Real Estate Market

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:

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:

The Dialog of Infill Communities

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Mission Metrics: Case Studies on Impact Part 2
Written By: Aaron Fairchild, CEO of Green Canopy

Green Canopy’s neighborhood engagement started with our first home in West Seattle in 2010. We painted the home a shade of green that our neighbors rejected immediately and publicly via social media. We were taken aback. This certainly wasn’t the “impact” that we had hoped for. Our nascent team had just begun working together with a mission to inspire and this quickly became a moment to listen and learn.  We invited all of our neighbors to meet onsite and tour the construction project and vote on the color to repaint the home. This was our first opportunity to talk to the community about our mission, gather feedback and learn more about our neighbors, their values and, of course, a better choice for paint color.

Since that time Green Canopy has increased its commitment to neighborhood engagement in a number of ways. The company has hosted barbecues, sponsored block parties, held educational events on green building, hosted happy hours highlighting local non-profits, and more. The company has also programmatically adopted the Community Color Program to select the color palette that we use to paint every home.  Additionally, in 2012 the company formalized our introduction to the neighborhood with a “Meet the Builder” community meeting. This is neither required by the cities in which we build, nor embraced by the associations to which we belong. The Green Canopy Meet The Builder community meetings represent an early chapter in the story of every project, helping to set the tone once construction begins and ultimately ensuring greater community inclusion and consideration than otherwise.

The Green Canopy Meet the Builder community meeting is designed to introduce the company and our mission to inspire resource efficiency to the neighborhood; Green Canopy is a very different type of infill homebuilder. We flyer and mail invitations to the community to join us for an evening event that typically takes place in a local community center or library. During this event, the Green Canopy team introduces the company and team members. We put ourselves out there to receive input and feedback and to answer questions about construction, timelines and what to expect. 
 
Over the years we have met with hundreds of neighbors and learned so much about the communities in which we build. We have opened our projects to external influence, and while we can’t always accommodate, we always ask and listen with respect. 

In October of 2014 we layered into the Green Canopy Meet the Builder community meeting, an online neighborhood survey. Since that time, we have held over 20 community meetings and received results from 15 communities with responses from over 100 neighbors in Portland and Seattle. Once the surveys have been completed we process neighbor’s responses and send all responses back to the community members that filled out a survey. The responses are shared anonymously; yet when we review these results we receive highly informative feedback, which we use to learn, adapt and inform the Green Canopy team about the unique story of every community in which we build.  
 
For the first time, we are producing the results of the community surveys from which we have learned so much – they are full of critique, feedback and grace - take a look for yourself and let us know what lessons you learn in the comments below!

Download Green Canopy's Community Survey Responses to learn more about the communities in which we work.

Density Decisions

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Mission Metrics: Case Studies on Impact Part 1

Written By: Aaron Fairchild, CEO of Green Canopy

"The current housing crisis can not be easily solved because the issues are not black or white. Our solutions will require a more colorful, creative and collaborative approach." 

Green Canopy is a walkable urban infill developer with a mission to Inspire Resource Efficiency in Residential Markets. Since our company's inception, we believed one solution to our global resource scarcity and climate change issues should be infill homebuilding done differently. So began our journey to create a different kind of homebuilder that is more socially and environmentally aware and responsive. In the weeks ahead Green Canopy will publish a series of blogs and data sets that highlight some of the more curious approaches we incorporate to help create positive social and environmental outcomes.
 
We began Green Canopy as a for-profit, market-based model with the desire to make a difference. The thinking was that if we were successful in making a difference, profits would follow and allow the Company to scale our outcomes and impact.

In 2009 we purchased our first infill lot. Our next 59 homes were deep-green, energy efficient, complete home remodels. With the subsequent changes in the market and City regulations, we pivoted entirely to new construction with an emphasis on energy efficiency, sustainable methods and materials as well as increased density through a fabric of single-family, duplexes, triplexes and rowhouses; a mix of housing that is considerably more resource efficient where urban land is scarce. Rather than remodel one home or replace an old home with one new home, we now replace a single, older home with an average of four new, third-party green built certified homes that are over 300% more resource efficient than what was there before. We will sell roughly 40 third-party certified, deep-green homes in Seattle and Portland this year.

As a mission-focused homebuilder we are often looked at with confusion and curiosity from other homebuilders. Occasionally we are mocked and written off as “do-gooders.” It is often assumed that we really don’t know what we are doing. After all, homebuilding is an old profession, historically operating in a similar manner for generations.
 
Well, the times have changed in just one generation, and many of us have not yet recognized it. In the last 50 years the population has doubled. The consumption of water and food has tripled and the use of fossil fuels has quadrupled. Species are going extinct at a rate of 1,000 to 10,000 times of the normal background rate of 1 to 5 a year. We currently lose dozens of species a day. Humans have done more irreparable damage to the planet in the last 50 years than all of humanity before. Today, humanity continues to flood our cities in droves. Managing the increased density has triggered a serious societal housing problem that will likely be with us for years to come. 
 
As a result, Green Canopy is increasingly relevant in these turbulent times. However, our business model is not a perfect solution, and no solution is. Our housing crisis will not be easily solved because the issues are not black or white. Our housing issues are full of pigment requiring more colorful, creative and collaborative approaches.  
 
Embedded in this thinking, perhaps a silver pellet is revealed? Green Canopy is not a panacea. We are simple. Green Canopy is not particularly sexy. We are straightforward. Green Canopy is not a silver bullet. We are just one pattern in the colorful quilt of potential solutions needed to increase access, affordability and sustainability in urban housing.
 
In 50-years from now, when we have 14 billion human heart beats on the face of the planet, underwater coast lines, food and water security issues, what will our cities look like: Bastions of hope, or of hopelessness? In 50-years Green Canopy’s homes will still be standing as evidence of the purposeful actions that an earnest group of investors and operators took to help make our cities bastions of hope and opportunity. 


Up next - Part 2: Community Meetings Provide Context
Community meetings are not required for the relatively small-scale development projects undertaken by urban infill homebuilders. However, for the last four years Green Canopy has been conducting community meetings for every project we have undertaken. We will share our rational and the data collected from the surveys we have given to the neighbors in the communities in which we build. 


Additional Reading:
With waves of humanity flooding into our neighborhoods, and no simple or easy solution to address our density issues, take some time to read through these two Sightline research articles. They are informative, well researched and helpful as we consider the choices ahead of us. Both of these articles highlight the need for Green Canopy’s approach to increased density.

