It makes me happy when the city where I was born and raised, Tacoma, Wash., gets good, green press. This gorgeously gritty blue-collar port town with a distinct aroma and a namesake pickup truck has gone through a few rough patches in the past but things are on the mend. Yesterday’s news that a home built in my childhood 'hood is so green that even the county’s green building association doesn’t know what to make of it warms my NYC expat heart.

You can watch a video about the construction of the $600,000-plus, 2,3000-square-foot green home here, but here's a bit of background info before you watch:


The home belongs to Gillian and John Chappell, an eco-savvy couple who demanded that their new home be built green through and through even though folks like Duke York, the builder and a former president of the Master Builders of Pierce County (disclosure: Mr. York is a family friend), weren’t exactly on the same page at first. Mrs. Chappell apparently also made some subcontractors cry.


Explains York in The Tacoma News Tribune:


John says to me, ‘Now, you’ve built Rastra houses before, haven’t you?’ And I looked at him with my head tilted to one side like a puppy looks at you when it doesn’t understand a word you’re saying.

In the end, York and the rest of the building crew clearly understand the benefits, drawbacks, and newness (the Master Builders’ Tacoma-Pierce County Built Green Program had to revise its energy rating system from three stars to five because the Chappell home was so off the charts green) of building green and the Chappell’s desire to “think, build, feel, and live differently and better.”


Here’s a few of the many green specs:

  • The use of reclaimed land with excavated soil that was stored and then reused for landscaping.
  • Roof-top solar panels that generate enough electricity to turn a profit (notable considering Tacoma’s typically grey weather)
  • Rastra insulation
  • Grey water treatment system
  • Rainwater collection system
  • Zero VOC paint, caulks etc.
  • Eco-friendly décor touches like a dining room table made from salvaged wood and organic fiber window treatments.  

And attn T-town residents if you're reading this: Saturday is the city's first annual Clean Sweep neighborhood cleanup event. Look into it.


Via [The Tacoma News Tribune]

Also on MNN: 

• Washington heat wave? MNN's state correspondent gets a break from the rain ... but it feels weird.

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Hometown green home pride
A $600,000 home in Tacoma, Wash., is so green that it shakes up the county's green building association ... in a good way.