Tour a Tiny Home at GreenLife July 8-10th!

tiny_home_alki

Have you heard the BIG news about tiny homes? These low-impact dwellings are all over the media and minds of people looking to live smaller. There is only so much room on this planet and the more space we give to nature, the cleaner our air, water, and soil will remain. With so much development going on around Seattle, it is a breath of fresh air to see companies like Seattle Tiny Homes bringing the reality of low-impact living to our community.

Seattle Tiny Homes is a featured sponsor of this year’s GreenLife area at Summer Fest. They will have a Tiny Home on display all three days of the event (July 8th, 9th, and 10th) and be giving a talk about what it’s like to Live Small:

Living Small Community Presentation:

About Seattle Tiny Homes:

The way you live in a tiny space is different from everyone else. So why settle for a home that’s not designed with you in mind? Since 2010, Seattle Tiny Homes has offered a full range of options to create the perfect tiny house for you. We completely customize your home to meet your specific goals and dreams, and build it to the the highest standards of quality to last a lifetime.

Seattle Tiny Homes specializes in tiny structures on wheels. We believe smaller abodes create serenity and simplicity, and are better for the environment.  Depending on location, you can use a tiny structure as a dwelling, a mother-in-law apartment, a retirement cottage, an extra bedroom for a college student, a home office, or a studio. All our completed structures are licensed as RV travel trailers. Learn more about us at www.seattletinyhomes.com.

Get Solar at GreenLife July 8-10th!

wsne-install

Visit the GreenLife area of Summer Fest this year to witness solar power in action and find out how to get solar for your home. Local solar installer and GreenLife sponsor West Seattle Natural Energy will be powering the GreenLife Garden Stage with a solar trailer! (Solar powered music and dance, yeah) If that’s not enough, visit their interactive booth to see solar panels up close and in action. WSNE’s own, Keith Hughes will be presenting Solar Works! on stage as well.

Solar Works! The truth about costs and benefits of going solar in the NW:

About West Seattle Natural Energy:

West Seattle Natural Energy only employs the best installers and electricians. Our eight- person team is comprised of full-time and on-call employees who share the highest standards of excellence. This camaraderie is especially evident when the WSNE staff unites to donate time, skills and materials to great causes such as Master Builders Ramp-a-thon. We maintain a sterling reputation of 100% Customer Satisfaction by employing an honest sales force, setting manageable schedules and delivering premium quality installations. Every employee on our team delivers every single day. By anticipating common installation issues and fully educating our customers, we guarantee jobs that have no frustrations, no bait and switch — and no financial surprises.

Try an Electric Bike at GreenLife July 8-10th!

ebike

Why do those old, out of shape, non racing bike riders keep passing me? Perhaps they have a secret weapon. Come hear more about electric assist bicycles from Stu Hennessey owner of Alki Bike and Board. He’ll guide you through the latest models and features to look for when considering an electric bike.

Alki Bike and Board is a featured sponsor of this year’s GreenLife area at Summer Fest. They will have a many electric bikes for you to demo all three days of the event (July 8th, 9th, and 10th) and will be giving a talk about what it’s like to Ride Clean:

Electric Bike Community Discussion: 

About Alki Bike and Board:

Located in the heart of the Admiral Junction in West Seattle, Alki Bike and Board is a staple community business. Not merely selling bikes and boards, they support sustainable business practices and advocates for carbon neutral policies and lifestyle. Along with other area non-profits, they host many community safety and awareness rides. Truly a shining example of local business in action!

Local Youth Activist, Aji Piper, Appears on DemocracyNow!

Aji Piper on DN!

Yes!

I watch DemocracyNow! every morning (and so should you :) ) and was pleasantly surprised today when I heard a familiar name mentioned, Aji Piper (at the 32:22 mark). Aji is a West Seattle teenaged environmental activist involved with Our Childrens Trust, a non-profit org who had a recent win in court regarding their landmark Federal Climate Change Lawsuit. This unprecedented lawsuit brought by 21 youth basically states that by allowing fossil fuels to be exploited, the US government and the fossil fuel industry are threatening the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness of future generations. This landmark suit drags the shadow cast by fossil fuels into the light as a constitutional issue (genius). Support this group if you can.

