem obvious once seen; like suddenly being able to see a number hidden within the page of little colored dots. The more people’s eyes identify that opportunities to make money work for positive change are hidden in plain sight, the more obvious it becomes that when we direct our resource toward changing the world for better, the world indeed gets incrementally better.

I am entirely grateful to be part of this community and movement, and I look forward to continuing with the dual edge of graceful patience and urgency, toward building and investing in the future we believe in.

"Transparency, accountability are no longer fringe ... We are seeing a surge of leaders who want to have a platform to influence the greater good." -Bart Houlahan, B Corporation | SOCAP17

Built Green Panel: Exclusionary to Inclusionary

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by Aaron Fairchild, CEO

At the September 14 Built Green Conference, I moderated the panel, Exclusionary to Inclusionary: How can we make our region inclusive, resilient, and vibrant, with Seattle mayoral candidates, Jenny Durkan and Cary Moon, as well as City Council candidate Teresa Mosqueda, and Sightline founder Alan Durning. It was an honor to moderate this discussion. It was made even more poignant by the passing of my father the night before after nearly a 10-year struggle with Alzheimer’s. He would have been proud to see me moderating a discussion with such a powerhouse group. I did my best during the discussion to channel the thoughtfulness he demonstrated throughout his life. I would like to thank the panelists for their time and contribution, and for helping to make an otherwise difficult day, one of inspiration! 

Here are a few thoughts I took away from the conversation. 
All the panelists agreed that up-zoning or at least allowing townhomes, duplexes and triplexes, and row-houses onto our exclusively zoned SFR lots within the city is something that should be pursued. I also learned there was broad agreement that the permitting process at the city should be streamlined and explored for greater efficiency in processing permits. The last thing that became quite apparent was that: 


we all agreed that our vibrant city will only remain so if we can maintain income diversity where it currently exists within our neighborhoods and bring it back to our city’s more desirable and “exclusive” neighborhoods. 
— Aaron Fairchild

I don’t typically endorse candidates, however, given the conversation, I would like to humbly offer my thoughts on these candidates and on Alan as a panelist. 


Alan Durning was a Vesuvius of knowledge; bright, red hot and over-flowing with intense clarity and of course, humor. 

Jenny Durkan exudes focused energy aligned with her past and progressive vision of Seattle’s future. Seattle would be well served with her as mayor. 

Teresa Mosqueda was a power provider, articulate, earnest and buoyant. I can whole heartedly endorse her candidacy and sincerely hope that Seattle will benefit from her leadership in the near future. 

Cary Moon is heart and meaning and brings unassuming positivity together with pragmatic approaches for progress. Seattle would be well served with her as mayor. 

When doing a quick read on Wikipedia about Bertha Knight Landes (October 19, 1868 – November 29, 1943), I discovered she “was the first female mayor of a major American city, serving as mayor of Seattle, Washington from 1926 to 1928. She is to date Seattle's only female mayor.” 

These three powerful women candidates honor Ms. Landes’ memory and life through their current and future efforts. I am looking forward to seeing the last line in the Wikipedia page updated to read, “She was Seattle’s only female mayor, until 2017.” 

You can watch the condensed footage of the discussion on the Built Green website

Green Canopy relies on Built Green to provide rigorous green building standards. Green Canopy utilizes their standards to certify our homes as Built Green Certified. On an annual basis the Built Green Conference provides builders, developers and real-estate agents cutting-edge information on green building and sustainability. Thank you Master Builders Association and Built Green! 

Photo Credit: Built Green and Alabastro Photography

Built Green Conference 2017

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Green Canopy is looking forward to the Built Green Conference 2017! CEO, Aaron Fairchild will be the moderator as well as a panelist alongside Co-Founder, Sam Lai and Vice President of Construction, Justin Hooks. Seattle mayoral candidates Jenny Durkan and Cary Moon and Seattle City Council candidate Teresa Mosqueda will join keynote speaker Alan Durning for an exclusive roundtable discussion, as well.

The conference "has been occurring annually for a decade with the aim of providing valuable and cutting-edge information on green building and sustainability. The conference will cover a variety of topics related to green building, ranging from building science to policy, from post-occupancy research to discussions on equity, affordability, and community issues.  This content will be covered throughout the day, which will include a keynote address, a variety of sessions to choose from, and lunch, all followed by an awards ceremony and reception."

