Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Who Is Joe Lstiburek speaker at Built Green at Everett Center March 13th

Plenary Session

Joe Lstiburek is a prinicipal of the Building Science Corporation. He is a scientist who investigates building failures and is internationally recognized as an authority on moisture related building problems and indoor air quality. Joe has written numerous books including the Builder Guides as well as technical papers on building construction. He is considered one of the nation's foremost authorities on practical green building.

To see Joe's Top Ten list of dumb things to do in the North visit

Joe's Top Ten

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Who Is Hunter Lovins... Keynote Speaker at the Built Green Conference in Snohomish March 13th?

Hunter Lovins

Intellectual Capital, Consulting, Education

In 2001, Hunter was named one of four people from North America to serve as a delegate to the United Nations Prep Conference for Europe and North America for the World Summit on Sustainable Development. She served as a Commissioner in the State of the World Forum's Commission on Globalization, co-chaired by Mikhail Gorbachev, and Jane Goodall.
L. Hunter Lovins, Esq., is the president and founder of Natural Capitalism, Inc. and co-creator of the Natural Capitalism concept. In 1982 she co-founded Rocky Mountain Institute and led that organization as its CEO for Strategy until 2002. Under her leadership, RMI grew into an internationally recognized research center, widely celebrated for its innovative thinking in energy and resource issues. By the time Hunter left, the institute had grown to a staff of 50 people and a $7 million annual budget, half of it earned through programmatic enterprise.
This is an event Not to be Missed...
Read more about Hunter Lovins at

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Climate Impacts Forum

I realize this is not our County but it may be a good meeting to attend.



Climate Impacts Forum set for Woodinville February 24

Date: February 24, 2007
Time: 9:30 AM-12:00
Location: Council Chambers,
Woodinville City Hall, 17301 - 133rd Ave NE, Woodinville , WA

Contact: Brenda Vanderloop, Phone: 425-788-9846, Cell: 206-498-9731
Email: bv@vanderloop-pr.com

If this winter's floods and windstorms are any indication, changing weather patterns will have a dramatic impact on the
Puget Sound region. To discuss these issues, the public is invited to a free community forum, Climate Impacts—Storms & Stormwater, February 24 in the Woodinville City Hall Council Chambers, 17301 - 133rd Ave NE, Woodinville.

Urban planners, stormwater managers, farmers, builders, and homeowners are invited to learn about practical, environmentally sound strategies for responding to increased rain and flooding. The forum will focus on ways everyone can play a role in making our community more resilient to climate change.

The doors to the Woodinville City Council Chamber lobby will open at
9:30 AM for greetings, refreshments and viewing informative displays, with the forum beginning at 10:00 .

Speakers include Lara Whitely Binder, water resources specialist with the University of Washington Climate Impacts Group, who will present the latest science on the effects of climate change in our region. Yosh Monzaki, City of Woodinville Surface Water Engineer, will report on stormwater management and how the City may respond to new state and federal regulations. And David McDonald of Seattle Public Utilities will provide an overview of low impact stormwater mitigation strategies.

Kentucky farmer Wendell Berry stated, "Urban people have agricultural responsibilities." One of those responsibilities is not to pollute the land that feeds them. According to the Department of Ecology, urban stormwater is Western Washington's primary source of water pollution. Rapid urbanization and increased stormwater runoff directly contribute to the destruction of local farms.

East King County farmers suffered more than $1 million dollars in damage from last November's floods. Stormwater runoff is considered toxic by the FDA, which has ordered that crops inundated by flooding must be destroyed. At the Climate Impacts Forum we will highlight the increasing threat of urban stormwater to local farms. Stormwater mitigation is one way everyone can help protect our food supply.

This will be the second in a series of forums sponsored by 21 Acres, a non-profit organization committed to sustainable agriculture practices while putting into place an infrastructure that will help support small farms. The new agricultural and environmental education site planned for the
Sammamish Valley will demonstrate new ways to work with our natural resources while addressing sustainable, low impact approaches to stormwater management. For more information about the Climate Impacts Forum, call Brenda Vanderloop at 425-788-9846, or visit: www.21acres.org.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Snohomish Riverfront in Everett to be Developed

City, developer to get rollin' on the river

By Diane Brooks

A stream runs through property where the city and developer OliverMcMillan have big plans for the riverfront.

The pedestrian overpass taking shape in the Lowell area marks the south end of housing and commercial development planned for about 2 miles along the Everett riverfront.

