The Northwest Green Home Tour is a free annual event, co-produced by the Northwest EcoBuilding Guild and Built Green, that showcases local, sustainable and green new homes, remodels, and energy retrofits in the greater Seattle area. The 2014 event took place on April 26. Join our mailing list to receive updates on the 2015 tour.


Announcing the Winners of the 2014 NW Green Home Tour Site Awards

We had a great post-tour wrap-up party at Hale's Palladium last week, where we announced the winners of the first-annual NW Green Home Tour Site Awards. There were so many great sites this year, and the competition was fierce. Congrats to all of our winners!

Most Visited Site
Winner: Drinking Rainwater in Ballard, Bristow Enterprises, Kim Mulligan (233 visitors)
Runner Up: 106 Year Old Net Zero Craftsman, Puget Sound Solar (191 visitors)

Visitors' Favorite
Winner: Beach Drive, Neiman Taber Architects, Heartwood Builders
Runners Up: Home Reclaimed by Ninebark Design Build, Seward Park Deep Green Remodel by Opperman and Others, Drinking Rainwater in Ballard by Bristow Enterprises and Kim Mulligan, and Historic House Deep Green Remodel by Velocipede Architects and Sunshine Construction

Audience Choice Award
Winner: Lifestream Backyard Cottage by Lifestream Designs
Runner Up: Baker Cottage by Kate Wells-Driscoll


The 2014 Tour Was a Great Big Green Success

It's a wrap! The 2014 NW Green Home Tour took place last Saturday, April 26, and by all accounts, it was a big success. Our heartfelt and enthusiastic thanks to the 70+ volunteers, 35+ site hosts, 20+ sponsors, and homeowners for making it happen. Most of all, thanks to you and the 1,000+ other visitors who came out to learn about green building and enjoy the sunny weather.

If you took the tour, we'd love to hear your feedback. Please take a quick survey and vote for your favorite site. For the first time ever, we'll be giving awards to the most popular sites, so, if you toured a truly special home, please make sure it gets the recognition it deserves by casting your vote.

Be sure to check out our photo album, which is growing every day. If you took photos of your own, we'd love it if you could upload them to the album as well. Also, check our Facebook page for other photos and updates. And if you haven't already, please consider joining our mailing list so we can let you know when we have details about next year's tour.

From all of us involved, thank you again for your enthusiasm and curiosity about green building. Over the past four years, many visitors have reported that they've applied what they learned on the tour to their own homes and projects or passed along information to friends and neighbors. We hope you'll do the same. 

A few initial comments

"We can’t play back a movie of the entire day, but if we could it would be magical. Thank you, thank you, for your help in making it all happen, and continuing on from here!" –Dana West, King County RainWise Program

"We had an incredible turnout at the Burke-Gilman house yesterday. There were lots of good questions and a huge interest in anything green as well as custom design and architecture. . . . Hats off to a job well done!" –Dan Stettler, Stettler Design

Be sure to add your own voice . . . 

Take the Survey

Getting RainWise in South Seattle

In Seattle, heavy rains can overwhelm the city’s combined sanitary and storm water pipes. This can cause a mix of raw sewage and polluted storm water runoff to overflow into the Puget Sound and surrounding waterways.

Thankfully, rain gardens and cisterns (think super-size rain barrels) can help address this problem. RainWise, a program of the city of Seattle and King County, offers substantial rebates to homeowners who install rain gardens and cisterns.

Attendees of this Saturday’s Green Home Tour will have the opportunity to see what these earth-friendly solutions to Seattle’s storm water runoff problem look like at two RainWise Sustainability Stops in South and West Seattle, hosted by local nonprofits.

Stop 11: Highland Park – A Gathering Place Goes Green

In West Seattle’s Highland Park, the nonprofit Sustainable Seattle is working with the Highland Park Improvement Club to help beautify the property and remove unnecessary pavement to prepare areas for community green spaces.

“With these transformations, HPIC serves as a demonstration site and educational opportunity for the surrounding neighborhoods,” says Hannah Kett, Sustainable Seattle’s Neighborhood Program Manger. “The community is encouraged to take an active part in this project and learn about the impact they can make at home. It’s exciting to see so many getting involved!”

Stop 12: South Park – A Walkable RainWise Village

In the South Park neighborhood, the Environmental Coalition of South Seattle (ECOSS) is providing tours and information in Spanish, Vietnamese, and Cambodian, as well as games and activities for all ages, and specialty foods and music reflecting the cultural heritage of South Park residents. Tour goers can start the tour at the “RainWise village green” in a block that includes rain gardens, refreshments, and indoor activities at the South Park Neighborhood Center. Visitors can walk, bike or drive on a short self-guided tour to explore how residential and community rain gardens (some located in urban farms) and RainWise cisterns are helping to control urban storm water runoff.