The Green Genius Award winners will also be announced and recognized during the reception & awards ceremony. Come meet the leading professionals in the green building and real estate industries!

Register before prices increase tomorrow!

2017 Green Genius Awards Finalists

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We're looking forward to hosting the 6th Annual Green Genius Awards Ceremony at the 2017 Built Green Conference this year. The Green Genius Awards are the region’s first and only awards to honor real estate brokers who are helping to transform the residential housing market. By listing, marketing and selling homes that have an ecological and social impact in Seattle neighborhoods, these agents are educating a generation of homebuyers and disrupting the status quo of homebuilding. They are helping to change the paradigm of how real estate is valued in a growing city and working to build a more sustainable community. 

The judging committee will be awarding one listing agent, one selling agent, one listing office and one selling office this year based on how many certified Built Green homes they've sold and how much they've promoted green building and the green movement in the past year. Here are this year's Green Genius finalists:

SELLING AGENT FINALISTS
Angelo Ongpin | Keller Williams Downtown Seattle
Michael Carnovale | Keller Williams Downtown Seattle
Melissa Harris | Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Northwest

LISTING AGENT FINALISTS
Van Wyck & Porter | Windermere Capitol Hill
Tom Skepetaris | Keller Williams Downtown Seattle
Ravi Dewan | Real Property Associates

SELLING OFFICE FINALISTS
Keller Williams Downtown Seattle
Coldwell Banker Bain
Windermere Wall Street

LISTING OFFICE FINALISTS
Berkshire Hathaway Northwest
Metropolist
RE/MAX Metro

To find out the winners, attend the awards ceremony with the top green agents and green building experts in Washington State, register here.

The Green Genius Realtor Awards and Education Program are made possible by:

Architectural Salvage: Then & Now

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When Green Canopy began, our region was in the grips of a housing crisis. Streets were filled with “for sale” signs that wouldn’t budge. It seemed as though everyone wanted to sell before the market dropped further, and that no one really wanted to buy a home. Green Canopy’s solution was to acquire existing homes and deeply remodel them as certified Built Green Remodels for sale. The Company’s mission is, and has been since that time, to inspire resource efficiency in residential markets. Remodeling existing homes using sustainable methods and materials and certifying the home Built Green, was at the time the most viable and sustainable method for accomplishing the mission during the last housing crisis. However, as the market began to shift, Green Canopy began feeling the symptoms of a new emerging market crisis. Today’s housing crisis is a result of a shortage of supply and there are more people looking to buy than there are homes to acquire. The market economics have changed, making it no longer viable to buy homes, remodel them to a rigorous green building standard and remain in business. Rather than bemoan the current market, Green Canopy can now lean into its mission with a greater sense of purpose.

Green Canopy’s homes are nearly three times more energy-efficient than the average Seattle home.
It is difficult to achieve the same efficiency in an older home that you can when building a new home. A Green Canopy home includes energy-saving appliances, optimized heating and cooling systems, and is built with air-sealing, insulation and a design that helps to properly regulate the temperature of the home. Even if an old home is renovated with the same benefits, the efficiency of the remodeled home cannot match the efficient structures of a new Green Canopy home.
 
Building more homes on each lot is more resource efficient and helps to preserve the bioregion around us.
By optimizing each lot in the city, we can slow down the rapid expansion and sprawl that is inevitable as our cities continue to grow in population. By keeping our housing dense within the cities, we can continue to enjoy the beauty of the landscape around us and survive on the resources that it supplies us with. Shy of this, the metropolitan area will more rapidly sprawl and it will be harder to preserve the surrounding natural resources that we rely on. Adding density is simply one of the most resource efficient things Green Canopy can do. 

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Making the most use of each build-able lot helps to offset the negative impacts of gentrification and displacement. In a very short period of time we have become acutely aware that there are not enough housing options to equitably support our population. An emphasis on increased density is intensely important given that demand is forecasted to continue growing relative to supply.  A sustained increase in demand will likely continue to drive prices up, and moderate- and low-income households further out unless we build more housing in all areas of the city. Building more homes on each lot, allows us to offer more resource efficient and well-built homes to a broader variety of occupants.

