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2 Passive Houses in Seattle opened for tours

Two high-performance Washington homes opened their doors to the general public on Friday as part of International Passive House Days, a worldwide open house event from Friday, November 13 through Sunday, November 15.

image001Project Name: Palatine Passive
Type: Single-family home
Location: 8713 Palatine Ave N in Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood
Open: Today, Friday, Nov. 13, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Note: Visitors are asked to remove shoes at the door.
Contact: Tiffany Bowie, Malboeuf Bowie Architecture,

Project Name: Park Passive
Type: Single-family home
Open: today, Friday, Nov. 13, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Location: 4211 E Lee Street in Seattle’s Madison Park neighborhood
Contact: Sloan Ritchie, Cascade Built,
Note: Visitors are asked to remove shoes at the door.

Affordable, comfortable, environmentally friendly—the Passive House embodies the best in sustainable construction. Typically, buildings meeting the Passive House Standard use 80 to 90 percent less energy for heating and cooling, savings far greater than any other building standard delivers. For details on the schedule for each home, consult the listings below. All tours are free. Visitors may come anytime during the listed hours unless otherwise noted.

In conjunction with International Passive House Days, Earth Advantage, a Portland-based nonprofit focused on creating better buildings, will teach the Building Science Fundamentals module of its Sustainable Home Professional training series on Friday, November 13 and Saturday, November 14. Class members will tour some of the open Passive Houses. For more information and registration, visit

International Passive House Days is sponsored by the following organizations:

Earth Advantage:
International Passive House Association:
North American Passive House Network:
Passive House Northwest:

Information on Passive House buildings worldwide is available through the Passive House Database:

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Don’t Miss Washington’s Energy Future Conference


Don’t Miss Washington’s Energy Future Conference
with Keynote Speaker Governor Jay Inslee,
Nov. 2 in Seattle.
Seattle Airport Marriott

Presented by Northwest Environmental Business Council (NEBC) and the Washington Department of Commerce

The Conference for Those Building the Clean Energy Economy

Now in its sixth year, this conference is the State’s signature clean energy event, bringing together members of the energy industry, energy policy & economic development leaders, project hosts, and users of energy services.

Included within this one conference are:

  • Policy & Economic Development
    Looking at the current context for clean energy, and how Washington can continue on its leadership path in the face of changing market dynamics.
  • The Business of Renewable Energy
    Advancing the professional level of the industry with discussions on the market and nuts-and-bolts issues related to energy project development.
  • The Business of Energy Efficiency
    Exploring how to increase the penetration of energy efficiency through policy, finance, and market
  • Energy Technology Innovation
    A look at the leading edge of clean energy technologies.

Presented by the Northwest Environmental Business Council (NEBC) and the Washington Dept. of Commerce.

Full information & registration
here or at

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There’s gold in your gray water

An inside look at the rainwater capture system's holding tank

An inside look at the rainwater capture system’s holding tank

Along with a new age of sustainability comes new interest in gray water recycling and rainwater capture systems.  These systems capture water from your house’s bathroom sinks, showers and rainfall then reuse it to irrigate the lawn and flush the toilets.

The engineering behind the effort can be tricky, but in the simplest terms it goes like this: water from the “gray water sources” gravity-flows into a collection basin. A pump in the basin then pushes the water through a filter and disinfection array and into a storage tank.  The water in the storage tank is periodically circulated to keep it clear and bacteria-free. Finally, a pressure controlled pump automatically delivers recycled water to your irrigation system when your irrigation timer activates. It’s simplistically complex.

Whether on a household level or a commercial level, many have decided to invest in the water conservation effort.  Gray water recycling and rainwater capture systems can save 50 to 70 percent of a family’s monthly water usage. You’ll save that same 50 to 70 percent on your water bill.

How much does it cost to install? Do-it-yourself systems start at $3,500.  Systems for average sized homes start at $11,000.

To learn more, visit

A small, home-installed system

A small, home-installed system



A 10,000 gallon holding tank for a rainwater capture system being buried underground at the Santa Monica Library


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How to prepare for the LEED exam

The following post is by Jess Foster:

iStock_000063149081_DoubleCongratulations on your decision to pursue a LEED Credential. These are the most sought after credentials in the green building industry by employers. A new study by Burning Glass Technologies shows that demand for LEED Green Associates and LEED APs has grown 46% in the last 12 months, so you’ve picked a great time to join in on this growing marketing need.

