01 Oct Built Green Conference – 2016
Artifex strives to help our clients lessen their buildings’ impact on our planet. The city of Seattle (where I first honed my carpentry skills after undergrad) and the surrounding area of King County have a terrific “Built Green” program which has documented an overall decrease in energy usage in the area. The program also certifies the energy needs of all new construction. To learn more about this approach and the techniques they are using, I attended the Built Green Conference 2016 in Bothell, Washington in September. With a full day of lectures and programming, we looked at what is new in green building trends and how evolving technologies and ‘best building practices’ can make our homes less reliant upon fossil fuels.
Tom Campbell of Clearwater Commons Development and Ted Clifton of TC Legend Homes gave a presentation on essential elements for building net zero homes. High insulation SIP panels for walls and roofs are essential to their approach. They also highlighted how shared community amenities can also dramatically reduce a development’s impact on the environment.
Later, in a forum called “What Do Todays Buyers Want?” top realtor Kate Knight of Redfin Builder Services opinioned that floor plans, location, schools, and affordability are the most important elements in her clients’ home purchasing decisions. According to her area data, a “green building” is important only to select niche buyers who value environmentally friendly features like comfort, health, and a small carbon footprint. Those clients are willing to pay for green features, but the majority of home buyers do not actively seek out green homes.
The “Built Green” conference also hosted an area for vendors to introduce appropriate products. Infared Radiant Ceiling panels by DocuTerra, Panasonic WhisperControl Condensation Sensors, and Panasonic WhisperRecessed LED fan/light combinations were a few of the items that caught my eye for possible inclusion in future Artifex projects.
The next day, I headed north to the San Juan Islands where many high-end green vacation homes have been built in the last decade. I toured a green-inspired home in EastSound, Orcas Island that featured all LED lighting, sealed can lighting, bamboo flooring, electric radiant floor heat and locally- sourced lumber and trim.
Investigating best building practices and market trends in other regions is just one of the ways that Artifex works to stay at the forefront of the construction field.