 
The previous structures that Green Canopy deconstructs, is salvaged and repurposed.
Although the Company no longer exclusively remodels existing homes, most of the existing structures that are deconstructed get to live on in other projects within the community. In 2014, we began a deconstruction company to learn what it takes to manage responsible deconstruction of existing homes. After training the team and taking apart three projects piece-by-piece, the team learned that it was simply not cost effective to continue in that manner. , As a result, the Company worked to build lasting relationships with local organizations to selectively harvest reusable material from existing homes. By adding only one or two more days to the process, the materials include embedded infrastructure like floor and wall-framing members, not just old door nobs, or cabinets. Today, the company works with groups like Ballard Reuse and 118 Design to recycle, reuse and repurpose materials from existing homes.
 
118 Design is a part of Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission; their program works with young men (ages 13 — 26) in the Rainier Valley to decrease gang membership in Seattle.  The young men in the 118 Street Outreach program transform broken and discarded lumber into quality, urban inspired, one-of-a-kind furniture.
 
Their Street Outreach program offers:

  • Internships

  • Technical job skills training

  • Workplace environment education

  • Business and entrepreneurial classes

  • Leadership and role model opportunities

  • Mentors and counseling services

  • Accountability and drug testing

 
Additionally, Green Canopy can occasionally offer the neighbors of an existing home an opportunity to claim items from the home to reuse and repurpose before these other organizations gain access. A few items that neighbors have been excited to reclaim have been: kitchen cabinets, a farm-house sink and vintage light fixtures, etc.

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Where Exactly Do Our Deconstruction Materials Go?
Taken from a sampling of three of our projects, this is where we have donated and diverted waste from the landfills to (see individual waste diversion reports here):

•    Asphalt Shingles: Evergreen Shingle RecyclingCDL
•     Construction Debris: Clean ScapesCDL
•    Crown Molding: Ballard Reuse
•    Washer Dryer: Ballard Reuse
•    Lath: 118 Design
•    Clean Wood: 118 Design
•    Siding: 118 Design
•    GWB: New West GWB, Resource Recovery
•    Metal: Recycling DepotSeattle Iron and Metal, CDL
•    Wood: Ballard ReusePort Townsend Paper
•    Windows: Habitat for Humanity
•    Brick: Dirt Exchange
•    Concrete: Renton Concrete Recyclers
•    Cardboard: CDL
•    Land Clearing: Dirt Exchange
•    Rock and gravel: Dirt Exchange

We continue to inspire resource efficiency by salvaging architecture and have taken the necessary steps to get even better at it. When we started, it looked like remodeling; now it needs to be mindfully crafting more well-built, eco-friendly homes for a vibrant and diverse city. 



Learn more about how to Recycle Construction & Demolition Materials
Summer is just around the corner and that means the building season will soon be in full swing. Do you know how to properly dispose of the waste materials from your projects? Please join us on June 29th to hear from two speakers who will provide strategies to manage construction and demolition materials sustainably and legally. Kinley Deller from the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks’ Solid Waste Division will talk about existing and forthcoming codes regarding recycling and disposal of these materials, and Justin Hooks, Vice President of Construction Planning at Green Canopy Homes, will offer tips for reaching a 100% recycling rate in your projects. The event is sponsored by the King County Department of Permitting and Environmental Review.

When: Thursday, June 29th  11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Where: Snoqualmie Falls Room at King County Department of Permitting and Environmental Review office, 35030 SE Douglas Street, Suite 210, Snoqualmie. 
Who: This event is open to the public and will be especially helpful to contractors
Cost: Free & lunch is provided

Amplify your Impact by Empowering Others

By: Krystal Meiners, Director of Marketing

What are the most impactful personal or business choices I can make to fight climate change? And is it my responsibility to do so?

As Green Canopy gears up for our first Empower Happy Hour of the year – I’ve been thinking about Forterra’s question of the evening. What are the most impactful personal or business choices that I can make to fight climate change? And is it my responsibility to do so? The second part always resounds with a bright, assertive “Yes!” in my mind. However, the other part of this question flutters and lands throughout my workday, across my desk, in and out of meetings; with answers both big and small. What are the most impactful personal or business choices that I can make to fight climate change?

My internal responses tend toward the personal solutions; challenges to buy local, volunteering for park cleanup in my community, reducing my consumption, eating more vegetarian meals, meditating on the power of fresh air, spending more time with my family outdoors connecting to nature. Beyond the personal, though, what are the business solutions that I can lean into to fight climate change?