Never mind the fancy talk about Everett's renaissance, its need for a classy "front porch," the decades of hard work and million-dollar planning that have carried the city to the brink of a 216-acre land deal expected to transform its regional identity.

A simple word seems to suffice: Wow.

"It is a wow. It really is," longtime City Councilman Bob Overstreet said of a public-private plan to create an upscale urban village, cushioned by nearly 100 acres of wetlands and trails, along a 2-mile stretch of the Snohomish River.

Another councilman, Paul Roberts, seems equally awestruck when he envisions what future motorists might see as they cruise through Everett on Interstate 5, overlooking now-vacant properties best known for a 1984 tire fire and a long-gone paper mill.

"There's maybe a quarter-million trips a day on I-5, and a lot of people view Everett only from what they see from the freeway. It's what defines the city," he said. "I think they're going to see a riverfront village that says, 'Wow.' "

The council is close to approving an $8 million deal with OliverMcMillan, an award-winning San Diego firm known for developing creative, mixed-use urban spaces.

Promoting Everett

See Everett and its riverfront through the eyes of San Diego-based developer OliverMcMillan, which is buying 216 acres of former industrial land for $8 million, with plans to create an urban village with public spaces, residential areas and retail surrounded by nature.

The cover of its 59-page promotional brochure says it all: Something unexpected Something special that brings identity to a place filled with pride Incorporating the delicacy of nature, an understanding of history, and the future of Everett Washington
Dreamy photos of the site, the Snohomish River and downtown Everett are mixed with demographic data to create a mood of intriguing potential.


The complex purchase agreement would require the company to build at least 400,000 square feet of retail space — comparable in volume to the Tulalips' Seattle Premium Outlets — while adhering to cutting-edge environmental standards.

That's just the minimum. The company says it intends to build 500,000 to 800,000 square feet of retail space, along with 800 to 1,000 housing units that may include single-family cottages, condos, townhouses, apartments and hotel rooms. Public spaces could include a riverside amphitheater, a kayak launch, playgrounds, art, fountains and historic displays.

OliverMcMillan's private investment in the project could reach $400 million, said Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson.

The city in turn promises to invest an estimated $30 million to $45 million in wetlands and infrastructure projects, including moving a set of BNSF Railway tracks closer to I-5; relocating the city's animal shelter; building roads, 2 ½ miles of trails and a 3-acre park; and continuing its cleanup of the old tire-fire site by helping pay for a methane-recovery system and related measures.

The city could recoup its costs within nine years if the project generates anticipated levels of sales, occupation and property taxes, Stephanson said. Market conditions will control how quickly the site plan is completed, he said. Optimistically, it could be built out within five years, but if the market softens, it could take a decade, he said.
Everett riverfront properties

Simpson mill site

  • 1891: Construction begins on the Puget Sound Pulp and Paper mill on the Snohomish River, giving rise to the adjacent town of Lowell.
  • 1951: The mill, now known as Everett Pulp and Paper, is sold to the Simpson Logging Co.
  • 1972: Mill closes.
  • 1974: Crowds gather on the Lowell hillside to watch the dynamiting of the landmark smokestack. In "The Lowell Story," Don Berry writes that a heavy fog cloaked the riverfront — onlookers heard the blast's thud, felt the ground shudder and saw "a ghostly shadow slowly sinking."
  • 1992: City of Everett buys 156-acre mill property for $3 million.
  • 1993-1995: City cleans up land and removes homeless camps.
  • 1995: City opens the Lowell Riverfront Trail, extending 1.6 miles north from Rotary Park.

Landfill site

  • 1917: Site's first known use for trash disposal.
  • 1949: Everett buys 5.8 acres from Snohomish County for $361.
  • 1955: Everett buys another 14.5 acres from the county for $1,277.68.
  • 1974: Landfill closes.
  • 1977-1983 Land used for recycling operation, including tire storage.
  • 1983-1984: Two separate tire fires erupt. The second one, involving 4 million tires, makes headlines as it burns for three months.
  • 1991: City buys 33 acres on both sides of 36th Street, including the current site of the Everett Animal Shelter, from the Glacier Park Co. for $1.5 million.
  • 1985 to 1994: City works with the state Department of Ecology and spends $15 million to clean and cap the site and install drainage and methane-collection systems.

