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The Future of Senior Housing is the Green

January 10, 2017

homefarm-by-spark-8-1020x610With an aging population of Baby Boomers in the USA, and aging populations in Japan and around the world, the need for senior housing is growing. That often means new construction, and in many cases developer’s are choosing to develop senior housing not only with green building practices, but also with sustainable socioeconomic factors such as combining senior housing with farming, youth rental agreements and childcare facilities. Green choices add to the health and well being of residents and sustainable, community factors add to the quality of life and happiness of residents.

What makes a senior housing facility green?

Sustainable Site – Choosing the place the building on the site to reduce disturbances to the natural habitat and soils.

Water efficiency – Reducing the amount of potable water that gets used in the building and adding water saving fixtures and features like greywater systems.

Energy efficiency – Reducing the amount of energy used in the building and attempting to maximize the use of renewable energy such as solar.

Materials & Resources – Reducing the amount of harvested resources from forests or mines in building construction and using salvaged materials or materials made from post-consumer waste and recycling.

Indoor environmental air-quality – Improve the indoor air quality of a building by providing proper ventilation and reducing the amount of building materials that have been treated with chemicals that continue to off-gas long after the building is constructed.

Innovation in design – Embellishing buildings with good design, innovation and art.

Walkability – Choosing a site that is close to other amenities so that residents can continue a healthy lifestyle of walking to the store, a cafe, or library.

Community/ Healthy Living Style – Fostering community and promoting activities that bring seniors together such as gardening, farming, exercise, dance, cooking and many other forms of intergenerational interaction.jenvironment_image_06

In Washington State, senior facilities are already beginning to focus on sustainability for their residents. The Green Village Retirement community in Federal Way, offers eco-friendly choices to it’s residents and promotes a natural way of living. They recycle, maintain a large lush grounds for residents to enjoy and provide individual gardens to each of the residents to promote health and wellness.g2

“From the beginning, we have focused on creating a breathtaking natural setting, and ensuring that our practices are as eco-friendly as possible – offering sustainability, and promoting a healthy green lifestyle.”

In Japan, planning for senior housing is a new concept, one that strives to incorporate seniors into multi-generational living. Senior housing is found in newer developments and construction. For example, to promote urban development to help Japan fulfill its commitment to tackling challenges for the future of the world Kashiwa-no-ha Smart City was formulated. The entire city will focus on energy savings and conservation, urban farming, CO2 Reduction, renewable energy, and sustainable design. Kashiwa-no-ha promotes health and wellness programs, the use of technology for monitoring health and health stations for residents to primarily focus on preventative medicine.

In 2016 Inhabitat reported on a visionary Homefarm concept that takes the best of urban sustainability and design and combines it with senior housing.3

“Architecture firm SPARK unveiled Homefarm, a visionary design that tackles food security and elder care challenges in one fell swoop. Presented at the World Architecture Festival, the conceptual proposal combines urban retirement housing with vertical urban farming into a live-farm typology that’s beautiful, productive, and empowering for its residents. In addition to its aquaponic vertical farming system, the eco-conscious Homefarm also includes a roof garden, fruits and vegetable marketplace, and biomass power plant.”5


This concept was in part developed to address Singapore’s growing aging population, and includes apartments up to four bedrooms to allow for the tradition of multi-generational housing. The farms are to help the seniors maintain an active life, where they can part a community, and protect against depression, dementia as well as promote self-esteem and worth. “Spark director Stephen Pimbley told Dezeen. The vertical farm also addresses food security in a country where 90 percent of food is imported. Spark hopes to build the first Homefarm in Kuala Lumpur by 2018, with plans to build additional units in Singapore and other Asian cities.”


Another trend in senior housing in both the US and Europe is to invite college aged students to live with seniors to eliminate or reduce their housing fees. Many students are struggling to get by, and having subsidized housing and interaction with seniors, they report is a huge benefit. in NYC, Cleveland and many countries in Europe such as Finland.

Cohousing is another sustainable green model for seniors. LivingCohusing SL put this conceptual video together in Spanish to show the viability of leaving a solitary life of aging for a community life. Very cool!

For more information about Green Living or Green Senior Living contact Eva Otto at




Lunch & Learn Real Estate Series

October 20, 2016

seminar hub.jpg

Woodinville Modern Retrofit with Eco-Friendly Udpates

September 20, 2016


001This classic 1977 modern Woodinville home stands proud on a shy acre. Soaring ceilings and light-filled windows look out to a beautiful fenced backyard with hazelnut, apple & pear trees along with berry, veggie & garden beds. Solid construction updated with eco/energy efficiency upgrades. This serene property is close to nature trails, outstanding Woodinville schools, major employers & transit hubs.

3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, home: 2900 ft, lot: 38,000 sf
Offered at $599,950.