I met Aji last year when he performed his song “Danger” on the GreenLife stage. You have to take a few moments and listen to this young mans tune. It’s a very striking song.

SWS thanks you Aji for being a brave, outspoken, artistic activist.

COP21 Editorial

An important and amazing thing happened at the end of a year of tragically bad

news—and it was not even treated as a top news story. On December 13 it was

announced that 195 countries (out of 196 countries world-wide—near

unanimity!) agreed to limit the rise in the earth’s temperature to 1.5 degrees

Celsius.

Most of the environment groups that SWS uses for sounding boards have been

positive about the agreement. However, some groups think the agreement

lacked enough bite—there are no consequences if a nation fails to keep its

commitment. We have to trust that the 195 countries will honor their

commitment.

A number of countries are already imposing a carbon tax to help fund the

transition to a fossil fuel free economy. Where there is an absence of federal

action, a number of regional entities are imposing carbon taxes—for example,

British Columbia. Also, Seattle’s Initiative I-732 will be voted on in the next

election cycle.

The business sector increasingly recognizes the business potential in lower cost

energy and in ending subsidies for fossil fuel extraction, distribution, and

mitigation. This was a clear breakthrough at the Paris conference. There are now

more jobs in renewable energy, which is another reason for optimism among

this normally resistant group. An area of concern is how to achieve carbon

reduction in air transportation and the shipping and distribution of consumer

goods.

A bright spot is Boeing’s and Seattle airport’s announcement that they will

pursue the use of biofuel for their jet propellant. Meanwhile, protecting our farm

land from an onslaught of biofuel agriculture remains a concern. However, more

food is being grown locally and more people are eating seasonally, and this

could eventually help offset loss of food production due to the growing of

biofuels. It is becoming increasingly clear that relying on big agriculture as a

source of food is not in our best interest anyway. Algae-based biofuels may one

day meet some of our need for fuel.

Even though oil prices are low, electric powered vehicles (EVs) have never

been more popular. Electric transportation technology is growing fast. On

average, most cars are owned five-six years or less, so your next car may be an

electric vehicle! The Tesla Company has been improving battery storage

capacity and increasing recharge ability at a fast pace. Tesla claims it will be

able to produce a $35K car with a 1000 mile range by 2020. They are also

working on long-lasting home energy storage for Solar PV rooftop homes. I

think movement toward freedom from fossil fuels is gaining the momentum we

have been waiting for.

We all heard that hover boards and other electronic gadgets were a top holiday

gift. Happily, another top gift was LED light bulbs, which last twenty years and

are at least ten times more efficient than incandescent bulbs.

You can tell that I feel optimistic that we are moving in the right direction. I am

hopeful that the top down proposals that came out of the Paris meetings will

increase momentum toward a fossil-fuel-free world. At the same time we can all

become fossil-free consumers.

The transition to a fossil-fuel-free world is already happening. Sustainable West

Seattle can speed that along by setting annual goals and challenging the public

to participate. We have generally taken a bottom-up approach. We encourage

consumers to make decisions that will reduce both the cost of energy and the

cost to our planet. In 2016, with the ongoing subsidy from Seattle City Light,

we can work to bring affordable LED lighting to local homes and

businesses. We can challenge local industry to get on board and join in the

transition—we can consider a petition to local industries asking them to make a

commitment to the transition.

There is much to look forward to in 2016 following the Paris COP21. There is

also much to do. Please join us.

Solar in Washington Needs Your Support

Sign this petition to keep WA solar incentives going! Details below.

West Seattle Rooftop Solar

West Seattle Rooftop Solar

Those greenies in the know have heard about Washington State’s solar incentives. If you haven’t, check out the DSIRE database for the scoop.

In short:

Above the 30% Federal Income Tax Credit which everyone gets…

Washingtonians pay no sales tax on photovoltaic (electric) solar installations. 

Washingtonians are paid, by the utility company, an incentive of $0.15-$0.54 for every kilowatt-hour their solar energy system produces. 

Plus, each kilowatt-hour you produce is one you don’t have to buy.