Combined site

  • 1997 to 2000: City conducts engineering studies funded with federal "brownfields" grants aimed at redeveloping industrial sites within urban areas.
  • 2001: The city begins building a four-lane railroad overpass at 41st Street, essential for commercial development of the riverfront. Environmental groups and the Tulalip Tribes file a lawsuit related to chinook habitat, halting construction.
  • 2002: City Council formally adopts a "vision" for the riverfront properties through the city's Shoreline Master Program.
  • 2004: City settles lawsuit with Tulalips; railroad overpass construction resumes.
  • 2005: City Council chooses San Diego-based OliverMcMillan to develop the riverfront.
  • 2006: 41st Street railroad overpass complete. Total cost: $17.4 million, including nearly $10.2 million in federal funds. The state, which chipped in $3.5 million for the overpass, also is building an improved, $43.1 million 41st Street interchange for Interstate 5.
  • 2007: City reaches an $8 million land-sale agreement with OliverMcMillan, which plans to build an environmentally sensitive urban village on 216 acres. Completion of a master plan is expected by year's end.
  • 2008: Projected start of construction.
  • 2009 or 2010: Anticipated grand opening.

Paul Buss, president of OliverMcMillan, said his company is talking with several "very promising tenants," including a theater group interested in building a 50,000-square-foot movie complex with perhaps eight to 12 screens. "Our typical kind of project has a 'main street' and people places and food and entertainment and upper-end retail," he said.

A roundabout planned at the base of 41st Street, near the property's midpoint, would be a signature grand entry, he said. A residential community surrounded by wetlands and trails would lie to the south, on the former Simpson mill property, while the retail developments — and additional residential space — would lie to north, on the capped landfill and land north of 36th Street.

Everett's character would be reflected in the architectural designs, Buss promised.

"We drive around the community and take pictures of everything that's there and say, 'How do we relate to this?' " he said.

That's especially important to residents of the historic Lowell neighborhood, which overlooks the old mill site. Single-family houses and low-rise townhomes are planned for that area, he said.

Even the retail district would have a relatively low profile, Buss said, with mostly two-story buildings. The tallest probably would be five stories, he said.

Buildings generally would be set back from the water, partly out of respect for the Snohomish River's power during flood season. That would create opportunities for more riverside public spaces, such the city's planned plaza or amphitheater.

"We're not going to have a marina," Buss said, but docks may be provided for visiting boats. "You could bring your boat around from Puget Sound, tie up and go into one of the restaurants. It would be a great experience."

Canoe rentals and other low-key water enterprises also are possible, he said.

"I don't have any doubt this is going to become a premiere location," Buss said. "We're making a huge investment in Everett. It's a great city to work with; it's an incredible site. I don't think I can emphasize enough the vision the city has shown. They've assembled the land; they've spent tons of money getting it ready. They've shown true leadership."

The respect is mutual. City officials speak proudly — and with a bit of awe — about OliverMcMillan's promise to earn a "silver" rating from the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program, which looks at energy and water efficiency, natural drainage, indoor air quality and innovative building materials.

Buildings would be designed to take advantage of natural light in winter, to conserve heating energy and to stay cool in summer, Stephanson said. Pavements would be "pervious" where possible, using modern materials that let rainwater soak through into the earth.

"It's a little more expensive to build, but it clearly is the wave of the future," the mayor said. "It will be a very attractive marketing tool."

The state Department of Transportation (DOT) also is investing in the riverfront's natural health. The DOT's ongoing $262.6 million upgrade and widening of Interstate 5 through Everett will include creation of a series of stormwater-treatment ponds on a 13-acre site immediately south of the OliverMcMillan project.

The three ponds, which are to resemble natural wetlands, will be encircled with walking paths interlinked with the city's Lowell river trails planned for the OliverMcMillan wetlands.

Rainwater that falls on I-5 between Highway 2 and the Boeing Freeway will be piped through the Lowell neighborhood and delivered to the ponds through an aqueduct under construction at the foot of Main Street, said DOT spokesman Ryan Bianchi.

The aqueduct will be topped with a footbridge, providing an additional pedestrian access point to the river trails and new developments.

Councilman Roberts feels especially connected to the project. As Everett's former planning director, a post he left in 2003, Roberts oversaw many engineering and environmental analyses of the old industrial properties, as well as resulting cleanup projects required to make the land habitable.

"It should almost be called the Phoenix Project," he said. "Out of the ashes of the tire fire rises a village."

Over the years, Roberts heard city residents repeatedly stress their interest in protecting the riverfront site's vast wetlands. He said he's pleased that OliverMcMillan's concept honors that vision.

Residents are optimistic, too.

"Their intent seems to be to preserve the natural environment and trying to balance the growth," said Holly Gibson, a member of the city's Council of Neighborhoods. "I'm really excited."