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!

The PNW is the hub of Greener Living: Thanks to These Geniuses

We are thrilled to highlight another year of excellence in green real estate. The 4th Annual Green Genius AwardS are right around the corner and we are excited to introduce some fabulous brokers this year. As the PNW transforms into a hive for sustainability - these brokers are capitalizing on new greenbiz trends in real estate. On September 13th We will be awarding the top Listing and Selling Agents as well as the top Listing and Selling offices at the Green Genius Award Ceremony during the Built Green Conference. These teams and individuals are key players in helping to transform the market, and their influence contributes to the growing trend of bringing more Built Green homes to the market every year. We’re excited to honor the great work they’ve done and the value they bring to their client’s lives. 
 
We hope to see you there! 

AN INTERVIEW WITH FIORE PIGNATARO
GREEN GENIUS LISTING AGENT OF THE YEAR FINALIST

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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? 
 
It’s a combination of things. There are definitely individuals who are really interested in the metrics and being able to see the difference in a very concrete way and understand the processes involved. That exists particularly in Seattle, where we have quite a sophisticated group of buyers and sellers. But it also has to be valuable to a greater audience, to the bulk of buyers who are right there in the middle.
 
Articulating the value to that group of people and helping them understand how a Built Green home is going to be financially sustainable over the long term is really important. One builder that I work with is very hands on and accessible to buyers. His willingness to meet with them in person and articulate that value really helps the buyer feel confident that it’s not just smoke and mirrors, it’s real, data driven information.
 
In your professional opinion, how can the green building movement continue to push our society and communities toward more sustainable living? 
 
Systems that will be able to constantly renew your ability to harvest your own energy such as solar panels or geothermal position you to really be able to pull yourself away from the grid and be self sustaining. That’s super exciting to me.
 
How do you incorporate sustainability into your own life?
 
Right now I’m remodeling my own home. I’m trying to bring in as many sustainable systems as I can, like solar panels, an improved heating system and tightening up the insulation. I’m looking at how these improvements are going to help me save money over time, and I also think there’s a lot more care and quality in this kind of development. Builders that build sustainably have put a lot more into that house, period. You’re just getting a better product over all, the bar is set much higher.
 
Why do you think the Seattle area is national leader in the green & sustainable building movement? 
 
It’s part of our DNA as Seattleites! We have the mother ship for REI here, mountain climbers, people who move here so they can be skiing in 45 minutes and people who hop on Lake Union on a Tuesday afternoon for sailing races. While Seattle isn’t necessarily a rugged frontier anymore, I think that’s how it started and you have people who wanted to preserve that spirit and character from many, many decades back. Now that we’ve had this tech boom, they go hand in hand because it’s brought a demographic of people who are looking for above average homes.
 
What do you like to do to enjoy the PNW summers?
 
I love playing soccer, running, getting out on the Puget Sound and going crabbing and harvesting oysters with my family at our beach property. We actually have our own oyster bed there.
 
If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
 
The Italian Riviera. While I’ve been there before, I really hope to go back soon. I was a teacher for 12 years before I got into real estate, and got to teach at an international school in Genoa, Italy. I’d love to be able to be able to go back and visit every little hamlet and unknown city on that stretch of coast. It’s like a second home to me.
 
If you could be an Olympic athlete, what sport would you want to compete in?
 
It would have to be something in track and field. The marathon would definitely be a candidate, or the 1500-meter or 200-meter sprint – which is always such a dramatic race. The Olympics is still the pinnacle of running going all the way back to the ancient Greeks.

Mission Aligned and Market Driven

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IMPACT INVESTING IN GREEN HOME DEVELOPMENT AIMS FOR PROFITABILITY ON A TRIPLE BOTTOM LINE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

SEATTLE, Washington (December 22, 2015) – Green Canopy is excited to announce that we have eclipsed a major milestone with our second Impact Debt Fund. The Alder Fund is a Real Estate Impact Investment Fund that is managed by Green Canopy and designed to lend on the development of certified green and guaranteed efficient homes. It has now issued its last loan and will begin winding down – issuing distributions as loans repay over the next 6-9 months.

With the help of the Fund and all of its participants, Green Canopy completed 50 high efficiency homes across Seattle, reaping a total energy savings of 532,000 kWh per year.  “We have mitigated over a million pounds of carbon in the last two years by building Green Canopy homes. That’s the equivalent of planting nearly 30,000 trees every year,” says Sam Lai, the CMO of Green Canopy. “These are metrics that our investors look at when they consider putting their capital to work for a cause. Of course it is also about returns, but not just so.”

The Alder Fund launched in October of 2013 with $7.7MM. Of the 50 Green Canopy homes that were built, nearly 25% of them were sold at price points below $450k in an effort to attract middle and lower income buyers in the Seattle market. These pricing targets were set by Washington State Housing Finance Commission, who partnered on several projects with Green Canopy with the hopes of providing green and energy efficient homes to buyers who also qualify for the Commission’s down payment assistance programs.

“This Fund, which eventually lent over $29MM for the completion of 50 homes, has been especially prosperous, and is an indicator of what mission aligned and market driven capital can accomplish,” said Andy Wolverton, the Fund’s manager and CFO of Green Canopy Homes. “The Alder Fund’s success is certainly reflected in our triple bottom line – and brings more than just monetary returns to our investors.”

The return profile for the Alder Fund is 9-12% annualized - and so far it is on target to achieve that goal. Over 50% of the investors have reinvested in the Birch Fund, Green Canopy’s third Impact Investment Fund which began raising capital this summer. The Birch Fund is targeting a total raise of $20MM and hopes to increase the number of affordable homes for sale here in Seattle and in Portland.

FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:
Andy Wolverton
andy@greencanopy.com
O) 206.792.7283

A Rose by any Other Name... Would be a Genius!

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Rose Bunao works alongside Jay Miller at Alchemy - a Keller Williams brokerage in downtown Seattle. We are thrilled to see their group represented on both the listing and the sales side of the Green Genius Awards! Not only are these agents up for the awards - but their brokerage is too!

Congrats to Rose and Jay! 

Rose Bunao
Green Genius Selling Agent of the Year Finalist
Redfin Real Estate - Central Seattle


  • Sam: What gets you excited about the green building movement?