In our Energy Performance Guarantee Program at Green Canopy, we have the opportunity to influence and incentivize conservation behavior with our homeowners. This guarantee amplifies our impact and empowers our homeowners to be able to live more efficiently and with a smaller carbon footprint than the average Seattle homeowner. We guarantee that each home that we build will perform as it was modeled by our third-party energy audits, or we will reimburse our homeowners the difference.

For the past two years, we have collected energy performance data through this program with surprising results. What we learned was that the majority of our homeowners were not buying into the program, and that the ones that did admitted that they did not understand their building systems well enough to operate their homes efficiently. Nearly two thirds of the claims that were submitted to us were showing overages beyond our 3rd party energy models. The average deviation from all of our claims was a 966kWh overage against the model. While that number is not a lot considering the average Seattle home consumes over 28,000kWh in a year, we still believe that this program is an incredible opportunity to influence, inspire and educate our homeowners. We want this program to be able to drive efficiency in our product in order to create real impact in our fight against climate change.

That is why our team is actively working to improve our process, educate our homeowners, and collect more data in order to achieve greater effectiveness. At the end of the day, we do more than just build homes. We want to live into our mission to inspire resource efficiency. The Energy Performance Guarantee is simply one business solution that we have that empowers our homeowners to live better, more efficiently and closer to the planet that we share. 

Stay tuned for more ideas in our upcoming blog series "Mission Metrics: Case Studies on Impact."

Gearing up: The Built Green Conference and Awards are Right Around the Corner!

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With the annual Built Green conference is only five days away, we’re getting increasingly excited to gather as a community of green building professionals to exchange ideas, connect and honor those among us who have done an outstanding job this year of bringing people into Built Green homes. Before heading into the weekend, we took a minute to get to know one of our Selling Agent of the Year finalists – Daniel Burton of Redfin.

AN INTERVIEW WITH DANIEL BURTON
GREEN GENIUS SELLING AGENT OF THE YEAR FINALIST

Now that the green building movement has become more mainstream in Seattle, what are the most relevant value propositions that make homebuyers choose green homes over a code-built conventional homes?
 
People don’t always realize that sustainability is more cost effective in the long run. The process of real estate development is already so complicated; to raise the bar on the quality of construction and integrating all of those green features says a lot about the product that you’re buying into. While it does take more advance planning, time and thoughtfulness, it’s so worthwhile in the end. The final product is not only built better, but it was done using non-toxic and renewable-sourced materials. You know that it’s not just thrown together, which can happen with a lot of new construction projects.
 
When people make the connection and actually see the numbers add up, not only in the short term but in the long term life cycle of the building, they see that you can save thousands and thousands of dollars if you just make a few smart choices upfront like focusing on high energy-efficiency appliances, improved ventilation, LED lighting, and capturing natural daylight whenever possible.
 
How can we push the green building movement forward? 
 
I think the best way is to brag about it – to promote it more. People don’t always know what they want until they know it’s an option. Once they understand they’re options and are educated, they’re like ‘Yes, this is definitely what I want’. The more we do that, the more the industry will feel pressure to accommodate those demands. In a sense, consumers vote with their dollar. Employing visuals that can incorporate the data, like infographics, so that more people can actually see the differences in Built Green homes, which could help make green standards the new normal. It’s one thing to read about it, but a visual that puts it all together for you really helps the ideas click.

What does sustainability mean to you?
 
Sustainability to me means a comprehensive, holistic, and thoughtful approach to how human initiatives impact our world now, and more importantly later. It also involves an identity shift to thinking about ourselves as global citizens who think globally and act locally. A collective effort to pursue a Triple Bottom Line mindset where people, planet and profit are taken into equal consideration is essential as well. From a real estate perspective, we have to think about how our buildings effect the people and animals that live in or around them, health-wise, cost-wise as well as how our built environment impacts its surrounding natural world. 

Why do you think the Seattle area is national leader in the green & sustainable building movement?
 
We were one of the first cities to make it illegal to not recycle and implement standardized compost. That kind of ‘granola’ culture has been part of Seattle's natural fiber for a long time; since that was already here, it was a really good place for this kind of movement to take off. A lot of people are already mindful of these types of things. The Native American history that is woven into our region may have also played a part, especially concepts like the Seven Generations principle – the idea that anything you’re doing today needs to be thought of in terms of how it will impact, not just people today, but seven generations from now. I think that captures the spirit of the green building movement, because it’s not just about saving money now, but also being really serious about how our actions will impact the planet seven generations later.
 
