Portland’s Earth Advantage Institute is Serving Up Some Smart Classes!

February 26th, 2014 by Krystal

Aaron and I are always looking for ways to get the word out to the real estate community about how important energy efficiency and sustainability is in this market. When we launched the Green Genius program – it was our biggest effort to promote those instructors and schools who are building cutting-edge curriculum that keeps with the pace of industry changes. Today Aaron had the chance to fill in for me in Portland while I truck away on our Annual Report (keep your eyes peeled for that soon!). I was eager to attend a class at Earth Advantage Institute to see how they are embracing a greener market – especially since we have our hearts set on having a few Portland projects in our Work In Progress by the fall! Fingers crossed… Here is what Aaron had to say about the class this morning :) Thanks EAI!

From the desk of our CEO.

“Got up and drove to Portland at 4:30 this morning to attend a class at Earth Advantage Institute entitled, “Marketing for Green Homes”.
 
Well done EAI! Absolutely worth the drive. Loved the class and took away several great nuggets of information. Keep these coming. Green Canopy and our Green Genius Program highly endorses this class and we hope to promote the class if it is ever offered again.
 
The instructor, Erik Cathart, the Director of Marketing and Strategy at Earth Advantage, was knowledgeable, funny and very engaging. 
 
My hat’s off to you guys… Seriously, I took my hat off during the class! And if you know me, you know I rarely remove the trucker hat… ;-)

Green Canopy & Climate Solutions Host the First Empower Happy Hour

February 1st, 2014 by Krystal

HeaderImg_Empower_29v3The inaugural Empower Happy Hour  this past Wednesday was an amazing success . Thank you for coming and helping to advance the discussion! And a special thanks to our co-host, Climate Solutions, for providing such a compelling topic to anchor the event! We had maybe 100 people attend and I spoke with several folks that were very appreciative for the opportunity to come together around the topic of the evening. We will certainly do this again.

Many conversations were held addressing the question, “How can clean energy gain broad support as an engine of shared prosperity and sustainable economic opportunity?” Many conversations spun out from this question to tackle neighboring themes. Here are some responses I heard from the evening:

“Democratizing capital to allow the non-wealthy to invest in clean tech companies and solutions.”

“ Tie social welfare programatic funding to clean tech incentives or taxes or messages, etc. Create a ‘What’s in it for me’ by connecting government programs to help the poor to our clean tech solutions of the future. “This program partially paid for by wind power wind falls…” you get the idea.

“ Educate, educate, educate… and start educating our children about our environmental challenges at the earliest ages possible.”

“ Demonstrate through stories how the clean energy economy helps builds the middle class, and offers family-wage jobs and more sustainable livelihoods than those tied to fossil fuels.”

“ Share and explore solution stories from oversees in the developing world that can inspire similar approaches here in the United States.”

Green Canopy has a special mission to inspire resource efficiency in residential markets, and it certainly is an inspiration to us to see a crowd come together to advance the discussion around topics that align with our mission. Thanks again to everyone for coming – and please join the conversation on Facebook #EmpowerHappyHour.

Until next time!

Last Courtyard in Paradise

November 27th, 2013 by Krystal

Front 02View this project on Houzz.  It is 38 degrees and sunny in Seattle – a forecast that is quite unusual for the Pacific Northwest. Despite the chill, I step into a home that is warm, cozy and filled with light. I love it. I know I say this about all of our Green Canopy Homes – but this one is truly a green dream home. Miriam is amazing.

Today I am meeting Ryan onsite. He is one of our most talented PM’s and is churning this home out nearly one month ahead of schedule. Impressive, Ryan ;)

Before we get started – it almost goes without saying – the most special thing about Miriam, is the interior courtyard.  We both enthusiastically agree. It is an amazing and quiet meditative space in the very heart of the home. The entire project seems to be planned around this space. The path from the front door to the courtyard makes me think of a conch shell – with a circuitous flow from the public entry and entertainment areas, spiraling inward to the heart of the home.

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Ryan gives me a tour of the home and we talk about the project and the components that help us achieve that Green Canopy VIBE. Value –Innovation – Beauty – Efficiency. Every Green Canopy Home grows from these 4 roots.

Value

  • Neighborhood – This home is walking distance (Walkscore 80) to both Seattle Children’s and U-Village as well as some cute local shops on 55th.
  • Energy Savings - With the power of an 18kW Heat Pump unit blowing overhead – a 32 degree day in Seattle is unnoticeable indoors. AND with a test-out score of 15,000kWh/year this home is definitely going to be a money-saver!