  • Rose: The excitement  I get is when I am seeing a lot more of this  home being  built in our community as I am driving around in Heart of  Seattle and few on the East Side.     I take pride of able to share and show this home to my potential, past and  future clientals”   what Built Green homes offer with a Safer,  Healthier, Environmental Friendly, and the Engergy efficiency.  Knowing that there home they have purchase is going to provide them a better  and newer living experiences and be able to utilized this features.   The New  Sleek Contemporary elevation look to it,  features  and the interior finishes product.   I am always anxious to hold open house on the weekends, looking forward to be  and be able to show this homes to Buyers. 


  • Sam: What was your favorite green project? 

  • Rose: My favorite green site project are those homes that was Built with the  Great View.   When your on the Roof Deck  over looking  a 360 view of Puget Sound,  and or  360  view of Lake Washington,  with the Combination a 360 Mount Rainier, Cascade Mountain the combination to be able to see the 4 Views on the Roof Deck.     What more can you asked living hear in in the Northwest having a view like that.    Recent  one that I sold that had a 360 View of Puget Sound, and Mt. Rainier, and the Downtown City Scape,  was Builder  ISOLA homes,  on  corner of 30thand Judkins in Leschi -  3003 Judkins Street Seattle.


  • Sam:  What advice would you give to buyers and sellers of green homes?

  • Rose: My advice to  Buyers is buying a green built home is good investment to get into they will never regret , because what the feature it offers.   For the Sellers and Builders,  to keep up the great work ! of building more of this homes, because   they are still a lot of buyers out there awaiting more inventory of this homes to select from. “Supply on Demand” there not enough out there and they sell very quick ! too much buyers not enough homes for sale. 


  • Sam: What do you like most about living in the PNW?  

  • Rose: I have been living here in Washington for almost 18 years now,  originally from Hawaii, Island of Kauai. I reside on the East Side, of  Issaquah/Preston area on an acreage land with I have a few" Chickens/Hens" as my Pets and they lays fresh eggs daily,  and able to have it on your property.“  I like the nature life of having to see both the Evergreen Mountain forestry environment,  wilderness smell and the cleanness environment and having Lakes, the  Puget Sounds just nearby and have both the combination both of “ City Life” and  “Suburb Nature Life”has been great !  I can never asked for more. Best of Both Worlds. Growing up as a child, up to my teenagers years, on the island of Kauai, in which  offers lots of Nature Life.  We have that here too.   I  Never get  home sick  here in the Pacific Northwest,  where I grew,  it does have the similarity of what  Pacific Northwest Offers as well able to live he  take a trip natural nature environment, to the forest  to go camping,  skiing , Ski Resort is just short distance drive from my home, fishing, crabbing or pleasure boating ride,   but yet still have a Big City  Life ,  nearby is a great combination. Good long Summer, and combination of Winter, Fall, and Spring be able to see color changes during the 4 Seasons. Though idoes rain here  a lot in Washington during the winter. Its almost like being on the Island of  Kauai where it does  rains a lot there too.  Kauai is as you known for one of the Wettest Spot on Earth with Plenty of  Record Rains. Which  I grown custom too :) don’t mind at all. 


  • Sam: What is your favorite pump up song? 

  • Rose:  Jimmy Cliff – “ I Can See Cleary Now “


  • Sam: What is your favorite comfort food?

  •  Rose: “Beef Stew over  Rice”

Red is the New Green

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This year Redfin is topping the charts in the green home sales department. It is staggering to see the number of Redfin clients who are choosing green homes over other competitive properties. Perhaps it could be because Redfin is a next-generation company that represents an evolution in the way homes are bought and sold. It caters to a clientele that wants to be more involved in their home search and wants information at their fingertips, on their terms. 

But the tech alone isn't enough to qualify a great real estate service. Redfin also employs dozens of experienced real estate agents like Allie Howard and Karlyn Goetz. Allie will be a third time finalist for the Green Genius awards this year and Karlyn is setting new personal records for green home sales. When you are working with advanced buyers who know what they want - your agents have to be just as knowledgeable and these agents certainly know what is important when it comes to energy efficiency, walkability and sustainable construction.

What Redfin has proven is that when you enhance the experience of the hunt, give your clients the right tools, and include a team of full-service real estate agents who are advocates for their customers rather than the typical salespeople - you empower your customers. When customers are empowered - they buy homes that align with their values, rather than something an agent sold them on. They buy green homes.

Redfin is a Green Genius Selling Office of the Year finalist and Allie and Karlyn are both Selling Agent finalists. They have certainly helped to transform the local market.

Solo Lofts - courtesy of Redfin

Solo Lofts - courtesy of Redfin

Allie Howard
Green Genius Selling Agent of the Year Finalist
Redfin Real Estate -  North Capitol Hill, Madrona and Madison Park

  • Sam: What gets you excited about the green building movement?

  • Allie: Having grown up with a strong connection to nature and an inherent instinct to protect our natural resources, there are many things that excite me about green building. Currently, Greywater recycling and water conservation efforts are in the forefront of my thoughts.


  • Sam: What was your favorite green project?

  • Allie: Solo Lofts in Ballard; not only is it a fantastic Built Green 4-star project, but they also hired Green-centric Brokers to represent them.


  • Sam: What advice would you give to buyers and sellers of green homes?

  • Allie: Green homes have a broad appeal for many types of buyers. In addition to the practicality of using sustainably harvested building material and recycled products, indoor air quality and energy savings are also improved . There are typically better design elements throughout green homes as well, improving the quality of life for the homeowner and helps preserve the resale value of their investment.


  • Sam: What do you like most about living in the PNW?

  • Allie: I love the current of creative energy that flows throughout the Pacific Northwest. The abundance of natural beauty and outgoing attitude of the people who call the PNW home make it a really inspiring place to live and thrive.


  • Sam: What is your favorite pump up song? 

  • Allie: Revolution by The Beatles 


  • Sam: What is your favorite comfort food?

  • Allie: I love Creole and Cajun food, especially when I am down in NOLA with live music in the air.

Karlyn Goetz
Green Genius Selling Agent of the Year Finalist
Redfin Real Estate - Central Seattle


  • Sam: What gets you excited about the green building movement?

  • Karlyn: Honestly, it’s how quickly green homes are catching on. Aside from the eco-friendly features, so many of my buyers love green homes for the clean, modern look and family friendly spaces. Green homes tend to be very ‘livable,’ making the decision to buy green easy!


