Unlike past installments of “Evergreen homes” — a series of posts in which I spotlight great green homes from my home state of Washington — this month's featured home isn't anything to gawk at in the architecture department nor is it somewhere where you'd want to live. Or even spend a night. Still, EnviroHouse, located in Tacoma (my hometown and the location of the U.S. Green Building Council's 10,000th LEED-certified residential project, Salishan 7) is worthy of "Evergreen home" status.
Situated at the entrance of the City of Tacoma Landfill (yep, you read that right), EnviroHouse is billed as the Puget Sound's one and only permanent green demo home. Open to the public for free tours five days a week (operating hours listed below), the home is chock full of more than 150 environmentally sustainable products and materials meant to inspire homeowners, builders, landscapers, realtors, and the eco-curious general public.
Why the dumpy location you ask? For one, the demo home is a joint collaboration among the City of Tacoma Solid Waste Management, Wastewater Management and Surface Water Management, Tacoma Power, Tacoma Water, and the Master Builders Association of Pierce County, so it does kind of make sense. Also, EnviroHouse is in the same complex as the city's recycling center, making for a nice little detour after dropping off your recyclables. It also doesn't hurt that there's a Home Depot down the street for post-visit LED and rain barrel shopping.
A brief sampling of the ideas and products on display at the EnviroHouse:
• Water-efficient appliances and bath and kitchen fixtures
• Energy-efficient light bulbs and appliances
• Low E windows
• Soy-based insulation
• Cork and bamboo flooring and recycled content carpeting, countertops, furniture, and tile
• Zero-VOC/nontoxic paints, finishes, wall coverings, and furnishings (is that a SAYL Chair I spy in the photo above?)
• Water-efficient lawn/garden irrigation system including rain barrels
• Synthetic turf grass made from recycled tires and drought-resistant buffalo grass
• Recycled content decking
• Nontoxic cleaning products
Not too shabby. In addition to showcasing the above, EnviroHouse also hosts numerous free, green-minded home and garden workshops on a weekly basis. Upcoming workshops include seminars on yard waste and worm bin composting, (August 13), green roof design (August 20), and eco-friendly interior design (August 27). Who knew a trip to the dump could be so informative?
Recent "Evergreen homes":