SO MANY PEOPLE have gone solar since these state incentives were instituted in 2006, that utility companies are slated to hit the legislative maximums and REDUCE THE INCENTIVES. 

If this happens, solar is going to get very expensive in a hurry because the Federal Income Tax Credit (30% of purchase price) is set to expire in 2016 if its not extended.

With both of these incentives gone, we could see solar prices increase dramatically next year. We can’t afford to let this happen.

If you want to keep solar a viable option for our local grid as well as keep the local solar economy vibrant, please follow this link to sign a letter to your WA legislators and let them know. 

Lets keep solar booming!

 

Solarize SW Seattle Results In…and Staggering!

There are some forward thinking people in our city aren’t there? A testament to this is the recent Solarize SW Seattle Project that, by May of this year, will have left South West Seattle with nearly 2700 solar panels powering the homes of local residents with clean, green, solar power. All of this in a matter of 5 months!

Were any of the Solarize SW Seattle systems installed in your neighborhood? Click below to see the map.

SolarizeSWSeattle_Map

Aside from the cost savings, increased home value, and environmental benefits, the intangibles of the Solarize Project coming to town include:

  • More Education: 500 people attended the Solarize educational seminars and learned about how solar works in WA
  • More Visibility: You can’t go down 35th or California without seeing a solar array up!
  • More Philanthropy: Highland Park Improvement Club was the recipient of a 4.4kW solar system and the Burien City Hall received an electric car charging station!

This is what going solar looks like:

Mortstock

The 5.4 kW array was installed by Artisan Electric on Dec 15, 2014.

Sean and Cole from Puget Sound Solar installing PV on a Solarize SW Seattle roof

Sean and Cole from Puget Sound Solar installing PV on a Solarize SW Seattle roof

Slaven

4.9 kW solar array in White Center that was installed by Artisan Electric on January 8, 2015.

Solarize SW Seattle system installed by Puget Sound Solar

Solarize SW Seattle system installed by Puget Sound Solar

 

Number Nerd? Here are some solar numbers to ponder:

  • Solarize SW Seattle came in 2nd place at 684 kilo-watt’s (KW’s) next only to Solarize Central/SE Seattle in terms of solar capacity.
  • 1 KW of solar = ~4 solar panels (@250 watts each)
  • Average Amount of electricity 1 KW produces in Seattle: ~1000 kWh’s per year (check your electric bill to get a feel for how much power this is)
  • Average system size of Solarize SW: 6.16 KW’s (~24 panels).
  • Number of Installations: 111

This Solarize Project happened because a core group of experienced non-profits and (50) neighborhood volunteers worked hard to get the word out, coordinate the educational sessions, and vet the installation contractors. A big thank you to the groups, volunteers, contractors, and homeowners who made this effort a big success. You’re pushing us forward and that’s a good direction to head!

The contractors who served the campaign were Puget Sound Solar and Artisan Electric.. Although this Solarize campaign is over, the Solarize contractors are still offering free home site assessments. Contact them directly to see if solar can work for you.

Stu’s News: You and Carbon Pollution!

carbon neutralby Stu Hennessey*

If you have had any concern over the changing climate and the extreme weather events that have been making headlines you have probably felt frustration over not being in a position to challenge the big corporate polluters. The good news is that we are more in control of carbon pollution and its effect on the climate than most people realize.

People like you and I actually emit nearly twice the carbon pollution than industrial America. We also pollute in a manner that is hard to capture. We are non point source polluters. NPSPs. That means the pollution we emit comes from a variety of source points like individual cars or lawn mowers or woodstoves. Our source points are so spread out and numerous that it would be impossible to capture or cap what we emit. Where as a corporate polluter will usually have a single stack or source point that could be capped and sequestered.

