Originally published Sunday, April 20, 2008 at 12:00 AM


Green resources for the home

Here is a sampling of resources, broken down by categories: construction, energy, landscape, product-certifying groups, recycling and salvage.

Here is a sampling of resources, broken down by categories: construction, energy, landscape, product-certifying groups, recycling and salvage. Most of the Web sites have links to other resources.


American Institute of Architects' Committee on the Environment

The committee advocates practices that improve design and environmental performance of buildings.

Built Green

A nonprofit program developed by the Master Builders Association of Snohomish and King Counties in partnership with those counties. One of its main functions is to certify residential and commercial products based on a set of environmentally friendly guidelines.

City of Seattle

City's site with information about green-building programs, incentives and assistance.

Department of Ecology

The state ecology agency's green-building info.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) green building site

Gateway to federal information on green building and sustainable development.


Northwest EcoBuilding Guild

An association of builders, designers, homeowners, tradespeople, manufacturers and suppliers that offers Green Pages for finding sustainable building contractors, suppliers and other green building providers.

Sensible House

A local project that helps people build "in a more environmentally friendly way."

Southface Energy Institute

This Atlanta-based organization promotes ways to save energy, conserve water and preserve the environment through education, research, advocacy and technical assistance.

U.S. Green Building Council

A national nonprofit group in the building industry that oversees the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) green-building rating system. The regional affiliate is the Cascadia Region Green Building Council:


American Solar Energy Society

This nonprofit provides information on getting started with solar energy and how to make homes more energy efficient.

Puget Sound Energy "For Your Home"

Puget Sound Energy offers customers tools to analyze and trim utility bills.

City of Seattle "Home Profile"

Seattle City Light and Seattle Public Utilities customers can get a free detailed report called the Home Resource Profile that dissects utility bills and explains how to save money and shrink carbon footprint. To find Seattle City Light's green-power options:

Consumer Energy Center:

Information from the California Energy Commission about purchasing the most energy-efficient appliances.


The Green Guide

From National Geographic, lots of home-related articles, blogs, articles and buying guides.


Coolest feature: Readers can pose a question about greening your home ("Is linoleum a good flooring choice for our baby's nursery?" "Are induction cooktops better for indoor air quality than gas?"), and the site seeks answers from their network of green architects, designers, contractors and consultants across the United States.

Alternatives to toxics:

From the Hazardous Waste Management Program of King County, infomation on alternatives to toxic household products, plus lists and links to businesses, including garden stores, in King County that are offering less toxic alternatives (the greener they are, the more "EnviroStars" they rate).


This wide-ranging, green-living site, covering everything from food to cars to health, includes a section on how to green your home buying:

Consumer Reports' Greener Choices

The site's a bit confusing to navigate, and you have to subscribe for details on their testing and rating of products. But Consumer Reports offers solid, unbiased home-related buying infomation. Also, the editors' "The Shop Smart Guide to Green" issue of October/November 2007 is worth its $6 price for those in the market for furniture, flooring, lighting, paint and cleaning supplies. It offers money-saving tips and is frank about tradeoffs — example: linoleum, bamboo and cork flooring all had high environmental ratings but in testing, bamboo and cork didn't always wear or keep their colors well while linoleum was both sunlight-and dent-resistant and more moderately priced.


American Society of Landscape Architects

Under "residential information," the site offers tips on creating a green landscape for homes, as well as a "firm finder" to locate architects in your area.

In Harmony

A landscape company that serves the Puget Sound region and provides design, installation and care of landscapes "that are healthy for people, pets and the environment."


Energy Star

Energy Star seal of approval for popular appliances that use 10 to 50 percent less energy or water than the federal standard.

Forest Stewardship Council

Certifies wood and wood products and promotes responsible forest management. Its certification ensures wood is harvested sustainably and then tracks the wood through manufacturing to the store. Considered the leading standard for responsible forestry management.

Green Seal

Nonprofit group independently tests household products to meet its environmental standards.


"The Northwest Green Home Primer": Hundreds of Ideas for Building, Remodeling, and Buying Green," by Kathleen O'Brien and Kathleen Smith, Timber Press, 2008, $24.95. Huge tome by Seattle residents, with tons of ideas, checklists, photos and diagrams, aimed at both novices and professionals. Covers homes in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Northern California and British Columbia.The authors are giving many free talks locally this spring: the schedule's at More at the book's website.

"Your Green Home:

A Guide to Planning a Healthy, Environmentally Friendly New Home" by Alex Wilson (New Society Publishers), $17.95 list price. Lots of good infomation without a lot of fluff. Wilson is a long-time writer for Environmental Building News for professionals. This book is a useful and readable version for the general public to get an understanding of issues and tradeoffs that go into building a green home, with non-judgmental analyses of the strengths and weaknesses of each of different materials and methods.

The Seattle Times' "Green Living" special real-estate section, September 22, 2007:


Publishers of Environmental Building News, a monthly newsletter on environmentally-responsible design and construction.

Green Source

Led by a team of architects, owners, engineers and consultants, this magazine examines sustainable design across the nation.

Ultimate Home Design

This consumer and trade magazine's goal is to serve as a "design and build resource for environmentally enhanced" living.



The GreenTools site of King County's Solid Waste Division includes certification programs, construction and demolition recycling and reuse, deconstruction techniques and incentives.

King County's online materials exchange

Items ranging from doors and insulation to plumbing and floor coverings. Users can place materials for sale or purchase them.

The RE Store

1440 NW 52nd St.

Seattle, WA 98107


Second Use:

7953 2nd Ave. S.

206 763-6929

Earthwise, Inc. Building Salvage

Removes, buys and sells reusable building materials and architectural salvage. A founding member of Northwest Building Salvage Network.


Online materials exchange in counties including Pierce, Skagit, Snohomish, Kitsap and Thurston.

1-800-RECYCLE (732-9253)

Find recycling and reuse opportunities using the online database or by calling Department of Ecology's toll-free number.

King County Construction Recycling Directory

Organized by material type, this is a guide to recycling opportunities in King County and Western Washington.

King County Solid Waste Division's "What do I do with ... ?"

To find reuse, recycling and disposal options for different materials, from old appliances and tires to pesticides and packing peanuts.


Nonprofit movement of people who are giving and getting stuff for free in their own towns.

The Seattle Times story, September 22, 2007, on reclaiming products for your renovation or new construction:

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