The project's original visionary, however, has mixed feelings about the grand plan.

Many community leaders were dumbfounded in 1993 when then-Mayor Pete Kinch announced the city had purchased the 156-acre Simpson mill site for $3 million.

Kinch spoke of transforming Everett from a blue-collar city into a regional attraction by building a commercial and recreational center along the river. In his mind's eye, he saw a historic complex of relocated homes, a marina, soccer fields, perhaps a relocated Everett AquaSox ballpark and a plaza resembling a scaled-down Seattle Center.

He lost his mayor's job that November to Ed Hanson, whose campaign focused on Kinch's spending habits and city budget troubles.

"The people of Everett, the taxpayers, are the ones who paid for that property and made it possible," said Kinch, who wishes the city could retain ownership of the land. "I know there are a lot of plans for upscale retail and condos; I want to make sure that all the people who supported the idea don't get left out of the equation."

But he's pleased to see a variation of his dream coming to pass.

"I'm sure that once it's on its way, it will really add a spark of life to Everett that we've never seen before," Kinch said. "I'm really excited that it's finally starting to happen."

Diane Brooks: 425-745-7802 or dbrooks@seattletimes.com

Port of Everett

A Committed Port, A Cleaner Port

As outlined in its mission statement, the Port of Everett strives to provide good environmental management to assure continued, and where feasible, enhanced ecological functioning and productivity of Port Gardner Bay and the Snohomish River estuary. Environmental management programs are used to preserve estuarine habitats on Jetty Island and for bald eagle habitat on Port properties. In addition, restoration plans for Union Slough and Biringer Farm are being developed to enhance or create additional wildlife habitat and to anticipate the need for future mitigation actions.

The Port also participates in key environmental programs such as the Environmental Management System (EMS), Department of Ecology Diesel Emission Reduction Program and the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency’s Maritime Emissions Reduction Program.

Wild Sky Wilderness Act

Wild Sky lifts off

The Wild Sky Wilderness Act stands an excellent chance of passing Congress this session in large part due to the wisdom of California voters, who removed a significant impediment.
Creation of Washington's first new wilderness area in more than 20 years has always enjoyed bipartisan support. Five years ago, when the idea of protecting stands of low-elevation, old-growth trees in eastern Snohomish County was first introduced, a Republican congressman from Idaho said the bill "was done the right way."

Bound up in that praise was lots of preparatory work with the communities of Index and Skykomish and interested hikers, bikers, cross-country skiers, hunters, anglers, float-plane pilots and snowmobilers.

Lots of conversations and lots of nipping and tucking of boundaries and discussions with relevant interest groups and government agencies also took place.

A vision that began as 110,000 acres in the 107th Congress is before the 110th session as 106,577 acres.

The White House has been on board for more than four years. Washington Sen. Patty Murray has walked the legislation through the Senate three times. In the House, Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Lake Stevens, has patiently worked the legislation through his district and on Capitol Hill.
The roadblock was always the Republican chair of the House Natural Resources Committee, and he was not re-elected last November.

The new Democratic leader declared Wild Sky to be his committee's top wilderness priority.

The gavel changing hands will not spare Wild Sky from another review in the House, but the proposal, with its natural beauty, full menu of outdoor activities and economic potential, is a good story that bears repeating.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Next Task Force Meeting

Our next Task Force meeting is February 9, 2007 at the PUD.

We will be discussing our next steps for being an organization, updates on projects, events, and outreach.
There has been a huge amount of work accomplished and Ecology has rewarded us for that with a supplemental grant.

Come help us plan how to spend that money well!

Monday, February 05, 2007

New Bank Aims to Make it Easier to Build Green

Source: GreenBiz.com

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., Feb. 1, 2007 -- A new banking program here aims to encourage developers and investors to start green building projects by offering financial incentives like providing more money at a lower cost, higher loan-to value, and lower interest rates.

New Resource Bank announced plans to provide a 1/8th percent discount on loans to green leadership projects in the commercial or multi-unit residential sectors. Even for a relatively small building, this could mean significant savings over the life of the loan. For a $5 million loan, this could translate to more than sixty thousand dollars of savings over ten years and more over a longer period. This boosts returns for developers or investors in a sector where reducing costs is important to returns.

To further help boost the financial return of developers and investors, the bank will also provide more "money" to green projects. For example, instead of providing a typical construction loan of up to 75 percent of appraised value, New Resource Bank will fund up to 80 percent loan-to-value (LTV) for projects that are designed and built to green leadership standards.

