Joining the Green Home Tour this year is a sustainability stop that brings
art, culture and green building technology together. On April 26th the
public will have an opportunity for a “behind the scenes” look inside
Taproot Theatre Company’s newly constructed Kendall Center located on the
site of the Eleanor Roosevelt Building that was destroyed in the October
2009 arson in the historic Greenwood business district’s crossroads.
Tours are at 12pm and 1:30pm.
The 12,000 square foot annex was constructed by Method Prefab when Taproot
opted for modular construction to expand into the space previously occupied
by the Eleanor Roosevelt Building. Designed by The Miller Hull Partnership,
the targeted LEED Gold building renovation and expansion takes design cues
from the early 1900’s era neighborhood setting, adding improved efficiency
with energy-conserving lighting and HVAC systems, public green space in a
congested traffic corridor, and the use of reclaimed and environmentally
An additional highlight to the tour is the artwork featured by Bherd Studios
in the new Stage Door Café. After the arson in 2009 Bherd Studio artists
painted the mural that ran alongside the sidewalk of 85th and brightened the
neighborhood. “Having Bherd Studios create the murals for the Stage Door
Café was another way for us to include them in our recovery, as well as to
feature Greenwood artists.” The mural consists of two panels: The left is a
composite of photos from the reconstruction of the Old Globe Theater in
London; the right is based on snapshots of Taproot Theater. “The concept was
taking a bit of the new from the old, with Taproot Theatre being the new and
Shakespeare’s Globe being the old” said John Osgood and Kevin Sensei, the
artists that created the mural.
Join the tour and have a behind the scenes look at the theater’s new spaces
Black Box Theatre that seats 120 – A space for developing and performing new
scripts, additional classes for youth and rehearsals
The Stage Door Café (Now Open) – a comfortable setting for patrons to gather
before and after performances for dialogue and engagement; open six days a
week, it is also a way to serve the Greenwood community
Scene Shop (1,200 sf) – a more spacious and efficient construction space
will shorten the time needed to construct and move-in scenery, allowing for
additional performance weeks and increased revenue
Costume, laundry, and repair shop
Green room with dressing rooms and bathrooms
Lobby providing additional space
Administrative offices with conference room and staff break room
interior/exterior deck with living walls and green roof
About Taproot Theatre Company
Taproot Theatre Company is a professional, nonprofit theatre company with a
multi-faceted production program. Founded in 1976, Taproot Theatre serves
the Pacific Northwest with Mainstage Productions, Touring Productions and
the Acting Studio. Taproot exists to create theatre that explores the beauty
and questions of life while bringing hope to our search for meaning. Taproot
Theatre Company is a member of Theatre Communications Group (TCG), Theatre
Puget Sound (TPS), Phinney Ridge Neighborhood Association (PNA) and the
Greenwood-Phinney Chamber of Commerce.
About Method Prefab
Method Prefab (Method) is a custom manufacturer of precision-built
prefabricated structures. The company offers fully custom prefabrication of
any design by any architect. Founded with a mission of adding innovation to
the future of construction, Method is guided by the core value of
thoughtful, sustainable design. Prefabrication allows Method to reduce
construction timelines and control costs while building custom projects in a
controlled environment, minimizing exposure and waste. As such, Method can
focus on sustainability and cutting edge design. Method’s structures ship 80
to 95 percent complete, resulting in project timelines of two to five
months. For more information, visit: methodprefab.com
Eva Otto, Owner & Broker of Infiniti Real Estate & Development will be speaking on how innovation and shifts in values are reshaping the framework of sustainability towards a Restorative Development paradigm. Our focus will include development from a balanced perspective and Biophilia/biomimicry – using nature as a design standard.
Come Join Us!
FOR OUR APRIL EVENT
Tuesday April 15th 7:30AM – 9:00 AM
200 112th Ave NE, Ste. 300
Bellevue, WA 98004
These days homes in the Seattle real estate market are moving so fast it’s difficult for homebuyers to find a new green construction or remodeled home that doesn’t have compromise (often location). There are very few new construction quality green homes available, and even fewer options at affordable prices in the urban core with few vacant land opportunities for building.
One could ask, what is a homebuyer to do who can’t complete in this hot market with all cash buyers for land/fixers and what are the homebuilders to do who don’t have enough land to build on to satisfy demand?
One solution local green builder Green Canopy Homes came up with in response to a high demand for modernized green homes and scarce land options is to offer homebuyers custom remodel packages. Now Green Canopy can contract directly with a homeowner to remodel their existing home, or remodel a home they buy on the market to reduce overall costs. This custom build option is a win-win because it reduces the extra costs to a homebuyer who buys a new home on market and it reduces risk to the homebuilder who doesn’t have to guess about how and where their homebuyer wants to live.