Elizabeth Louden, assistant director at ECOSS, says she “hopes many folks will have a chance to come see the diverse rain gardens and cisterns that residents have already set up and get inspired to get involved in making their own rain garden." 

At both of these neighborhood Sustainability Stops, visitors will enjoy food, fun learning activities, and the chance to meet RainWise contractors who install cisterns and rain gardens. They can also take mini self-guided tours of installed RainWise rain gardens. Visitors can even find out if they are eligible for a RainWise rebate for a rain garden or cistern of their own.

Learn more about RainWise here

Free Workshops & Activities During the Tour

Not only can you tour 47 homes and Sustainability Stops during the tour, but there will be many other opportunities for learning and exploring this Saturday.

Clearwater Commons Workshops

Learn about incorporating reclaimed wood into your home, installing an electric vehicle charging station, building on pin foundations, and more. More info

Feet First Walking Tour

Join Feet First for a moderately-paced 5.1 mile walk through parts of the Fremont, Phinney Ridge, and Greenwood neighborhoods, connecting six NW Green Home Tour sites. We’ll spend 15-20 minutes at each site. Meet at Hale’s Ales in Ballard, located at 4301 Leary Way NW 98107, at 11:00am. The walk will last about 4 hours with stops included. Participants have the option of taking the bus back to Hale’s Ales after the last stop in Phinney Ridge. Hale’s Ales is readily accessible by Metro bus routes 28 and 40. More info

Kenmore City Hall Exhibitor Fair

Meet the designers of Kenmore City Hall, tree-care experts, green-property realtors, stone fabricators, North Shore Utility district reps, and Kenmore librarians, and learn about Bastyr University's LEED Platinum student housing. More info

21 Acres Tours & Farm Market

Tours are available in the building throughout the day. You can also take a self-guided tour of the farm and grounds. Vendors and community representatives will be on hand from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. to demonstrate and showcase building features and additional ‘green’ resources. The 21 Acres Farm Market will be open with seasonal, organic produce, local farm products and ‘food-to-go’ from our Chef and the kitchen team.  More info

Highland Park Gathering

Self-guided tours of selected King County/SPU RainWise rain gardens and cistern installations will highlight how HPIC’s green transformation is spreading into the neighborhood. Visitors can enjoy food, fun learning activities, and the chance to meet RainWise contractors who install cisterns and rain gardens. More info

South Park RainWise Village Tour

Walk, bike or drive on a short self-guided tour to explore how residential and community rain gardens (some located in urban farms!) and RainWise cisterns (super-sized rain barrels) are all helping to control urban stormwater. Meet RainWise contractors who install cisterns and rain gardens. Enjoy tours and information in Spanish, Vietnamese, and Cambodian, as well as games and activities for all ages, and specialty foods and music reflecting the cultural heritage of South Park residents. Start the tour at the “RainWise village green” in a block that includes rain gardens, refreshments and indoor activities at the South Park Neighborhood Center. More info

Passive House Information Booth & Extended Tour

The builders of the Island Passive House (Site SJ1) on Shaw Island will also have an educational display in the Hale's Ales gallery (Stop 7, lunch stop) during the tour on Saturday, where they will be answering questions about the Passive House building standard. (Remember to show your wristband at Hale's for a lunch discount.) In addition, the Island Passive House will be open both Saturday and Sunday. More info

Check Out Our New TV Ad!

We're really proud of how our new ad turned out! Look for it on King County and Seattle channels. Thanks to Chris Landingin for being our green building star, to Jenny Heins for directing, and to King County for producing.

Sustainability Stop Spotlight: Taproot Theatre

Joining the Green Home Tour this year is a sustainability stop that brings art, culture and green building technology together. On April 26, 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.

The 12,000-square-foot annex was constructed by Method Prefab. 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 friendly materials.

Tour visitors should look for artwork 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. The featured mural consists of two panels: a composite of photos from the reconstruction of the Old Globe Theater in London and the other 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," says John Osgood and Kevin Sensei, the artists that created the mural.

On the day of the NW Green Home Tour, visitors will get a behind-the-scenes look at the theater's new spaces, including:

  • Black Box Theatre that seats 120, a space for developing and performing new scripts, rehearsing, and conducting youth classes
  • The Stage Door Café, a comfortable setting for patrons and members of the Greenwood community to gather before and after performances for dialogue and engagement; now open six days a week
  • The new Scene Shop (1,200 sf) is a more spacious and efficient construction space that 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
  • Interior/exterior deck with living walls and green roof


About Taproot Theatre Company

Taproot Theatre Company is a professional, nonprofit theatre company with a multifaceted 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. For more information, visit taproottheatre.org.