We know there are cleaner ways to run the world’s industries but until we can afford a corporate takeover and finance the industrial change-over to clean energy we can only work on our own solutions. I find it very empowering to know that individual education and efforts can reduce nearly two thirds of the world’s carbon pollution. Whether it is by using alternatives to fossil fuel transportation or reducing our home energy consumption or limiting the distance a product we consume travels to the cash register we can make a huge difference. Here are ten ideas you could employ:

  • Reduce your travel emissions by riding a bicycle. Using the transit system or trading in the gas guzzler for an electric vehicle.
  • Reduce your home energy costs by turning down the thermostat or buying a programmable thermostat. Choosing a smaller more efficient home. Switching to LED lighting. Turning off all electric devices when not in use.
  • Shopping Local, buying products that are being manufactured closer to home or have been offered for reuse. Shopping at local businesses near where you live. Smaller businesses with smaller carbon footprints.
  • Eat locally grown food. Join a Community Supported Agriculture subscription. Join a community garden group or P Patch. Turn your yard into your own food supply.
  • Plant trees! Trees eat carbon dioxide and in return release oxygen. Most trees have been removed to make room for our cities. Please replace them.
  • Support government and non government organizations that offer alternatives to the archaic fossil fuel era. We can fast track our independence from fossil fuels.
  • Reduce all forms of consumer waste. Buy bulk! Buy what you need. Buy what will make you less of a carbon non point source.
  • Recycle: This is where we show what gains we have already accomplished. Good Job NPSPs.
  • Compost: Another area where great strides have been made.
  • De-carbonize your image. Our image is important to us but is it a bigger is better image that we should strive for. Is the bigger car, bigger house, wealthy-enough-to-be-carbon-foolish image the one that matters?   Imagine yourself at one with a carbon neutral earth.

* Stu Hennessey is a board member of Sustainable West Seattle and is an active cyclist and member of Spokespeople.  Stu operates and owns Alki Bike and Board in West Seattle’s Admiral District.

GoGreen Seattle 2015 ‘Call for Proposals:’ Submissions Wanted from Business: Transportation, Smart Cities, Social Science

GGSEA15_WebHeaderRequesting your expertise! GoGreen Seattle has announced their 2015 Call for Proposals to the business community, to build the GoGreen Seattle Conference program on April 30. Input from this call will shape the theme, topics covered and speakers showcased at our 6th annual conference.

GoGreen Seattle is looking for business’ cutting edge ideas and best practice examples for Case Studies, Panel Discussions, Industry Showcase, Solutions Labs, How-To Workshops, Unconference, Mini-Charette and Storytelling sessions for the 2015 program. The deadline for program proposal submissions is Friday, December 12, 2014. You can view our Call for Proposal Guidelines here.

Topics of interest for submissions include:

Transportation/Clean Mobility

  • Examples:
    o Trends in Transportation
    o Transportation and Millennials
    o Sharing Economy and Transportation
    o Rethinking Public Transportation
    o Successful Employer Transportation Programs o Commute Trip Reduction
    o Clean Fleets
    o Alternative Fuels
    o Infrastructure/Land Use

Smart Cities

  • Examples:
    o Cities for People
    o Smart and Competitive Cities
    o Moving Beyond Incrementalism

Environmental Science

  • Examples:
    o Future Predictions
    o Climate Change
    o Life Cycle Assessment

Social Science

  • Examples:
    o Tools for shifting values and actions in the workplace o Employee engagement
    o Leadership buy-in
    o The Psychology of Sustainability
    o How to lead radical change with out-of-box innovation o Fast Tracking Change

Practical Tools

  • Examples:
    o Comprehensive benchmarking
    o Contractor improvement projects
    o Energy audits/storage
    o Equity assessment
    o Sustainable purchasing/procurement process o Waste sorts

Equity/Success Stories

  • Examples:
    o Equity Empowerment Training
    o Achieving Equity in the workplace o Collaboration and partnerships
    o Supporting the local community o Connecting communities

Business Innovation

  • Examples:
    o Key Components to Workplace Innovation
    o Future Supply Chain Management
    o New Business Opportunities in Sustainability
    o Impact Investing
    o Shared Economy
    o Upcycling
    o GRI Reporting
    o Innovation Incubation
    o Technology Innovation
    o Carbon Reduction – Moving Beyond Incrementalism

GoGreen Seattle 2015
Thursday, April 30
The Conference Center | Eighth Avenue at Pike Street

Register today at early bird rates!