Beauty

  • We already said it once – but here it is again. INDOOR COURTYARDS ROCK YOUR SOCKS OFF! Literally! We joked that you could enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning in your birthday suit, but no one could see you… basically you’re inside, but you are really outside! Fun.
  • Highest Ceilings Ever. Move over downtown lofts and luxury condos… we have 20’ ceilings in this home too.
  • That’s quite the fine façade. A mix of materials, color and the right proportions give this modern home a humanscale touch. Modern architecture often gets a lot of slack for being too “monumental” but Miriam not only has a dynamic façade but the massing is similar to other homes on the block. It makes for an eclectic but appropriately scaled home on the street that reflects similar massing and structures without copy-catting or invoking the “neo-crapsman”  builder style

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  • New Stair Spec! Its always exciting when our PM’s are able to create win’s for the company that can be repeated over and over again throughout our homes. This spec combines precast concrete treads with reclaimed beams from another Green Canopy Home. It’s a bit more expensive but the installation is faster. WIN
  • Re-envisioning a courtyard - Green Canopy was fortunate to salvage this homes original footprint – which is how we managed to get the inner courtyard in the first place! The original floor plan was a U-Shape with a courtyard that opened onto a full yard – we closed the loop, so to speak, and enclosed that fantastic space.
  • New bamboo closet systems! Pretty and renewable!

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Energy Efficiency

  • The original home on this lot tested in at 22,000kWh and tested out at 15kWh. While that is an impressive transformation – Ryan, who is also our HVAC guru, has created a personal goal to have his homes test out at 14,000kWh. Go Ryan!
  • All of homes have the bells and whistles of the Energy Efficiency Seal - the 4th root in our 4 Roots. It also has some additional features that are pretty cool: Convection cook-top range (a product that seemingly works via magic and was created by wizards); As well as Bottom-loading freezer. Why is this efficient? The short answer: Cold air sinks – when you open your freezer air escapes more easily if it is up top. Period. We are just keeping the air where it wants to be.

Miriam is an all-around classy and unique home – that was recently snatched up in our new Presale program.

Happy Holidays!

Additional Photos on Remodeling and Home Design

Gearing Up For Fall OR Six Reasons We Did Not Blog This Summer

October 16th, 2013 by Krystal

So blogging during the summer was a bust for Green Canopy – clearly. I can offer any number of excuses, and I will, but let’s first just say that reading blogs about residential real estate, building, the economy or any number of relevant-to-work-not-pleasure topics while on vacation is not something that Green Canopy endorses anyway. We hope you all had an amazing summer. And now that you are gearing up for the holidays and getting back into the swing of working, school, shorter days and rainy weather that keeps you inside and perhaps on the computer longer – we hope that you will come back to our blog.

There is a lot going on at Green Canopy and we are now considering switching things up a bit with the blog. We are going back to our roots. Our 4 Roots to be exact. Instead of focusing solely on the real estate market we will be blogging under the themes of Value, Innovation, Beauty and Energy Efficiency. Every Green Canopy Home grows from these 4 Roots and we are working hard to develop a program that defines each of these and answers the question “What is a Green Canopy Home?” Many of you may have read about our 3 Roots and our Brand Pillars, V.I.B.E., and this is something that we have decided to simplify and combine into one cohesive concept. We want to put our work out there in a way that is transparent and inspirational in a message that comes from our whole team and not just the geeky marketing genius that is me. I will be interviewing our project managers, photographing and documenting our projects and process to share with the world. Sure this has been done before – but not by us. And so what? We have a story to tell and a lot of cool behind-the-scenes shenanigans to share. Join us!

6 Reasons why Green Canopy did not blog this summer:

  1. Umm… the weather. More time spent outside digging in the dirt and enjoying the Emerald City in the way it was meant to be enjoyed. Best. Summers. On. The. Planet.
  2. Too much going on. Green Canopy moved from Fremont to Georgetown (there is still a draft blog about this sitting in the queue -  and while it was fantastically funny, it just never got released or finished – email me if you are interested in reading a draft blog about our move).
  3. Too much going on Part 2. We launched a number of things this summer including Green Canopy Custom, our Presale Program and have been working on the Green Genius Awards behind the scenes.  A lot to blog about without a lot of time.
  4. Alder Fund. In case you haven’t read about this here is the Press Release from a couple of weeks ago. Green Canopy was busy this summer raising millions of investment dollars (literally) to fund the construction of our homes so we can keep churning out the good work!
  5. Children and babies and family and fun. While it may look like Green Canopy never stops, having just purchased our 50th property (GO US). We do stop and make time for family. I could take a moment to blog in the evening when I get home – but sometimes the weather is just too perfect and a family walk is more exciting than a blog. Not to mention – our very own VP of Operations is now a new DAD! Congrats to him and his family. We really cannot wait until he returns. Our CEO can hardly manage without him.
  6. And the 6th reason why we did not blog… Well, let’s just chalk it up to Growth. We are growing. We are hiring, we are getting bigger and better and bolder than ever before. We are succeeding and we are rocking Seattle’s socks off. We are building homes as well as relationships and making the tides rise because that’s what we, as builders, do during the summer to help us get through the winter.