  • Sam: What was your favorite green project?

  • Karlyn: My favorite project I’ve seen recently is Dwell’s new Emerald Star Home in Ballard.  I love the unique character it has from the use of reclaimed materials. Finding cool original wood floors in 100-year old homes makes me so happy, so why not put them in a new home too?


  • Sam: What advice would you give to buyers and sellers of green homes?

  • Karlyn: Get to know the features of the home that make it unique. Often, buyers know that it’s a green build, but don’t realize the many details that set it apart.


  • Sam: What do you like most about living in the PNW?

  • Karlyn: The water and mountain views!! I’m a city girl at heart, but I LOVE that Seattle is so connected with nature. I’m on Lake Union every morning and in the mountains every chance I get!


  • Sam: What is your favorite pump up song? 

  • Karlyn: Can’t Hold Us by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis


  • Sam: What is your favorite comfort food?

  • Karlyn: If I could live off of homemade mac and cheese alone, I would! :)

Susan Stasik: 3rd Time Finalist, Full Time Genius

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Last week we posted about local Brokers who are making an impact in the Seattle real estate market. That list could never be complete without a hat's-off to Susan Stasik. Susan has won the Green Genius Awards for Listing Agent of the Year for the last two years - and we are so honored to know her, her work and the work that she does with one of Seattle's most notable builders - Dwell Development,

Dwell's mission is to create livable, walkable, sustainable communities. They are responsible for completeing over 40 Built Green properties in the mixed-income community of Rainier Vista near the light rail - as well as completing the first Emerald Star Built Green Spec Home in Seattle.

That's what the Green Genius Awards are all about - educating a community and transforming the market to consider sustainability when homes are bought and sold. That's Susan's job. 

Susan Stasik
Green Genius Listing Agent of the Year Finalist
Windermere Real Estate  -  Madison Park

  • Sam: What gets you excited about the green building movement?

  • Susan: I am buying some acreage in Ce Elum’s high country where I hope to some day soon build a home as close to off-grid that I can achieve, so my most-immediate answer would be solar. Building a home that doesn't have to be hooked up to utilities is an amazing feeling. And now so many buyers and builders are using solar and that is an exciting thing to take advantage of. 


  • Sam: What was your favorite green project?

  • Susan:  Probably our most recent Emerald Star project. From finding the lot at the very beginning to getting the site orientation correct, and all of the details like the 450% efficiency Sanden heat pump, the barn wood, and the energy efficiency. The Emerald Star home was pre-sold, but there was so much geeking-out about the home. It was fun.


  • Sam: What advice would you give to buyers and sellers of green homes?

  • Understand the green features... there's a difference between green enough vs sustainability/health and energy efficiency.


  • Sam: What do you like most about living in the PNW?

  • Susan: I love Seattle. It is a vibrant, big city with big city issues - but the progressiveness of the city is amazing. You can't get that everywhere. We are lucky.


  • Sam: What was your superlative in high school – (ie most likely too…)?

  • Susan: Most likely to Lead. I had a wide assortment of friends.


  • Sam: What is your favorite pump up song? 

  • Susan: Most recently it would have to be the mashup of Rachel Platten & Kelly Clarkston's Heartbeat Fight Song.


  • Sam: What is your favorite comfort food?

  • Susan: Definitely cheese & bread.

Who's Making an Impact in Seattle Real Estate? Green Genius Awards on September 9

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No one is questioning the success of the Seattle real estate market right now - but to folks like Susan Stasik, third time finalist for the Green Genius awards, its not about the quantity of home sales that really make her job worthwhile - its about the quality of the homes being sold; its about the people and the attitude toward better living; its about making an impact that affects more than just your pocketbook. Susan along with the rest of the Green Genius Finalists have more than one thing in common. First and foremost they are all stellar agents who know how to treat their clients, negotiate, and navigate the complex landscape of the Seattle housing market. They are all fierce agents with a passion for their jobs. But they do more than just navigate... they shape our market. 

These Green Genius Agents have managed to really push the needle in real estate while simultaneously helping the Emerald City build a reputation for progressive, sustainable living. They are at the forefront of a national trend, and we couldn't be more excited to award their positive influence.

On September 9th - we will announce the winners of the Green Genius Awards at the Annual Built Green Conference in Seattle. Each winner will receive a cash prize. We are thrilled to award these brokers for all they have done this past year. 

We asked each finalist a number of questions to get to know them before the Award Ceremony. Here is the first of seven posts. Let's see what Jay Miller has to say about green building!

Jay Miller 
JAY MILLER - Green Genius Listing Agent of the Year Finalist
Keller Williams Realty  -  Alchemy Real Estate Group

Sam: What gets you excited about the green building movement?

  • Jay: If we can translate the green movement in the same way the EPA has done with MPG stickers for cars, the energy efficiency and lower cost of owning a home (and communicating this to buyers) seems to me to be the most important. What does green in their wallet mean? We are a little numb to Energy Star and efficient hot water heaters, and it’s hard to know what overall impact it has on the home as a whole.


  • Sam: What was your favorite green project?

  • Jay: I loved all of the green projects I worked on this year of course! My favorite Isola project, the Woodlawn avenue "Licton Springs" because they felt truly stand-alone and AFFORDABLE GREEN.


  • Sam: What advice would you give to buyers and sellers of green homes?

  • Jay: It's easy to share with a buyer that an investment in a green home today, may seem like it's pushing the norm, but it's GOING to be the norm in 4.5 years when they sell. Setting up yourself to be a competitive green seller in a market that will soon have that as the norm.

  • For green builders, while mathmatically, they might sell for more...we haven't seen a recession yet...and there's better insulation against market swings.


  • Sam: What do you like most about living in the PNW?

  • Jay: That's it's turned into San Diego... but with better weather. The climate, activity & people make the PNW worthwhile. Two years ago I thought my family would have moved because of the weather - but now we are actually staying because of it.


  • Sam: What was your superlative in high school – (ie most likely too…)?

  • Jay: (Laughs) I’m not sure I was voted for anything, but if I was, it would’ve been in 5th grade.  I may’ve been voted most likely to succeed in business, in Mr Ito's class. I owned 1/2 the class businesses at the end of the year in a class market simulator project.  I don’t think that’s what Mr. Ito had in mind when he set up the project!  


  • Sam: What is your favorite pump up song? 

  • Jay:  Huh? 

