DJC Green Building Blog Covering green building issues in Seattle and around the Pacific Northwest

Want to be a green reality TV star?

Posted on June 24, 2009

Have you ever watched Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and thought to yourself, "Wow. That TV show sure is using a lot of resources. That aren't green. Or environmentally friendly?"

Well, ReGeneration Productions is aiming to create a reality television show for you, dear reader. It's called Sustain the Rain and it's being billed as "Seattle's first sustainability

Rose Thornton
makeover television show."

Doesn't sound like your cup of TV? Maybe you're just imagining this from the wrong side of the fence. It turns out the TV show, which is the brainchild of Rose Thornton, pictured at right, is also seeking a host for the show and expert consultants.

Here is what the show is looking for: a green business consultant, a green transportation consultant, a green chef/food consultant, a green interior home consultant, a green exterior home consultant, a Pacific Northwest outdoors consultant and a green personal care consultant.

Everyone involved in the show must be well connected to Seattle's environmental community, able to donate evening and weekend time during a pilot shoot this July and August, comfortable in front of a camera and passionate about the environment.

Sound like you? Then you need to e-mail Rose at to receive an extended list of qualifications. You also need to sign up to audition for a part. Auditions are this Saturday between 10:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. in the meeting room of the Greenwood Branch of Seattle Public Library, 8016 Greenwood Ave. N. Audition time slots last 15 minutes. Those auditioning for consultant spots must prepare a two to five minute description of how to "make-over" a lifestyle choice in your area of expertise.

Here's to being a green movie star!

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Holy recycling Batman! Could these shoes be for real?

Posted on February 13, 2009
Being green all the way down to your toes!

Being green all the way down to your toes!

Ok. So they're not  really green buildings.... but they're green shoes!

This footwear, worn deliciously by my DJC co-worker Laura, is by Simple Shoes. And they simply seem to have everything. They're made of recycled inner tubes and car tires, organic cotton, 100 percent post consumer paper pulp and they come in a box that was 100 percent recycled. The suede is also from an "environmentally proactive supportive tannery," whatever that means. 

They look comfy, come in numerous colors, are stylin' and reuse numerous materials.  Oh, and in case you're wondering, the company also has vegan shoes.

Simple shoes can be bought at our local Seattle Nordstroms. Now if only Nordstrom's could make energy efficiency cool.....

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Ah, the story of stuff

Posted on February 9, 2009

On my last post, commenter Webb, mentioned something spectacular: the story of stuff. And I realized that despite my good intentions, I have not yet posted this

Courtesy The Story of Stuff

Courtesy The Story of Stuff

delightful video on my blog. Most likely, if you're a real sustainably-minded person (or one of the 4 million viewers), you've already seen it.

But if not........

Go here on your lunch break. It takes about a half hour to watch but is well worth the time.

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How big is your “ecological footprint” – and what is it anyway?

Posted on August 25, 2008

Sometimes, I get really cool things in my in-box. The Earth Day Network Ecological Footprint Calculator is one of those things.

The calculator, created by the Global Footprint Network and launched today, measures how many planets it would smallcow.jpgtake to sustain your lifestyle. Like most calculators, you go through a series of questions, pick the answers that fit your lifestyle and watch the results come in. But there are two things that set this calculator apart from the pack: the interactivity and the measurement of an ecological footprint.

First the interactivity. Maybe it's because I grew up in a world of video games but if a tool like this is fun as opposed to bland, I'm a lot more likely to pay attention. And this tool is fun. First, you get to design an avatar (mine had blue spiky hair), and then you get to watch the avatar's world change as you enter choices that correspond to your life. Fun, no?

Second, and more importantly, the ecological footprint. Most calculators out there measure a person's carbon footprint. But how much carbon you generate is only part of your impact as a human being. A carbon measurement doesn't count more esoteric things like how much meat you eat, where you get it and how that affects your impact on the world. 

