Tag Archives: Green Homes

Tour Bellingham’s Award-Winning Green Home!

Bellingham now has a new award to add to its list! The Holcomb House in Bellingham’s Fairhaven neighborhood, built by Aiki Homes, won 2010’s Green Home Award in the Western Washington Custom Home category.

Built and certified using a Built Green checklist, the Holcomb House competed against other green homes from Western Washington, all designed for health, safety, energy efficiency, and sustainability.

Criteria for judging green homes included energy performance, materials used, low impact to surrounding enviroment, construction techniques, craftsmanship, design, and minimal construction waste generation, according to the Herald.

To tour the Holcomb Home at 1123 17th St. in Fairhaven, make sure to mark your calendars for a free tour from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, May 16.

Conduct your own energy audit for your Northwest home!

Here are some ways to make your Pacific Northwest home greener and less expensive…


Do-it-yourself home energy audits are a great way to save money and reduce your carbon footprint… best of all, it’s free! Here’s a list we found over at The Daily Green that will help you find the easiest and most effective ways to save some cash and the environment.

1. Open your energy bill and really look at it. Bills are fairly high up there on the list of mail we don’t like getting, but energy bills especially can hold helpful information about when you use the most energy, and how much you’re paying. Once you review costs each month, you’ll start noticing patterns that can be helpful in reducing your overall usage during peak months.

2. Find air leaks in your home. If you’ve got air leaks, you’ve got an energy efficiency problem (reduced by 5-30% per year). Where to look? Places where two building materials meet (corners, chimneys, where pipes or wires pass through walls, along the foundation). Check the insulation in your attic and make sure it’s still in good shape (not crumbly or compacted). Make sure your water pipes, furnace ducts, and exterior walls are all insulated appropriately so you keep the Pacific Northwest winter out, and your cozy heat in.

3. Check out your heating and cooling. Check furnace filters (which usually need to be changed every month or two during winter months) and change them if dirty. Clean dust and dirt from central air conditioning and vents. Close vents in rooms you don’t use often — no need to heat an empty room.

4. Swap out energy-hog appliances for less wasteful models. For about $20, you can get a handy little device called a Kill-A-Watt. It plugs into any outlet, and when you plug in your appliance, the Kill-A-Watt will tell you how much energy this appliance uses — and more importantly, how much this appliance is costing you per month. Not a bad little household helper.

If you find an appliance that’s costing you an arm and a leg to operate, you should consider an upgrade to a newer model that’s Energy-Star certified.

6. Unplug it! EIGHT PERCENT of our annual electric bills are due to electronics that are plugged in, but not turned on, such as TV’s, stereos, cell phone chargers, etcetera. Unplug it if you’re not using it, or, for best convenience, plug regularly-used items into a power strip and simply switch it off when items aren’t in use.

7. Examine your lighting. High-wattage bulbs can easily be switched out for CFL’s, which are cheaper in the long run and often are subsidized by Puget Sound Energy via an instant rebate at several Northwest retailers. Start with the bulbs you use most often and work your way down, so you’re not overwhelmed at the initial investment. Get rid of halogen lamps, which consume loads of energy. Outside, motion detectors can work wonders for your energy usage, since the lights are only on when someone is around.

8. After make changes, take another look at your bill in a few months. If you’re not seeing much of a difference, it may be worth it to take a second look, or hire the pros to come out and find what you may have missed.

Conducting your own energy audivt may not be your most exciting Saturday of all time, but it will pay off, both for your Pacific Northwest home and your wallet. To find Green Homes in Whatcom County, contact me or view featured Northwest Green Properties.

Photo Credit: CL

Green Update: Pacific Northwest Named a Surprising Place for Solar Power

daisiesThe Daily Green recently posted an article discussing the benefits of utilizing solar power. Though recent economic troubles have slowed the transition to more earth-friendly power sources in businesses and homes in The Pacific Northwest and the rest of the U.S., TDG says the future is still bright for alternative energy.

Though solar power is extremely popular in places like California and Florida for obvious reasons, research out of Seattle-based Cooler Planet suggests that, while major factors such as availability of sun, social and political values, income and local incentives impact the number of homes using solar power, there are also some big surprises in the mix.