  • Sam:  You know…like you’re about to step into a heated negotiation…or you’re very, very late coming home from work…or both.  What do you play in the car at ear wrecking volume to get yourself pumped up?

  • Jay: Black Eyed Peas - don't stop the party


  • Sam: What is your favorite comfort food?

  • Jay:  I think a snobby burger is the right fit... Cowboy cheeseburger at Eureka

Modern Builder and Design Magazine!

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"Having beautiful product that is also incredibly energy efficient means it costs less to own and we mitigate more greenhouse gas emissions.”

We’re proud to share that we were recently featured in the Summer 2015 issue of Modern Builder + Design magazine! Our own Aaron Fairchild outlined Green Canopy’s mission, process, and motivations in the eight page spread.  He speaks to the importance of recognizing the impact our builds are making on both the environment, and on the community around us. 

“With educational programs, green building and renovation techniques, and unparalleled community engagement, Green Canopy is as much a movement as it is a business. 
Green Canopy Homes’ earth-friendly ethos is not limited to an end product: homes, renovations- and now custom- properties that sell for up to $1.5 million and meet rigorous standards for energy efficiency, quality and beauty. 
The company goes beyond its relationship with individual homebuyers to try to affect change in the market overall- through innovative education channels and partnerships. 
‘We have shifted this local market toward greater awareness of the benefits of resource efficiency and certified green product at the time homes are bought and sold,’ President Aaron Fairchild says.” (p. 63)

The article continues on to highlight Aaron’s goals and specific processes for accomplishing the Green Canopy mission.  He even mentions the Empower Happy Hours! 

We are also so thankful for Ballard Reuse, Northwest Electric & Solar, and Performance Insulation for being a part of this spread with us. 

Check out more here: http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/translucent/mbd_2015summer/#/62

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. 

Living by the Lake: What Walkscore Doesn't tell you About Experience

Photo Courtesy of Tilly Goble: Naissance Photography

Photo Courtesy of Tilly Goble: Naissance Photography

We do not tend to write about specific neighborhoods on this blog that often – but I was compelled to write a story about Seward Park after having lived there for several years. In my experience, it was a great place to spend my twenties as the burgeoning Columbia City was just becoming cool - and then start a family in a more mellow part of the Rainier Valley. Even though I recently moved – I still have many friends in the Seward Park area and I truly think it is a hidden gem in Seattle.

I am thrilled that Green Canopy is building here - which is why I wanted to capture the spirit of the neighborhood. I remember watching with anticipation when the lots on Seward Park Ave, walking distance to my own home, went on the market. It was a great location – and I had hoped that Green Canopy would be the ones to snap up these three lots. When we eventually did, I made it a point to stroll by often to watch as we started construction. It was incredible to see our company in my own backyard!

For me, Seward Park was kind of a life-changing neighborhood – filled with long walks on the waterfront, my son’s first bike ride as an infant, magical hikes in the forest and making memories. What I didn’t understand when I went to look up the “fun facts” on the neighborhood was how the heck this community has a Walkscore of 54! It seems artificially low to anyone living here – but perhaps that is because Walkscore tends to measure quantity of amenities over quality of experience.

Many of the residents agree that they actually get out and enjoy their neighborhood often, perhaps even more than families and individuals living elsewhere. What you don’t see on Walkscore is the fact that biking, running and taking long walks through the park, to the local Temples, and along the waterfront are often DAILY activities for the folks who live here. It is an experiential neighborhood, for sure! Full of lazy afternoons of sunbathing and winter forest walks among the old growth. Cherry blossomed sunsets and the peaks of Mt. Rainier. Things that can't be measured by Walkscore.


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What Walkscore does point out is that Seward Park’s commercial district is pretty small. It might not feel like Fremont every weekday – but it definitely hosts and handful of tiny and tidy mom-n-pops that the neighborhood loves. In fact – the impact of the PCC flagship store relocating to Columbia City was, and still is, really big news. Many fear that the store's relocation will be detrimental to the quality of life of the residents and businesses. As an anchor in the community – there was no question that the move would impact walkability and vibrancy. The cry for an equal or better future tenant has since been answered, however, as Third Place Books prepares to move in. It will likely be a change of pace for the area – but most are happy with the exchange. 

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Seward Park is a magical neighborhood with many great memories and friends. I miss several of the south end hot spots – but the local gems listed below have a special place in my memory and can’t be forgotten. I know the future Green Canopy Homeowners will have lasting memories here and will fall in love with the neighborhood (if they haven’t already done so). No matter what Walkscore says – the experience of Lake Washington living and the quality of the local amenities continue to shape the future and reflect the past of this lovely, vibrant community.

  • Café Vita: Best coffee and service and the only place to get Mighty-O doughnuts in the south end.

  • Flying Squirrel Pizza: Yes, please. All of the time. I love that they serve their wine in stem-free glasses – and stock Molly Moon ice cream for dessert.

  • Seward Park Audubon Center:  Birding not your thing? That's ok! They have something for everyone! Who else offers midnight owl prowls and toddler walks through the forest. Watch soon for the Tiny Trees All-Outdoor Preschool!

  • Lake Washington and Seward Park: Pure Magic

  • Bent Burgers: Shake and a burger with outdoor seating. Need we say more? 

  • Pritchard Beach: The fine line between Seward Park and Rainier Beach – but so worth it to explore this pocket park, trails and urban farm

  • Essential Birth & Family Center: There is a relatively high number of health and personal care offices in Seaward Park including chiropractors, acupuncturists, dentists and naturopaths. This center caters to new mothers and provides midwifery, pre and postpartum care, support and education to the south end’s diverse cultures. 

  • PCC: Sad to see you go, but looking forward to your successor!


The three homes that Green Canopy will be completing in July are named Baily, Rain and Dalis for their water-faring neighborhood. Baily, after the Baily Peninsula (the original name for Seward Park), Rain after, well we all know what that’s after, and Dalis – a Jewish name meaning “running water.” We are excited to be finishing up these hillside homes and bringing them to the market this summer. They are three, ultra-efficient homes with all of the green features and sustainable materials that we get to geek out on when marrying the built and natural environments.

Community Opportunity: How to Impact the Seattle Housing Market

"The current fight over how we should pay for affordable housing, and who will fund it, is beating on the wrong drum."