Your next step is to prepare for the LEED Exam. Here are some basic things you should know before selecting an exam prep program or materials:

1. Decide which credential exam to pursue:
There are several credentials you can earn based on your profession and your goals in the green building industry. I recommend looking at the USGBC site (the creator of LEED) or resources prepared by their recognized Education Partners like GBRI. Make sure to download the candidate handbook to understand eligibility requirements, registration and scheduling details.

2. Decide whether to study by yourself or sign up for an exam prep course:
Studying on your own can be challenging given the amount of material covered on these exams. Or, you can sign up for a LEED prep course. A quick Google search will show plenty of paid exam prep providers. Make sure the provider you choose is approved by USGBC or are USGBC Education Partners.

3. Choose an exam prep provider and course style:
Depending on your availability and schedule, there are several ways to prepare. There are live online classes where you attend for a month or so; on-demand only access courses where you watch sessions at your own pace; and in-person classes where an instructor teaches at a physical location. Make a selection that is right for you and your situation.Since the new LEED v4 test was released recently, you should carefully make a selection when registering for an exam prep program. An ideal exam prep course will include:

  • Narrated study materials/tutorial with option to download audio files
  • A study guide that you can print
  • Flash cards
  • Section or category quizzes (look for quizzes with answer explanations)
  • Simulated Mock Exams (at least two)

4. Study-study-study:
I recommend studying in a group or with a partner if you can. Finding someone to study with for your exam has many benefits. Some exam prep providers also provide group discounts, making it easier for your colleagues to join you in the pursuit of a credential. If you do chose to study independently with the support of a providers prep program, you’ll want to have a roadmap or plan to ensure you are staying on track and are covering all the material efficiently. Some USGBC Education Partners programs will include a recommended roadmap for you, taking even more of the guesswork out of studying.

5. Take MOCK exams:
Make sure you are completely prepared leading up to your LEED exam by using a trusted provider’s mock exams. This is your best gauge to ensure you will successfully pass the exam on your first try. This also gives you a targeted way to complete your studies and preparations based on the areas you find you are most lacking in during the mock exams. Once you successfully pass the mock exams you can feel confident going into the real thing.

Author Bio:
Jess Foster, GBRI Blog writer, studied history at Furman University, where she encountered the concepts of green living and sustainability for the first time. In her leisure time, she enjoys photographing the wildlife in her backyard and playing with her two Shetland sheepdogs.

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New earthwork blooms at 1250 Denny


“ALL RISE’s 2421 Miles,” is a new site-specific 52,000-square-foot earthwork by New York artist Molly Dilworth at 1250 Denny Way, the future site of Seattle City Light’s Denny Substation.

The Seattle Office of Arts & Culture says it uses over 400 cubic yards of dirt and 182 pounds of wildflower and grass seed to create a living “urban meadow.” There are 14 individual garden beds, each with a specific colorway.

The work is based on pattern studies from national flags, corporate logos and traditional patterns found along the sea trade route between Seattle and New York.

The city said Dilworth has traveled between New York and Seattle as a freelance worker for a global technology company. The work is named for that commute – the number of miles between the airports of Seattle and New York – made possible by modern global trade.

The Office of Arts & Culture said in a press release:

“As shipping and port technologies evolved over the last century, formerly industrial areas such as South Lake Union have been redeveloped. In a short time this lot on Denny will be a power station serving the demands of the new buildings; ALL RISE has used this temporary space to mark a transition between the last century and ours. The geometric edges of the garden will soften and evolve as it grows, just as our built environment and technologies do: imperceptibly, right in front of our eyes and seemingly all at once.

“The project was realized with the design assistance of Walker Macy (Portland and Seattle) as well as expertise and custom mixes from ProTime Lawn Seed, and the advice of SunMark Seeds.

ALL RISE is a series of temporary artworks at 1250 Denny Way. The goal is to provide a platform for artists to consider “the many iterations of land and space: residential, political, commercial, agricultural, spiritual, intellectual, utopian.” It is funded by Seattle City Light 1% for Art funds, and administered by the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture.

The project will stay through mid-June. You can view online webcams at

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