The ecological footprint, on the other hand, creates a full picture and represents the overall human demand on nature; it compares human consumption with what it takes to regenerate natural resources.

Using this idea, the calculator measures how many planets it would take if the rest of the world lived like you. It's a really visual way of seeing how much you impact the world... versus seeing a large number that you don't really understand. For example, even though I recycle everything, almost always carpool, live in an urban environment etc. etc., if all the world lived like me it would apparently take 3.8 planets. And the majority of that (46 percent) is in services. That surprised me. 

bedzed.jpgThe idea of measuring your impact by planets, then decreasing it, is the push behind One Planet Communities and BioRegional, the groups that brought the world BedZed (at left), one of England's poster children for sustainable living. I wrote about BedZed and One Planet Living in December here in the DJC. According to their numbers, it would take 5.3 planets if the rest of the world lived like the United States does.

There are plans in the works to create One Planet Communities across the world, for more visit

The calculator also offers suggestions after you're done on what you can do to decrease your result, and lets you change your choices so you can see what exactly affected the final total.  

Though it's fun, I don't know how they calculate their numbers and can't comment on whether the amounts are accurate or not. If you have a favorite calculator that you like better than this one, or can comment on the accuracy of the numbers used, please share your information below. New resources are always appreciated.

More info on the calculator at Plime here.

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Penguin gets knighted, Gerding Edlen moves closer to San Diego center and other news

Posted on August 15, 2008

There's a lot of news out there people. But possibly the most entertaining thing in my in-box doesn't have to do with green materials or green buildings.... it revolves around a penguin.

penguin.jpgThe Environmental News Network reports that Norway has knighted a king penguin named Niles Olav. Sir Niles Olav is the third penguin to serve as the mascot of the King's Guard. The first mascot penguin was chosen in 1972, and named after then-King Olav V. Sir Niles Olav (the penguin) lives in the Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland and was promoted from regimental sergeant major to honorary colonel-in-chief in 2005. Just think, I never knew a penguin could be a knight! For more on this, click here.

In other (green building) news, Portland Architecture reports that Houston developer Hines has withdrawn from the competition for the San Diego city hall project, leaving the door wide open for Gerding Edlen and ZGF, though it doesn't guarantee them the job. For more on the project, click tag 'Gerding Edlen' below or click here.

tinyhouse1.jpgJetson Green reports on a Yale grad school student who built her own tiny house that is off the grid. The home will cost about $11,000, is 8' x 18', and has a sleeping loft, storage loft, study nook, kitchen area, living area and bathroom.  For more, click here.

And Landscape + Urbanism has some awesome photos of green rooftops in NYC. For more, click here.

Happy news hunting! (penguin photo courtesy of ENN. Tiny house courtesy of Stephen Dunn, via Jetson Green). 

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8 ways to an eco-friendly Independence Day

Posted on June 30, 2008

It's Monday and already my mind is on Friday because it's that dashingly loud holiday called FOURTH OF JULY!

smallerspace.jpgBut today I found another reason to think about the holiday, due to an article in my inn box from the Environmental News Network called, '8 ways to green your independence day' by Earth 911.

Greening your Fourth of July? The idea seems outlandish and obvious at the same time, but the article's suggestions aren't.

Here are some of the article's (shortened) ideas:

Celebrate outside to save energy

Drink lots of water in large containers. Water will keep you hydrated and using reusable containers will prevent lots of plastic water bottles from ending up in a landfill.

Check to make sure the beach you want to go to is open before you go so you don't waste gas (FYI all beaches in the city of Seattle are open and awaiting your sun bathing self!)

Use eco-friendly fireworks. Apparently they exist ... if you want to find them search for fireworks rich in nitrogen. For more, see the article.

Do you have a Fourth of July suggestion? How about a fourth of July green building suggestion? Mine would be use fireworks far away from buildings so they don't catch on fire and cause unnecessary rebuilding. Pretty good for an off the cuff idea, hmm?

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