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: methodhomes.net.

Thanks to Green Home Tour Sponsors Infiniti Real Estate & Development and Umpqua Bank
for helping to put this exciting sustainability stop on the tour!

Site Host Spotlight: Green Canopy Homes

Take the temperature of the Seattle real estate market, and you'll see it's reached fever levels. What a change from just a few years ago!

While this rapid uptick in sales and drop in supply is good news for the local economy, it can present challenges for potential buyers and builders of green homes. With existing homes and vacant land being snapped up by cash buyers and developers at lightning speed, those interested in building a green home are left with few options.

Enter Green Canopy Homes, a green homebuilder and site host on this year's Green Home Tour.

Green Canopy's mission is to inspire efficiency in residential markets, and one of the ways they do that is to transform old homes into models of modern efficiency.

Recently, the company has also started offering homeowners custom remodel packages. Green Canopy can do a complete green renovation on a homeowner’s existing home or on a home they plan to purchase. This custom remodel option is a win-win because it controls costs for the sustainability-minded buyer, and it reduces risk to the homebuilder, who doesn’t have to guess how and where potential buyers want to live.
Green Canopy’s newest home in Greenwood, nicknamed Dinah, is stop N6 on this year’s tour. One feature that sets it apart is its photovoltaic roof shingles. Incorporating new products like these into production homebuilding is part of the innovation that won Green Canopy Homes a Sustainable Small Business of the Year Award from King County this past year.

Green Canopy’s ongoing commitment to the communities it works in and the thoughtfulness with which it engages the neighbors who live near its construction sites is unique. For example, Green Canopy invites the community to vote on the exterior paint colors of each of its new houses.

Currently Dinah is up for a public vote. You can visit the Green Canopy website and vote for your favorite color today. Stop by Dinah on the tour and find out if your color won!

Sponsor Spotlight: Greenhome Solutions

Flooring veneers made of scrap wood from the furniture industry, recycled glass countertops manufactured in an old local brewery, handmade tile from Portland and carpet the color of the sheep it came from. These are just a few examples of the types of sustainably-made products available at Greenhome Solutions.

Located in Seattle near the south end of the Ballard Bridge, Greenhome Solutions provides affordable, sustainable building materials and products. The store caters to builders, designers, architects and contractors, as well as to homeowners and DIYers. The 4,000+-square-foot showroom displays hundreds of green products.

Greenhome Solutions is the Presenting Sponsor of the 2014 Northwest Green Home Tour, which takes place on Saturday, April 26, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit the store anytime, especially on tour day, when tour goers can receive special discounts and giveaways.

Take a sneak peek at our 2014 sites

Site host registration has gotten off to a great start for the 2014 tour, and we want to take this opportunity to show our appreciation to the 30+ builders, architects, and homeowners who have registered their most exciting projects. Thanks to the overwhelming support of the area's green building community, this year's Northwest Green Home Tour is shaping up to be the biggest and best yet!

  • CRD Design Build
  • ENTERO Design
  • Sustainable Ballard
  • Puget Sound Solar
  • Banyon Tree Design
  • Bristow Enterprises
  • Stettler Design
  • RainWise SPU/KC
  • Schulte Construction
  • Red Cottage Studios
  • McDowell Design Build Inc
  • TC Legend Homes
  • SMR Architects
  • Velocipede Architects
  • LimeLite Development
  • S.A.G.E. Designs NW
  • LastingNest
  • Green Canopy Homes
  • Ventana Construction
  • Opperman Design
  • David Neiman Architects
  • ACME Home Performance
  • Heartwood Builders Inc.
  • Sunshine Construction
  • Artisans Group
  • 21 Acres
  • Haberzetle Homes, Inc.
  • First Lamp
  • Mighty House Construction
  • Kate Wells-Driscoll
  • David Kendall
  • Jack Herndon
  • Paar Development LLC

If you have an outstanding sustainably built residential project, there's still time to submit your application for the 2014 tour. Our selection committee is looking for new homes, renovations, and multifamily projects in all "shades" of green. Fill out your application today. Registration closes, and our tour guide goes to print March 14. Download the information packet.

Early Registration Ends This Week!

Attention builders, architects, contractors, and homeowners: If you’re considering putting a home on the tour, time is running short. This Friday, Jan. 31, the early registration period ends, and the late registration period begins. To take advantage of lower site host fees, you must contact Eric Thomas or fill out the online registration form by this Friday. With 28 site hosts already committed and 30+ others considering, the 2014 NW Green Home Tour is poised to be the biggest and best yet.

Save money and register your site today!

Contact us for more info on hosting a site or sponsoring the tour.

For more information about putting your project on the tour, download our introductory guide.