To do this and to continue to be on the cutting edge, the bank plans to actively keep track of how returns on high performance building investments justify greater leverage. In addition to construction loans, the higher LTV also applies to green commercial real estate in refinancing or acquisitions.

To determine green leadership, the bank will initially rely on criteria established by the U.S. Green Building Council. However, the bank is open to alternative approaches to demonstrate green design excellence. As a bank that is founded by world-class entrepreneurs and green business experts, New Resource Bank is developing its green building program by drawing on leading experts within its "New Resource Community".

Among its founding investors are national green building experts including:

  • Greg Kats, a former DOE official and advisor to the California Green Building Task Force;
  • Jonathan Rose, a pioneering developer of sustainable communities who also recently launched the Rose Sustainable Growth Fund;
  • Malcolm Lewis, president of CTG Energetics and a leading green building engineering consultant;
  • Ray Anderson, the founder and chairman of Interface Inc.

Peter Liu, the bank's founder and Vice Chairman, said, “We are fortunate to have easy access to experts who have studied the cost-and-benefit of green building features as well as business leaders who have been financially successful in developing green.”

Since its opening in November, the bank has financed a number of green projects in California including a housing development that is aiming to achieve a USGBC LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification for homes in Martinez and smart growth, transit friendly projects in the urban cores in Berkeley and Oakland as well as in the Sonoma wine country.

New Resource Bank's unique position as a bank that focuses on financing sustainable resources has allowed it to draw like-minded depositors. With its current office in San Francisco, the bank has attracted depositors from as far as New York, Tennessee and Virginia.

This brand-driven deposit gathering helps it to pass on cost savings in deposit acquisition to its green lending. Greg Kats, who has seen a lot of green financing efforts in his career, says, “This bank is really a smart leader in offering something tangible to green developers -- real dollars and cents benefits, in addition to the opportunity to work with bank professionals who are more knowledgeable about green design issues.”

Another aspect of promoting green is the bank's effort to take the green into the community. Being a FDIC-insured institution, New Resource Bank must open its doors to all customers in its local community. However, community customers will also receive information and resources on how to make green work for their businesses and in their lives.

For example, the bank’s senior vice president for construction and real estate, Ron Steager, recently took conventional developer clients to the West Coast Green building conference to expose them to new green building options. “People see that green can be beautiful, green can be strong, green can be efficient and most importantly, green can be marketable,” said Liu.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Not all 'green' products save the world

That 'earth friendly' label looks nice, but shoppers need to ensure it's for real...


About four decades ago, environmentalists hit on an idea: People could help save Earth through their purchases, from recycled paper to organic food.

What took root then is a thicket today. "Green" products are big business, with Wal-Mart, The Home Depot and other retail giants joining a marketplace long served by small companies.
Consumers have several resources for weighing all the claims -- making sure, for example, that lumber really is from a properly logged forest or that a washing machine really does cut energy use.

"Sometimes the word 'green' or 'natural' is used more as a marketing approach instead of a commitment to the well-being of society," said Fran Teplitz, director of social investing programs for Co-op America, a group based in Washington that urges people to spend responsibly. "You need to peel back the layers to see what their true commitment to sustainability is."

Co-op America helps with its National Green Pages, a directory of businesses in line with its causes. The more conservative California Building Industry Association, for example, has joined in the effort with its Green Builder certification.

Clearly, green business is all over the political map. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed legislation aimed at reducing global warming. President Bush called on Americans to cut their gasoline use in his State of the Union speech.

The federal government monitors energy-efficiency claims for cars and appliances.
Companies large and small are touting their green practices as well as products. Dell computers come in less cardboard and foam packaging than they did before, and the company offers to recycle old systems of any brand. The Ford Motor Co. has cut down on hazardous materials and factory waste.

Consumers can learn about the cost of buying green products, which experts say can be equal to or less than conventional products.

Meeting the Green Builder standards, for example, could cost just a couple thousand dollars, said Don Mull, the Stockton, Calif.-based director of the program.

"When you're looking at a $300,000, $400,000 or $500,000 house, that's not a big number," he said.

A solar electric system is pricey up front, but the cost plunges with government subsidies aimed at reducing the use of polluting fuels.

On top of that, the owner can reduce or even eliminate bills from an electric utility.
"It's a no-brainer," said Steve Vella, owner of Acro Electric of Oakdale, Calif., which does solar installations.

"It increases the value of a home by 20 times the annual savings on the power bill. So, when other people are complaining about rate hikes, our customers are celebrating."