At the top of their list of surprises: Washington State, where — let’s face it — the lush green landscape is gorgeous, but sunshine isn’t exactly the main draw.  “While the Evergreen State does have a concentration of progressive, tech-savvy and green-leaning folks in the Seattle area and Bellingham, it’s interesting to note that interest in solar power is still fairly strong in rural areas and, to a lesser extent, the eastern part of the state, where incomes are much lower.”  People are catching on to the fact that the benefits of solar power aren’t limited to the sunniest locales.

If you’re interested in a greener home, keep checking back for our Green Updates each month here at LiveInThePacificNW.com.  Also, if you’re ready to make changes, but not sure where to start, check out Cooler Planet.  Their goal is to match interested homeowners and businesses with a network of pre-screened green professionals, and their services are free.  “Over time, we aim to provide you all the tools and resources you need to reduce the carbon footprint of your home, your business, and your life.”

Feel free to browse our Pacific Northwest Green Home listings on our Pacific Northwest Real Estate website!

Other helpful links:

Green Updates

The Daily Green

Cooler Earth

10 Ways to Prep Your Pacific Northwest Home for a Greener Winter (Part 2)


Remember, “Green” Doesn’t Mean “Expensive”!

In many cases, changing your Pacific Northwest home for the greener isn’t very expensive, and will actually SAVE you money in the long run. Here are a few more ways to make your Pacific Northwest winter a warmer, less expensive one, with minimal investment of time and money:

6. Exchange your regular lightbulbs for Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs, or CFL’s, which consume 75% less energy and last about 10 times longer than traditional lightbulbs. In some cases, Puget Sound Energy offers an instant rebate when you buy your lightbulbs through certain Northwest Washington retailers (such as Costco), making them even more affordable!

7. Get a programmable thermostat. They’re a small investment that will make a HUGE difference in your heating bill, making sure you’re not heating your home when no one is around.

8. Take a few hours on a Saturday to fill those air leaks around your windows and doorways. We don’t often think about it, but leaks are like a window cracked open all winter long.

9. Use water wisely: insulate your water heater, install efficient shower heads, and put aerators in your faucets to heat water efficiently and use it more conservatively.

10. Weatherize your older single-pane windows or replace them with double-pane energy efficient windows. Though replacing them is a significantly larger investment, they’ll save you money long-term and energy tax-credits can help.

Help for Pacific Northwest Home Sellers

If you’re a homeowner looking to sell your Pacific Northwest home, we can help! Our Free Pacific Northwest Home Evaluation will give you the informative tools you need to make your home greener and more attractive to home buyers. Contact us to receive a Free Pacific Northwest Home Sellers’ Guide – let us help make your home-selling experience an enjoyable one!

10 Ways to Prep Your Pacific Northwest Home for a Greener Winter (Part 1)


Those of us lucky enough to live in Whatcom County sure enjoyed our lengthened summer courtesy of September’s gorgeous weather, but it’s mid-October now and blustery Autumn is here! All you have to do is look outside your window at the bright red and yellow leaves, and you know Winter isn’t far off (and with it, winter heating bills)!

Pacific Northwest communities are known for their commitment to greener living, and there’s no better time to think about “greening” your own Northwest Washington home than Autumn. You can make small, inexpensive changes now that will yield big benefits all through the colder winter months, and you’ll be doing Mother Nature a big favor, too.

Small Changes Make a Big Difference in Your Whatcom, Skagit, Island, or San Juan County Home!

Here are a few tips from the “Stuff Your Mother Always Told You” category (and they’re free):

1. Make it a habit to turn off the lights when you leave a room.

2. Put on a sweater or slippers when you feel cold, rather than immediately cranking up the thermostat.

3. Unplug phone chargers, etc., when they’re not in use. Even idle chargers consume energy when they’re plugged in.

4. Wash your clothes in cold water. There are some great earth-friendly cold-water detergents in the organic/natural foods section of nearly any grocery store.

5. Eat food that’s in-season. Often you can find these foods locally-grown at your farmers market.

Check back later this week for more great Green Winter tips in Part 2!