Social and environmental impact investing and businesses continue to capture the interest and imagination of the Pacific Northwest, part of a broader global trend. Local early adopters affiliated with Element 8Impact HUB SeattleSeattle ImpactMission Investors Exchange and other institutions and individuals have forged impact investment paths that many others now find themselves traveling. It’s exciting to see the local impact investing ecosystem and communities flourish. However, a market imbalance persists with more impact investor dollars available than the limited number of qualified investment opportunities can absorb. Fortunately we’re seeing signs that the supply of impact investment opportunities is starting to catch up with demand from impact investors.

Green Canopy is an example of an impact-investor funded company that has been fueled by local early adopters. The company operates in a commodity industry: designing and building single family homes. However, we have been fortunate to attract thoughtful, impact-motivated equity and debt investors, due in large part to our mission, vision and values focused on achieving long term positive environmental and social change while simultaneously pursuing solid financial results.

Since 2011 Green Canopy has acquired nearly 90 projects; steadily building a community of homeowners, real estate agents, employees, shareholders and fund members that share our passion to inspire resource efficiency in residential markets. Importantly, we pursue our mission while being uncompromising in achieving key sustainability metrics, paying our employees a fair wage, selling our homes at fair market prices and generating long term shareholder value. Green Canopy has an opportunity to demonstrate it is not only possible, but highly rewarding for all involved to create and operate under a business model predicated on shared, blended value creation.

Similar opportunities are emerging across a wide spectrum of investment strategies that seek to satisfy growing consumer and investment demand for highly impactful market-driven solutions. As Seattle continues to attract tens of thousands of employees each year to fill quality jobs at companies like Amazon, Nordstom and Microsoft, our entire region feels the benefits. And yet, we are all faced with the unintended consequences of the additional infrastructure needed to support increased demand for critical services, including affordable workforce housing. The current fight between the City and the Coalition for Sustainable Jobs and Housing over how we should pay for affordable housing, and who will fund it, is beating on the wrong drum. Neither side seems to be asking the right questions or putting forth a broadly acceptable or effective solution for quickly increasing the supply of affordable workforce housing. 

One example of an alternative solution is Bellwether Housing’s recently launched Seattle Futures Fund. Bellwether has successfully developed and managed affordable workforce housing in Central Seattle for 35 years. However, as affordable housing has become an increasingly rare commodity in the communities Bellwether serves, the organization has had to innovate how its projects are financed; necessity = the mother of innovation. Through the Seattle Futures Fund, Bellwether believes it will more rapidly scale the number of units available to house social workers, teachers, baristas, police officers, firefighters, government workers, data center workers and others that serve our communities. A potentially wonderful, local example that attracts private capital as part of the solution to develop housing that is affordable and accessible to our urban working families.

As a community, we must collaboratively develop innovative, smart, market-driven solutions to problems that impact a wide range of constituents. Hopefully, a greater supply of viable impact investment opportunities for investors to assess, like Bellwether’s Seattle Futures Fund, will be forthcoming in the near-term. In the meantime, we would encourage investors and entrepreneurs alike to continue viewing our social and environmental problems through the lens of impact opportunity.


Contributed by Kyle Mylius, Board of Directors for Green Canopy, Inc. & Aaron Fairchild, CEO of Green Canopy, Inc.

Green Homes, Green Builders & Built Green

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Recently I was asked by a neighbor if I knew any custom green builders. Ahem! I proclaimed - I just so happen to work for one! What can I do for you? They were interested in building their very own green home in the near future and were currently saving to buy property on Bainbridge Island. Great! Let me know when you're ready, I said - and I can get you started. 

My neighbor's next question is one that we get often. How do I know if a builder is a green builder? Do they have to be LEED Certified? To which I replied... first of all - buildings are certified, people are accredited. What you really should look for when searching for a green builder is whether or not those sustainable business practices are embedded in the culture, their people and their product. But also - LEED, while it is an incredibly robust program, is not the only green building guideline out there. In fact - Built Green carries many advantages in our region. It's tailored to the needs of the Pacific Northwest - and is incredibly in tune with the builder community here.

Of course my neighbor had never heard of Built Green - which goes to show that the USGBC has a great marketing budget and a good hold on the market. Still - any green builder should be familiar with both - and that was my point.

In light of the conversation with my neighbor - I decided that I would post our latest Built Green Case Study that was submitted to their newsletter. Every Green Canopy Home is Built Green Certified, but this one was a particularly amazing rehab project that presold in Ballard. We were happy to work with Evergreen Certified to get the job done and truly believe that Built Green is a critical brand and program in the Pacific Northwest.


CASE STUDY
ARABELLA: 6527 5TH AVE NW

What can you do with a harsh, stucco-clad bungalow in Ballard? This 1911 home was thoughtfully reimagined by Green Canopy Homes and reconstructed into a charming yet modern home with light and bright spaces, a stunning communal kitchen addition and vestiges of reclaimed features throughout.  

This 4 star Built Green Home, nicknamed Arabella, was gutted and rehabbed – maintaining 75% of the original structure. The project was carefully deconstructed, with building materials source separated and recycled on site. This process allowed the team to harvest framing lumber to reuse as a feature wall – highlighting the history of the original home. 

Arabella was in desperate need of systems upgrades and originally tested in at an EPS score of 37,000kWh per year – nearly 10,000kWh over the Seattle average. Green Canopy replaced each system, incorporated a ductless heat pump, rigorous insulation and air sealing as well as spot Energy Recovery Ventilators to maintain fresh air in the new super tight envelope (3.7 ACH @50 Pascals). The project finished out with and EPS score of 16,000kWh, reducing energy costs by over $1,400 a year!

In addition to deep energy efficiency upgrades, Arabella exemplifies intelligent site design and finishes. Drywells and a rain garden infiltrate 100% of storm-water on site, and the new addition’s low impact, post & pier foundation minimizes site disruption.  Arabella’s stylish “pickled” cedar siding was dipped in a natural wood treatment that never has to be reapplied and patinas for protection. Better for the environment, and less hassle for the happy new homeowners!

Whether you are in the market for a green home, interested in building your own - or just looking for builders - it might be important to know whether that builder is leading the movement - or just following market trends. All green builders in the area should be keenly aware of the certifications, accreditation, and sustainable business practices such as deconstruction and recycling. The kinds of homes we build and the intentions of the people who build them impact our community, so ask questions

"Density" Empowers Bold Conversations in Seattle

Contributed by Krystal Meiners

Good conversations are typically born in the company of good people. 