Green Canopy’s newest home Dinah in Ballard (currently listed to be on the tour) fortunately doesn’t have much to compromise over. It is unique to the tour because it will be the only new home to be constructed with solar powered roof shingles (how many of us have been dreaming about this day?!) This is part of the innovation of what made Green Canopy Homes the recipient of King County’s Sustainable Small Business of the Year award this past year. Their ongoing commitment to the communities they work in and the thoughtfulness in which they engage the neighbors from design to finish home is unparalleled. For example, Green Canopy Homes gives the community an option to vote on the exterior paint colors for each house they construct. Currently Dinah is up for a paint vote! Check out the Green Canopy website and cast your vote for this house today. Stop by Dinah on the tour and see the winning vote!,
by Eva Otto and Eric Thomas
“We are passionate about the environment, conservation, design, and sustainable building,” says Tyler Reith as he leads us through the recently expanded showroom of Greenhome Solutions, Seattle’s locally owned green building supply store, located just south of the Ballard Bridge.
Judging by the neat racks of sustainable flooring samples, the gleaming displays of eco countertop materials, and the smiling faces of the staff that greet us, “passionate” might be an understatement.
Tyler and his siblings, Cameron and Erin, have turned their love of all things green into a thriving business that serves Seattle and beyond. The dedication and energy they’ve poured into their business comes through in many ways: the care they take in choosing their products, the support they’ve given to their community, and the praise of customers, who call the staff “incredibly friendly,” “super helpful,” and “easy to work with.”
From Dot Com to Down the Street
In an era when online competition has shuttered many local businesses, it’s refreshing to hear that Greenhome Solutions took the opposite path—starting online and then opening a showroom.
The seed of the Greenhome Solutions idea came to Tyler while he was working as a general contractor. His clients were asking for environmentally friendly products and finishes, but there was no good local source at the time.
“Many of the products my clients were looking for I had never heard of, but they were really cool products,” says Tyler. So cool, that Tyler, his brother Cameron, and sister Erin were inspired to make them available to the general public by setting up an online store.
Soon, their web-based business became popular enough to convince them that the Seattle community was ready for a bricks-and-mortar storefront as well. As the three siblings started planning, they quickly realized that Greenhome Solutions could be more than a store, serving as a resource center for their hometown Seattle community.
“A lot of what we do is education,” says Cameron Reith who spent years teaching homebuyers about green homes as a certified real estate EcoBroker. He now spends his time providing information about products and personalized service to customers.
“We don’t need to do a hard sell because the products sell themselves,” says Cameron.
A Commitment to Locally Sourced Green Products
While most building supply stores choose their products based on price, Greenhome Solutions also considers the number of miles a product must travel before being installed in a customer’s kitchen or living room. Their goal is to minimize a product’s “embodied energy,” the sum of all the energy required to manufacture and ship it. Products that are sourced closer to home require much less fuel for shipping and can be a greener choice.
“We’re extremely choosy about what makes it into our showroom,” says Cameron. “We try very hard to source only the greenest products that live up to their promises. We also go out of our way to find locally sourced building materials and products whenever we can. It provides a Seattle connection that many of our customers appreciate. At the same time, we like doing what we can to support the local economy, which has given us so much.”
Some of the company’s most popular items are produced right here in the Puget Sound region. A customer favorite is a product from Seattle-based NovuStone. The company’s countertop material is hand-crafted in the historic Ranier Brewery building from natural aggregates and recycled bottle glass, windows, and mirrors, as well as castoffs from local glassware maker Glassybaby. Customers can choose from dozens of styles, from the sophisticated look of classic stone to fun and colorful mosaic patterns.
Another way Greenhome Solutions reduces the embodied energy of its products is to offer drop shipping. By bypassing their own warehouse and sending materials directly from the manufacturer to the jobsite, prices can be kept down and a product’s carbon footprint kept to a minimum. “We can drop ship most of our products anywhere in the Continental United States at super low flat rates, or even for free,” says Tyler. “That means that we can serve a customer in Florida or Washington for the same low price and reduce the number of gas-guzzling miles the product has to travel.”
With over 20 years in the construction and green real estate industries, the Reith brothers prides themselves on not only thoroughly knowing the products they sell but having first-hand experience with installation.
“We have personally tested or installed everything that we sell,” says Tyler. “If a product doesn’t meet our strict standards, then we won’t sell it.” Homeowners and contractors alike routinely turn to the Reiths and their staff for information and support before, during, and well after the time of purchase.
“For customers who want to upgrade their home but don’t have the time or the ability to do it themselves, we offer certified installation services for everything that we sell,” Tyler adds.
Giving Back to the Community
The Reith family continues to support the community in many ways. For the fourth year, they will be sponsoring the Northwest Green Home Tour, taking place from 11am to 5pm on April 26. Presented by the nonprofits NW EcoBuilding Guild and Built Green, this free event invites the public to tour sustainably built and remodeled homes in the Seattle area. (See next month’s issue of Natural Awakenings for the official tour guide.)
