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Building a sustainable future
What: Green Home Tours & Talks
WHEN: April 17-18
Wednesday, March 31, 2021
Don’t worry about having to edge past slowpokes in order to get a closer look at the environmentally savvy spaces that will be featured the weekend of April 17-18 as part of Sustainable Connections’ “Green Home Tours & Talks.”
It’ll be a virtual affair this go-round, so those hoping to glean details about the steps they can take to make their own abodes greener can view six behind-the-scenes tours without worrying about crowd control. Inspiring design projects, practical applications of green initiatives, and the innovative use of natural materials are line items to be aware of as you suss out structures built by [bundle] design studio, Instinct Builders, Bellingham Bay Builders, TC Legend Homes, and Kulshan Community Land Trust.
“We are spending more time than ever at home now,” Sustainable Connections Program Director Rose Lathrop says. “People are wanting their homes to be healthier, more efficient and kinder to our Earth, but aren’t always sure where to start. This year’s Green Home Tours & Talks will help our community explore ideas to make their homes resilient and sustainable for the future. Whether you’re interested in building an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU), installing solar, or expanding to give your family a little more space, the weekend will be full of new ideas, resources and inspiration.”
Lathrop notes that in addition to the virtual tours, those who purchase a $5 pass will also gain access to a directory of local green building businesses ready to help get projects started, be eligible to win prizes, and can pick and choose from a number of hourlong interactive workshops featuring local experts and professionals.
“The Green Building Primer: What You Need to Know to Get Started” kicks off the lineup Saturday morning, followed by “The Three Pillars of Residential Decarbonization,” an “Accessory Dwelling Unit Workshop: From Initial Design Concept to Construction,” “High Performance Remodeling: Two Case Studies,” and “From Energy Audit to Retrofit: A Virtual Walk Through Energy Efficiency Upgrades.”
“Tips for Success with Green Materials: From Initial Conceptualization to Selecting the Right Team of Trust Professionals” will lead the way Sunday morning, but if you oversleep and don’t tune in on time, you’ll still have “Solar Today, To Prepare for Tomorrow” to look forward to. “Women in Green Building” and “Designing and Building Affordable Net Zero Energy Homes: The What, Why and How To” will round out the offerings.
After completing one or more of the workshops, feel free to circle back to the virtual tours to see how what you learned relates to individual building projects.
Telegraph Townhomes is a good case in point—and a reminder that community collaborations can result in big rewards. Kulshan Community Land Trust and Habitat for Humanity first started working together in spring of 2018 to break ground to build the housing units as a way to tackle the affordable housing crisis in Whatcom County by selling to buyers that meet income guidelines for their programs. The first round of homes are nearly complete, with more in the works.
Thanks to grants by Puget Sound Energy and Western Solar, 12 of the residences also have solar panels. The two- and three-bedroom homes sell for $150,000-$200,000, are built to passive house expectations but customized for long-term maintenance affordability, and have easy access to services and transportation.
The community members who are currently settling into Telegraph Townhomes are glad to have the chance to put down roots. Magdalena Orozco Valecia is one of them.
“I never thought I’d be able to get a home,” she says. “I’m so grateful because as a single mom, having my own home was never going to be a possibility.”
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