The landscape and regional locality of Seattle is also really important to consider. We’re so incredible lucky to have nature all around us. We’re positioned between two major mountain ranges, in a beautiful valley of vegetation with water surrounding us. All of that is definitely something that is propelling the sustainability movement. We can’t not think about it, because it’s all around us.

What do you like to do to enjoy the PNW summers?
 
Some of my favorite summer activities are hiking and camping in the Cascades and the Olympics, as well as taking an annual trip to Lake Chelan.

What is your favorite place on Earth? 
 
It might sound cheesy, but it’s Seattle. I’ve done a lot of traveling, especially all over the U.S., and after visiting so many different states I feel really lucky to be in Seattle. This is where it’s at.

If you could be an Olympic athlete, what sport would you want to compete in?
 
It would have to be snowboarding. My fate was sealed by having the same last name (Burton) as such a popular snowboarding brand!

Is your Dream Homea Green Home? The Challenges of First Time Home Buying

Leah Missik - The new Director of Built Green talks to happy hour guests about the Built Green program.

Leah Missik - The new Director of Built Green talks to happy hour guests about the Built Green program.

Last month we had the honor of hosting Greendrinks with a fantastic group of organizations. The Youngstown Cultural Arts center was buzzing with folks from Built Green, Sustainable Seattle, Green Canopy and the Washington State Housing Finance Commission; all there to answer one question for the happy hour attendees - "How can we make green homes more accessible to first-time homebuyers?"

Promoting green building in the retail, real estate market is a paradigm shift in the way we have traditionally shown and sold homes in the past. Value in real estate has always been determined by location, price, amenities, neighborhood, school districts, etc. with little thought given to long term investment in things like utility bills or walkability.  However - as we see the Millennial generation step into the homebuying arena - a generation known for their values-based consumerism -  we can and should expect these individuals to be more interested in long term savings from resource conservation, healthier and local materials that benefit the local economy, and access to amenities in walkable locations that will keep them out of their car. It's not just the Millennials making these decisions though. Today, the typical homebuyer is tech-savvy and non-traditional. They tend to research more or their own and, while decisions still weigh heavily toward cost and location, energy efficiency is topping the charts on the "Must Haves" list for new buyers.

That being said - there are still not a lot of resources to help first time buyers get exactly what they want from the traditional real estate market - and certainly not many incentives to help aid in that decision to go green. Speaking from my own home buying experience, you tend to throw your values out the window when things start to get competitive!

Greendrinks was a perfect opportunity to explore the ideas and programs that are currently at the intersection of the market and values. Folks left the following comments on our interactive ideas board - and conversations circled many of these topics and solutions all evening.

  • More education - many people do not know where to start when it comes to homebuying for the first time. Green homes can quickly become less of a priority as bidding wars heat up the market and first time buyers are forced to keep searching when product is scarce.

  • Incentivize green building - making it worthwhile for builders to actually build green product is a huge part of the equation. Programs like WSHFC's Energy Trust and Built Green - make it easier for builders to finance projects and adapt green building practices that make an impact in our market.

  • Incentivize green home purchases - Green mortgage loans and new products like WSHFC's Energy Spark program are paving the way for buyers to experience real financial relief on their mortgages for purchasing a green home. Additionally, programs like Green Canopy's Energy Performance Guarantee give buyers the peace of mind that their home will perform as it was modeled. This 3 year guarantee means the builder will pay any utility bill that exceeds the amount modeled in the Energy Performance Score.

As mentioned above - the Greendrinks event was an opportunity to talk about a new program from Washington State Housing Finance Commission that was launched just this month. We were especially excited to be alongside WSFC as they revealed Energy Spark - a program that works hand in hand with their down payment assistance program for first time buyers. This incentive comes in the form of an interest rate reduction for mortgages on energy efficient homes. You can learn more about it in this short clip from Kiro News. 

Green Canopy & Climate Solutions Host the First Empower Happy Hour

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The inaugural Empower Happy Hour  this past Wednesday was an amazing success . Thank you for coming and helping to advance the discussion! And a special thanks to our co-host, Climate Solutions, for providing such a compelling topic to anchor the event! We had maybe 100 people attend and I spoke with several folks that were very appreciative for the opportunity to come together around the topic of the evening. We will certainly do this again.