JOIN OUR OPEN HOUSE SAT 9/17 & SUN 9/18 11-2pm
19086 194th Ave NE, Woodinville 98077 MLS#1029692

Contact listing agents, or for a tour.






Private Retreat in Bellevue

July 27, 2016


JOIN OUR OPEN HOUSE SATURDAY July 30th 11am-2pm and SUNDAY July 31st 12noon-3pm

13610 NE 48th Place, Bellevue 98005

Just listed secluded home on a private lane in excellent Bellevue location.

Smartly updated w/new roof, carpet, tile, new paint in & out makes this move-in ready.

Open living spaces with vaulted ceilings, large windows and skylights connect you to the beautiful landscaping. A bright kitchen w/SS appliances looks out onto the entertainment sized deck. The large master suite includes a sitting area & fireplace, new granite, tile shower, large walk-in closet and extensive built-in cabinetry/storage. 3 car garage. Bellevue Schools & close to Bridle Trails Park and Microsoft.

For more information contact Chris Barnes @



Just Listed! Beautiful Kitsap Estate

June 22, 2016



Flexible living in a spectacular 2.6 acres setting. Smartly designed and updated, expertly crafted with custom details throughout. The 4 bedroom/4 bath main house has 2 masters, 2 kitchens, multiple offices, a gym/artist’s studio, plus a 2+ car garage and plenty of extra storage. Check out the additional income-producing 2 bedroom/ 2 bath attached living quarters & large heated shop. This home is like no other! Close to Poulsbo and Kingston & Bainbridge Ferries. Envision the possibilities. 

$699,950  MLS#948253

6353 NE Gratitude Wy, Poulsbo 98370

For more information contact Chris Barnes at



Just Listed! Modern Cape Cod Home in the Heart of the Magnolia Village

April 27, 2016



2137 34th Ave W. Seattle, WA 98199

This coveted Magnolia Village location is steps from parks, pools and pubs. A solid home with high-end upgrades such as an open floor plan, hardwood floors, paperstone countertops, and updated modern baths. Private patio in large fence  backyard, lush landscaping, established cedar and cherry trees, and walkable location make this home perfect for the active Seattle lifestyle. Minutes from downtown, 99, Queen Anne, Ballard. Great SPS.

MLS#932941     3 bedrooms| 1.75 bath  1450 sf

For more information contact Susi Musi at 206-214-5468 or email



Co-Hollow: Building Community in Lake City

April 19, 2016


Working towards a common goal to live well and build community

In today’s increasingly hot real estate environment, looking for alternatives to single family home buying is a must. Many families are getting priced out of stand-alone single family homes and have had to adjust their expectations to include zero-lot line townhomes and condos.  This is especially true for first time home buyers and buyers looking in core areas of Seattle and the Eastside.   So what options do people have when they want to purchase a single family home and keep their costs down in this rapidly appreciating market?  One such option is currently under construction in NE Seattle.Co Hollow 2 copy

Homeowner & builder Carl Lind came up with the idea over a decade ago to develop a small community of green homes in his neighborhood of Lake City.  Carl and his wife Susan teamed up with their friends Jonathan and Melanie Nuefeld who bought half their property with the intention of redeveloping the one single family residence they shared into a mix of homes that gave them each their own single family unit and met their lifestyle goals for shared community.   Many folks dream of building a house with a group of friends or family, but few can put that dream into action. Lind had experience in project management and construction, and he was able to develop a design for the lot at a budget that would be affordable. Lind hired Matt Wasse of Shugart Wasse Wickwire to help them redesign the property to include 4 stand-alone 3 bedroom/3 bath homes with large shared gardens and outdoor spaces that enhance livability and community.  The homes will all meet 4-Star Built-Green standards.

Co Hollow 1 copyTaking inspiration from permaculture design principles, Lind wanted the homes to perform multiple functions.  In that spirit, each home is designed with a lower level suite that can be used as part of the home or managed as a separate ADU or Mother-in-Law unit (for 8 total units).  This builds in resiliency for the community to grow and also allows flexibility for the home owners’ living circumstances.

In addition to promoting the broad concepts of increased density, intentional community, and resiliency, Lind made sure that sustainability remained a priority as design decisions were made.  Sustainable elements include heat recovery ventilators, high-efficiency heat pumps, super-insulated walls, reclaimed materials, Energy Star appliances, no-VOC paint, rain gardens, and electric vehicle charging.

Co Hollow 4

Two of the four units will be available for sale in the summer 2016.  The homeowner welcomes anyone interested in living in a green home and working towards a common goal to live well and build community to stop by and visit during the Green Home Tour!  12014 33rd Avenue NE – Seattle, WA – 98125


If you have any questions about this property or other Green Home Tour properties, please contact Eva Otto or Chris Barnes or visit our website