That was the driving thought when we created the Empower Happy Hour at the beginning of 2014. We wanted to have good, meaningful conversations with people outside of our own organization (because frankly we were all preaching to the choir internally and were probably consuming too much booze just to keep things interesting). What we didn’t want, however, was to host a formal event, or a networking opportunity. We wanted to have real conversations with interesting people, so the Empower Happy Hour was born.

The format of these events have always been the same… low key, in a bar, no nametags, no soapboxes, no formally led discussions – just a topic to unite us, an amazing sponsor and an impactful non-profit. Each event has been unique – but the most recent one in Ballard was especially inspiring and a great indicator for successful future events. We are truly thankful for the opportunity to have hosted with Sustainable Ballard and we were especially grateful to our sponsor Redfin Builder Services.

While this event was a bit different from our other Happy Hours - there were a couple of key ingredients that helped mold it into something very special and eye-opening.

1. An AMAZING question. 
Our non-profit cohost has always provided a topic of discussion for our happy hours – and Sustainable Ballard really hit it home with their topic.

a. Does Density = Sustainability?
b. Does Sustainability = Density? 

This two-parter really has a huge impact in Seattle right now and is on the tips of everyone’s tongues. Despite the "breathing room only" crowd – the quality of conversation was fascinating. Not everyone chooses to talk about the topic during our happy hours but this really captured the attention of many including Councilman Mike O’Brien who was discussing Ballard’s new apodments – considered both a scourge and blue-sky solution to housing in Seattle.

The rest of the conversations spanned walkability (a fun topic in light of Redfin’s recent acquisition of Walkscore) – as well as Ballard’s most recent developments and the addition of quality locations to eat, shop and sip. The idea of a “carless lifestyle” as the new definition of luxury was a spirited thought when considering the changing mindset toward livability in times of climate change and a return to urban living.

Not all of the conversations were light-hearted. Serious attention to community wants and needs and the impact of more density on transportation was a common topic; as was the builder-bad-guy issue with neighbors. Not everyone loves the way development looks, feels and changes a neighborhood – so thoughts on working with community were abundant. In particular - discussions around Green Canopy's new Neighborhood Design Survey and community meeting approach were inspiring to neighbors that had visited the event.

2.  Another key ingredient to the success of this specific happy hour was the LOCATION. 
We went against our own rules and decided to host the event in a small event space – but to keep it lively, we started off with drinks at the nearby Skillet – and then moved indoors. While it may have been difficult to corral folks - no one was lost and the “bar-hopping” effect made the event feel less stiff. 

Aside from just the venue – the fact that the event was held in Ballard – a community common to our hosts, co-hosts, sponsors and mired in the topic at hand – made it easier to talk about density relative to where we were all feeling excitement and pain. The Greenfire Campus was a perfectly inspirational space with only enough room to kiss or kill whoever you were speaking to. Skillet made for the perfect pre-funk, and Parfait made for the perfect after-hour snack.

We were very excited to host this event with Sustainable Ballard and Redfin. The event lasted well past our 6:30 cutoff and folks lingered having friendly discussions. While there was no Bocce, like our previous event at Von Trapps, and there was no policy big-wigs like our event with Climate Solutions – it was intimate, refreshing and exactly what we could have hoped for.

We definitely look forward to hosting many more Empower Happy Hour’s, and aim to keep them simple, sexy, and substantial. We hope you will join us the next one to help ADVANCE THE DISCUSSION.

The Empower Happy Hour is a quarterly event hosted by Green Canopy Homes. If you are interested in sponsoring the event or if you belong to a non-profit that is interested in co-hosting, please contact krystal@greencanopy.com . If you are interested in joining the event – please sign up for our Newsletter to receive updates on event dates and venues.

Where is Density?

Contributed by Krystal Meiners

As we gear up for the November Empower Happy Hour, I am excited to write an article that relates to the topic of Density.

Density is one of those subjects that can be mired in analytics – but it is also a very real phenomena that hits many hearts and can have an extreme impact on the life of a community. It has the capacity to improve or ruin neighborhoods – so it can be especially hard to know if you are doing it right.

One of my most recent and favorite density conversations was this past September at the Built Green Conference. The discussion was focused on enhancing Walkability in the suburbs by increasing the number and quality of connections between where people lived and where the wanted to go. The reason that I loved the conversation so much was because it completely challenged the notion that density does not exist in the suburbs.

Niko Larco, a professor from the University of Oregon and author of the book Site Design for Multifamily Housing: Creating Livable, Connected Neighborhoods, was the conference keynote. His address proposed that we take a new look at suburban density to see how we can make improvements in the walkability of what is currently existing. What he wanted to challenge was the idea that “No one walks in the suburbs”. Because, seriously… no one walks in the suburbs right?

When people think about the suburbs – they often think of sprawling single-family homes and whirling subdivisions that have no exits. It is true that this landscape exists a great deal in the suburbs and that this low-density development tends to blight  the countryside.

What we often glaze over, however, is the existence of real density. What Larco showed in his presentation was that DENISTY DOES EXIST in the suburbs. Maybe not in the single family housing that we are so familiar with – but perhaps somewhere else. What we are missing is that medium-density apartment developments are also a huge part of the suburban landscape and have been since the 70’s. While the analytics of density might point to extremely low ratios in the suburbs – the fact is that there are dense micro-developments that rival even the densest downtown core.

In fact, Larco and his students did a great study on walkability in the suburbs and surveyed hundreds of residents that live in apartment complexes throughout America. What they found was that, absolutely, people do walk in the suburbs. They walk to the convenient stores, they walk to the grocery store (even if it is through paths paved from hundreds of trips through the buffer zones), and they even knock down fences in an effort to get from point A to point B.

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I recall this kind of “suburban connection” from my youth. Particularly one that connected the woods behind my grandmother’s house to the back of the Dairy Queen. If we would have taken the paved route to this coveted location, it would have taken us three times as long to get our frozen treats – so we blazed trails, we pulled apart the fence and trampled through the poison ivy.

Now – while this kind of density isn’t what you would normally think of, and this kind of Walkability isn’t the type of trip that will show up on Walkscore – what I do love about this conversation is that it is about something more organic. It is about community-driven design in a sense. It is about people letting designers, planners and developers know what they want and where they want it.

It is about taking charge of your community. And that is really what this density conversation should be about, right? How can we enable the neighborhood to take charge of their community?