Many conversations were held addressing the question, "How can clean energy gain broad support as an engine of shared prosperity and sustainable economic opportunity?" Many conversations spun out from this question to tackle neighboring themes. Here are some responses I heard from the evening:

“Democratizing capital to allow the non-wealthy to invest in clean tech companies and solutions."

“ Tie social welfare programatic funding to clean tech incentives or taxes or messages, etc. Create a ‘What's in it for me’ by connecting government programs to help the poor to our clean tech solutions of the future. "This program partially paid for by wind power wind falls..." you get the idea.

“ Educate, educate, educate... and start educating our children about our environmental challenges at the earliest ages possible."

“ Demonstrate through stories how the clean energy economy helps builds the middle class, and offers family-wage jobs and more sustainable livelihoods than those tied to fossil fuels."

“ Share and explore solution stories from oversees in the developing world that can inspire similar approaches here in the United States."

Green Canopy has a special mission to inspire resource efficiency in residential markets, and it certainly is an inspiration to us to see a crowd come together to advance the discussion around topics that align with our mission. Thanks again to everyone for coming – and please join the conversation on Facebook #EmpowerHappyHour.

Green Trifecta in Motion

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Post contributed by Aaron Fairchild:

I got back from the West Coast Green building conference recently, and I continue to be struck by issues of contrast. Green “do-gooders” and green “capitalists” mingle about with policy wonks like one big happy family. I have written about this contrast before. But what I continue to find is that, while tension still exists, we are for the most part coming together nicely. There are a lot of people out there who have been fighting for the environment and changing their behaviors for a long time. Some of these folks have a proprietary feeling regarding issues of the environment, but the majority holds open their arms to welcome in the mainstream. I see the convergence of three major sectors around a new green economic imperative or paradigm on the horizon: for-profit business, non-profit, and government.

On the government side, I had the opportunity to talk to a small business owner at West Coast Green named Nathan Doxsey who wanted his city to do more to support sustainability. Nathan owns a small real estate company in the city of Austin, and is focused on marketing Green homes. Nathan was instrumental in helping the city adopt a brilliant ordinance requiring most all residential homes to have an energy audit done during the purchase and sale of a home. Energy audits performed at the point of sale is just smart policy. Energy is a public good and the use and application of energy affects everyone in society. It is already a regulated resource and the thoughtful use and monitoring of energy should not be left entirely up to the free market. The arguments pro and con couldn’t be exhausted in one or even two essays. Needless to say, at G2B Ventures we are promoting a similar policy for the city of Seattle.

At West Coast Green I also listened to panel discussions that were full of good intention and short on actionable ideas. Those panel discussions brought me back a few years, because they had the activist feel without creating pathways to sustainability through profitability. However, I also met Adam Boucher at West Coast Green. His resume need only read: “Entrepreneur with a golden revenue model; eco-capitalist.” Adam is creating financing solutions at the project level in addition to bringing solar panel to over 100 homes in southern California. Go Adam!

More recently, this afternoon I was at a round table discussion at McKinstry sponsored by Climate Solutions talking about Federal regulation. That was the trifecta of for- and non-profit coming together with federal and state policy makers around the issue of climate change and cap and trade. I have rarely seen such as sense of possibility and urgency as I witnessed in that gymnasium.

In meeting after meeting, I have become more and more convinced the world is changing as you read this. All sectors of our society are pivoting toward green issues. Green had become code for being environmentally and socially responsible. Green equals awareness, but it shouldn’t only equal non-profit “do-gooder” or government bureaucrat. The free, public markets and making money is part of the economic green transformation. Note Apple rejecting the US Chamber of Commerce for its stance on climate change. Note Wal-Mart’s efforts to create a more sustainable supply chain. Note Daniel Pink’s video,  “the surprising science of motivation.” Green gives us a purpose to our businesses and makes those businesses more productive and profitable as a result. The green revolution is not only being televised, it is being brought to you in every sector of your life.

