green building

Happy Earth Day by Laura DeVito

Oregon Garden Earth Day

Earth Day was a hit at the Oregon Garden. It was awesome to see vendors out spreading the word on all the valuable things people can do to be more environmentally-conscious. Earth Day has been evolving since the 70s. In the 80’s it was all about the three Rs - reduce, reuse, and recycle. Schools had efforts focused on saving whales, and the even the polar bear started appearing on the radar. And, now there’s a lot happening with regards to recycling and reusing bags. Have you got your reusable bag yet? If not…stay tuned for some wonderfully flashy bags soon to arrive.

Yes, that’s me sporting a vintage Earth Day shirt!

Yes, that’s me sporting a vintage Earth Day shirt!

Sometimes it takes a bit of learning to catch-on. But, if you have a good teacher, then you’re on the right track. I remember arriving from Kansas to Oregon, and learning what it meant to recycle and what compost was about. I’m glad I had some patient roommates, because I didn’t know much about co-mingling recycling. We are lucky in the Pacific Northwest to have a lot of systems in place that champion earth-friendly efforts.

Whether you’re interested in new construction or a home that has history, there are many ways to be earth-friendly with your home. For new construction, there’s certifications like Earth Advantage, LEED, and more. I am an Earth Advantage Broker, and this means I have a deeper understanding of what it means to have an energy efficient and green home. There are reports you can also do that show home much energy your home is saving, which also may mean saving some money as well. For homes with more history, perhaps looking into adding some more energy efficient and green features is the way you may choose to go. Either way, I’m here to guide you in this journey to finding your dream home.

Gorgeously Innovative Windows by Laura DeVito

It was awesome to visit what Green Hammer is up to during Design Week PDX. I toured Tillamook Row, a set of 16 apartment units with a community lounge area to boot. We met up at the community community, which had a nice open-plan with a kitchen, a hang-out area for Blazers games (with a screen that pops up from the ceiling), a workshop in the back, and a work-out area upstairs. On the first floor, there’s an interesting…we shall call it…energy accountability screen. It gauges the energy usage of each community member. If you’re blue, you’re good to go, if you’re yellow, then you need to mellow out on your energy usage. I think it will be interesting to see the community dynamics that emerge from showing these types of stats in the shared space.

The apartment we toured was on the second floor. Director of Design, Erica Dunn, led the tour and explained the various features. This included sustainably harvested materials, triple-paned glass windows, and a lot more. One of the features that drew the most attention were the windows. Probably due to the interactive component and a lot of people in the room have never seen windows that function like this. They opened two different ways to serve two different purposes, which were to be able to let the fresh are in during the day and then be able to keep the windows open at night, but only from the top portion as a bit of an urban safety feature. There was also a panel, which one could slide across the outside of the window in case there’s an extra sunny day and you want a bit more shade.

The design of the home was well thought out, even with 20+ people navigating the space, it didn’t feel too crowded. The second floor was divided up nicely with the possibility of different uses for each room, in case you don’t want all three to be bedrooms. Plenty of natural light spilled in from the windows as well.

The courtyard was beautiful with what looked to be some community gardening in one of the nooks and areas for rain water to go right back into the soil. Yes to more courtyards! They provide that community and nestled feel away from the urban bustle. Another perk, is that these homes are just a hop from bike commuting to get to downtown.

Green building and energy efficiency are great attributes to look for when searching for a home that’s healthy, durable, and comfortable. Here’s to more innovations in architecture.