Greenhome Solutions will be hosting an open house on April 26, and tour goers are encouraged to stop by to claim exclusive discounts on select products. (Customers have up to 30 days to redeem.) Visitors can also look forward to giveaways and get answers to any questions they might have about green building products they might have seen on the tour.
“Homeowners are definitely becoming more aware of the impact their material choices can make on the environment, and there’s a definite shift toward wanting to do better,” says Tyler. “That’s why it’s so important to us to help make educational events like the Green Home Tour happen, so that people have the opportunity to see why choosing sustainable materials makes so much sense from so many different perspectives . . . durability, value, protecting the planet, and protecting your own family’s health.”
For more information, visit GHSproducts.com or NWGreenhomeTour.org.
An ecologically sound wonder material, bamboo grows to maturity in under six years, making it a great choice for flooring, work surfaces, and cabinetry. Greenhome Solutions carries a full range of long-lasting bamboo products from Teragren, a world-renowned company based on Bainbridge Island. Greenhome Solutions also offers Rubio Monocoat, an extremely durable, zero-VOC oil finish that keeps bamboo and hardwoods alike looking and feeling natural.
A Sea of Cork
Cork is another rapidly renewable flooring material, which is rapidly gaining popularity. Greenhome Solutions has more than 100 varieties of cork flooring to choose from, many of which can be refinished, making them extremely durable and capable of lasting a lifetime.
Photos by Derek Price
Infiniti Real Estate & Development’s Broker Eva Otto joins the discussion on the monetary value of Walkability in Jeff Speck’s new book “Walkable City.”
This excerpt is taken from Jeff Speck’s book “Walkable City.”
“Christopher Leinberger was once the owner of Robert Charles Lesser & Co., the largest real estate advisory firm in the United States, which means that he helped to build a lot of sprawl. He is now convinced that much of suburbia is poised to become “The Next Slum.”
In order to study real estate performance, Leinberger divides the American built environment into two categories: walkable urbanism and drivable sub-urbanism.* In the Detroit region, he finds that housing in walkable urbanism fetches a 40 percent price premium over similar housing in drivable sub-urbanism; in the Seattle region, that premium is 51 percent; in Denver, it’s 150 percent. New York City, unsurprisingly, tops the list at 200 percent—that is to say, people are paying three times as much per square foot for apartments in walkable neighborhoods as for comparable suburban houses. In most markets, the demand for walkable urbanism dramatically outpaces the supply: in Atlanta, only 35 percent of poll respondents who want to live in a walkable urban place are able to find and afford it.
Looking at these numbers, Leinberger concludes: The metropolitan area that does not offer walkable urbanism is probably destined to lose economic development opportunities; the creative class will gravitate to those metro areas that offer multiple choices in living arrangements.
As consumer surveys in downtown Philadelphia and Detroit in 2006 have shown, this seems to be particularly true for the well-educated, who seem to have a predilection for living in walkable urban places.
This growing demand for pedestrian-friendly places is reflected in the runaway success of Walk Score, the website that calculates neighborhood walkability.* It was started on a lark in 2007 by Matt Lerner, Mike Mathieu, and Jesse Kocher, three partners in a software company with the incongruously automotive name of Front Seat.
“I had heard a story on NPR about food miles in England—labeling food with how far it had to travel to get to you,” Lerner told me recently, “and I thought, why not instead measure house miles: how many miles from your house you had to go for daily errands.”
Addresses are ranked in five categories, with a score of 50 needed to cross the threshold from car dependent to somewhat walkable. Seventy points earns a very walkable ranking, and anything above 90 qualifies as a walker’s paradise.
Tellingly, Walk Score has become a big hit with real estate agents. Driven by their demand, the Front Seat team has recently developed Walk Score Professional, a subscription site that already boasts links from more than ten thousand other websites, most of them belonging to realtors.
I spoke with one of these agents, Eva Otto, whose face adorns a testimonial on the Walk Score homepage. She is confident that “in a place like Seattle, walkability is the make or break for some buyers. It can add 5 to 10 percent to a person’s willingness to pay for a house.”
For each property she handles, she places the Walk Score website amenity map inside the house in an obvious place. She comments that her buyers are increasingly aware of “how surprising and delightful your quality of life can be when you don’t have to get into a car to go every place in your life besides home.”
If Walk Score is so useful in helping people decide where to live, then it can also help us determine how much they value walkability. Now that it has been around for a few years, some resourceful economists have had the opportunity to study the relationship between Walk score and real estate value, and they have put a price on it: Five hundred to Three thousand dollars PER POINT.”
Check out your personal walkscore at http://www.walkscore.com
For more information on walkability or the value real estate in Contact Eva Otto at eva@infinitiRED.com