It's All About the Bag

Post contributed by Aaron Fairchild:

Social Capital Markets 2009 (SOCAP09) - “It’s All About the Bag”

Last week I was at a conference in San Francisco called SOCAP09. The focus was social capital markets and the eco-system of related investors and entrepreneurs. The first two lines of the SOCAP Conference Guide read, “There’s so much happening at this conference, it’s hard to know where to begin. But when you get right down to it, SOCAP09 is about the bag.” The organizers decided to highlight a bag created out of Indonesian garbage heaps as an example and symbol of what SOCAP09 is about. The bag and the business model aren’t scalable and nowhere near having the kind of volume or sales and distribution that allows for a sustainable business. In his opening address, conference organizer Kevin Jones talked at length about the bag that the XSProject created through the guidance and vision of Ann Wizer.

After Kevin finished his opening he handed the microphone to Sonal Shah, Director of the White House Office of Social Innovation. Sonal went on to discuss how the government is looking for great ideas that have the ability for scale, and spoke about the Serve America Act and the need for participation across sectors to address our social issues. Nowhere in her discussion or in the panel she was a part of after did they mention the role of for-profit businesses. They spoke to non-profits, foundations, and government programs. Finally, during the Q and A time of the panel someone asked about the role of for-profits and investment capital in search of returns as well as impacts. I thought to myself, “I flew down to San Francisco because here we are on the cusp of a massive, national and global social transformation, and it is all about the bag?” Capital and financial markets have begun investing in companies, organizations, and strategies that take into consideration social and environmental impacts, traditional economists consider these externalities that should be ignored, and it is all about the bag? Investments that account for these externalities are predicted to grow to 5% to 15% of total invested capital by the year 2015, this represents trillions of dollars, and the organizers of Social Capital Markets 2009 highlight a humble bag and non-scalable business model? I left the first day feeling skeptical if not a bit cynical.

I got to the conference early the next morning for some coffee and I ended up running into Kevin Jones. Kevin is a big, red faced man with stony-tint glasses and a very unassuming style. After the pleasantries and congratulations I learned that last year they had just over 600 participants (good for the first year), and that this year they had around 1,000 participants. I asked him where SOCAP was going, and he said they would like to have more entrepreneur grants next year and that he would like to eventually see somewhere around 1,500 entrepreneurs along with the cadre of fund managers and investors large and small. So then I asked where are social capital markets in general headed? He told me the first panel of the morning would be addressing that question. When I pushed him on my observations from the first day and the slant toward non-profits that I felt, he disagreed wholeheartedly and said that his intention for the conference was to highlight and encourage profitable solutions that considered and accounted for environmental and social impacts in their business models. He insisted that capital was flowing in larger and larger amounts in that direction as investors understood that the externalities of yesterday are not the externalities of today. Okay, okay… I decided to approach the morning’s sessions with an open mind.

I could not have been better rewarded for the renewed outlook and came to understand the symbolism of the bag. I found it astounding that the conversations I had throughout the remainder of the conference with investors, fund managers, and entrepreneurs alike often became philosophical and reflective while at the same time there was a transcendent feeling that those of us in this sector are sitting on a geyser.

Charly Kleissner talked about holistic investing and “going away from black and white." He sees investment capital moving away from “or” and to “and." Dan Crisafulli talked about enhanced transparency and larger partnerships between private and government capital as the need to “move the needle” on our social and environmental issues continued to become more intense. Amit Bouri talked about greater standards that are widely accepted by the social capital and financial community alike, such as Impact Reporting and Investing Standards (IRIS). I talked to a Canadian investment adviser about meekness and power appropriately placed.

I also had conversations with 3 other fund managers that in many ways were like listening to recorded conversations we have had within G2B Ventures and our sincere belief that we are pointing the market toward profitable investment in existing residential energy efficiency, and doing our small part to help transform the market and the world. Yet we remain humble and open to advice and dedicated to transparency, we remain optimistic, and we remain convinced that the investments made in triple bottom line ventures like ours will help change a world where economies dictate the way we all live.

On the last day of the conference they convened an open discussion designed to give participants the opportunity to suggest ways that the XSProject could be turned into a viable and sustainable business. Businesses start with a seed idea, the idea takes root and begins to sprout through the thoughtful fertilization of outside ideas and inputs, the germinated seed then grows into a business through careful cultivation, hard work and applied capital. We all understand the cycle; the difference is our determination to make a difference in a world in need of change and that we know we don’t have all the answers and are willing to ask for help. The key to SOCAP was the humility interwoven throughout the conference and the determination to learn from the mistakes of the past while focusing on profitable solutions for our environmental and social problems. I returned to Seattle with my unbridled optimism intact – the bag had done its work.