Larco has recently began working with apartment developers to give them a “recipe” for creating successful connections in and out of their development. Where these developers once built with blinders on – they are now noticing that, “hey, I don’t have to put up a fence around the whole property because there is this Pizza place right behind us.” And that saves money right?

It should and could be the same thing in any neighborhood. At Green Canopy we have recently taken steps to develop more community-driven designs. Our community meetings have become more robust – and our feedback is really changing the way that we design and develop properties. It is hard to marry what the neighbors want with what the market wants – but at the same time – there is no need to knock down fences, right?

Moving Past Infill Ill Will

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By Aaron Fairchild, CEO/Chairman of Green Canopy Inc.

The outcry against residential in-fill has reached a fevered pitch in Seattle. Neighbors are yelling at homebuilders, each other, the city, and anyone who will listen. The themes are relatively consistent; opposition to modern homes, bigger homes, added density, or the fact that projects are unaffordable to existing residents. Builders, on the other hand, are simply trying to build what the market demands – and that may well conflict. But, is the fevered pitch, and ill will around new in-fill developments in the Seattle area necessary, or is there a way to work together?

As someone on the front lines of the neighborhood hostilities trying to do business in a new way, I think there is.  By engaging with (and listening to) neighbors and being transparent about planning and decision-making beforehand, infill housing can become a welcome and community-forwarding endeavor. 

Having heard the angry outcry, and with a focus on continuing to build a human values-based business that contributes to communities, here are a few ideas for how this could be done: 

  • Listen, really listen, first. Changes within a neighborhood can be emotional for many. When you recognize that going in, even hearing concerns starts to build a trust pattern. While plans are still conceptual, hold a community meeting to receive input on the direction of your design.

  • Engage along the way. Especially with topics like sidewalk closures, site work, paint colors, etc. (We use Tumblr quite a bit on this front) Updating the community using a community blog demonstrates awareness that the developer is entering into an established norm of how the neighborhood functions. 

  • Acknowledge feedback and make Changes. When neighbors really see a result of their comments, whether as acknowledgement or in changes to the plan, trust is solidified, paving the way for the best possible relationship with the community throughout the construction process, and helping the new homeowner receive a much warmer welcome.


How is this good business? Engaging the community while building in close quarters with neighbors helps minimize angry calls and letters to the city, intense verbal discussions with subcontractors, and creates a much better work environment for everyone. By approaching our own projects in this manner, we’ve had neighbors bring us warm coffee, cookies, and offer to help. Our homebuyers are a welcome addition to the neighborhood versus being seen with skepticism and mistrust by association. All of this work helps create positive association with our company name and ultimately helps sell our homes.

In this day and age of transparency, builders really can’t “bulldoze” their way into a neighborhood.  If neighbors and builders alike can remain open to each other, listen and engage, we should all be able to learn together how to effectively rebuild our aging infrastructure, honor our past and lay the groundwork for a thriving future in Seattle.

This piece was written in response to a thoughtful article from Seattle Weekly entitled "Boomtown Brawls" by Nina Shapiro. 

Agents of Change and Transformation

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Contributed by Aaron Fairchild, CEO of Green Canopy, Inc.

We work with hundreds of Real Estate Brokers in the Seattle market to efficiently rebuild our city from the inside out. Internally at Green Canopy we consider the Real Estate Broker community to be Agents of change and transformation. We offer monthly education for Real Estate Brokers to not only help them understand the benefit of resource efficient homes, but to also help them understand the importance of the global and national challenges we are combating through our collective work together. Together, we sincerely and ideally believe that we can change the face of our city and the nation for generations of residents in the years to come.

To increase the awareness of this highly important work, we created the Green Genius Awards. These awards recognize the top ten Real Estate Brokers in our community that have transacted in the most certified green home sales over the course of a year. The Green Genius Award itself is given to the number ONE Listing Broker and the number ONE Selling Broker that represents buyers of certified green homes. We do what we can to promote these award winners throughout the community and create awareness for their Green Genius prowess.

This year’s panel of judges include Maryanne Coffman from 1st Security Bank, Sarah Ealey from Built Green, Kevin Peterson from Puget Sound Energy, Ann Sammon from Green Canopy Homes, Dustin Van Wyck from Windermere, and Ben Kauffman from KW GreenWorks.

Each agent was assessed based on 5 things:

  • Total Number of Sales or Listings

  • Project Impact: how important was that project to the neighborhood context, what level of certification did it complete, how innovative was the project, etc.

  • Marketing & Awareness: How much exposure did this project get beyond the MLS? Did it include its certification level in the marketing remarks? Did the marketing include promotion of features beyond the certification and appliances to show value in the building innovation?

  • Project Exposure: Are the projects and their brands highly visible? Did the builder also promote their own project and was it promoted on the BuiltGreen website?

  • DOM: Days on Market. This is typically a good indicator of increased awareness and anticipation of a project. For a Selling Agent, however, we did consider the extra effort that needed to go into selling a green product that may have sat on the market either due to neighborhood sales velocity or poor pricing.

Green Canopy is especially proud of all of the agents that have made the Top 10 this year and the agents who continue to work toward a greener and more sustainable community. This year the #1 Listing Agent and the #1 Selling Agent will win several exciting prizes.

TreeHouse Point B&B, Issaquah WA
The award prizes will include:

  • A 2 night stay at TreeHouse Point in Issaquah; a unique Bed and Breakfast with Treehouse cabins

  • Dinner with the CEO of Green Canopy at a local Pacific Northwest Restaurant

  • A $200 donation to Arbor Day Foundation in the Agent’s name; for every dollar donated, a tree is planted… that’s an entire forest!! Each tree represents 911lbs of carbon sequestration every year!*

CONGRATULATIONS TO THIS YEAR’S TOP 10!

Top 5 Selling Agents:

  • Winston McClanahan Redfin Corp.

  • Joe Hunt Redfin Corp.

  • Matt Snell Re/Max on the Lake

  • Jeffrey Parker Windermere R.E./ Capitol Hill

  • Jane Maxson Coldwell Banker Bain

Top 5 Listing Agents:

  • Jay Miller Keller Williams Downtown Seattle

  • Susan L. Stasik Windermere R.E. Madison

  • James Dainard Heaton Dainard LLC

  • Kari Collins Keller Williams Greater Seattle

  • Darcy A. Walker Conner Real Estate Group, LLC

*Carbon sequestration information available here