So stay tuned for the good and the bad to come through the seasons.

Thanks!

The Green Canopy Team

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New Classes Starting this Summer!

June 19th, 2013 by Krystal

BiAnnual Schedule Flier

BiAnnual Schedule Flier

Limited Supply Fuels Appreciation… for now

May 28th, 2013 by Krystal

I have been writing for months now about the lack of supply in our market. As a result of the limited supply the market made a radical shift around this time last year from a being a buyers’ market to being a sellers’ market. Currently it is not uncommon for us to receive multiple offers on our homes, or for them to sell over our original list price. This begs the question, how long can this last?
Inman reports that homebuilders are beginning to kick it up a notch and build more homes in response to the lack of supply, and yet 90% of home sales in the U.S. are existing home sales, or re-sales. It is my belief that, in Seattle, the market will continue its heated rate of appreciation fueled by the supply constraints; however it will slowly taper off as home values continue to climb. When existing homeowners begin to realize greater equity, they will begin to have the ability to sell their home and use the proceeds to buy a better home. As more and more homeowners contemplate selling and begin to take action, the lack of supply will gradually disappear and supply and demand will equilibrate. When that comes to pass home appreciation rates will level off and normalize.

Inman News
Given that Seattle has an unemployment rate under 6% it is hard to say just when supply and demand will come into balance. This is still one heck of a desirable town to live in and it seems like the majority of our homebuyers are coming from out of town for job related reasons. As the local unemployment rate continues its decline toward full employment, home values will continue to rise fueled by more demand than supply. Given this influx of homebuyers into the area we could be realizing an appreciation trend line that will outpace the rest of the country for months to come.

Why Don’t Agents Bike To Work?

May 15th, 2013 by Krystal

BikeToWorkThere are a million reasons. Period. What a hassle. Period. BUT… Can it be done?

In celebration of Bike to Work Month/Week/Day here in Seattle – I thought I would challenge Agents (especially our greenie followers) to challenge their notions of why it is impossible to be a bike commuter in this line of work (i.e. real estate).

I recently read an article in Wired Magazine about some tech-guy out of Portland. I have no idea what the article was about – but I do remember one of the interview questions. The reporter asked if Portland was indeed like the show Portlandia. Hilarious show, right?

And his answer was: It’s pretty close to the real thing.” He goes on to state that his most “Portlandia Moment” was reading a bike blog that was discussing a new tow-able hot tub. Commenters were excited about the possibilities and even went so far as to discuss mobile midwives being a primary user of the tow-able hot tub! (WTF?)

While the blog comments also dive into other harebrained uses for the tow-able hot tub, I am left scratching my head. If Portland has Bike to Work Midwives, why can’t Seattle have Bike to Work Real Estate Agents?  Why is this idea so far-fetched?

In comparison – it seems like a pretty doable business model and maybe even a clever way of making a sale.

Imagine it: You’ve got a client couple (maybe even relocating from Portland) who work at Googlezon and want to see a few homes in Ballard. You meet them at the home on your bike, help them unload theirs from their Suburu Outback, look at the home and muse about the neighborhood. Then you take them to the next home while stopping to sip some water in a nearby park, muse about how awesome it is to be so close to the park. Onward to the next home! Talk about the bike lanes, then finish off near Burke Gilman for a beer at Populuxe Brewery and grab a bite from their food truck Fridays! Wow, Ballard is awesome via Bike! Let’s buy that super energy efficient home and save money on Energy and Gas! We <3 Seattle! All without having to circle Ballard at 5pm to find parking (that in itself is a huge time-saver)!

Here is a sample map using several available Green Canopy Homes!  LucyDinah & Maritime Lofts.

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I asked our resident cyclist, Canuche (who bikes or runs to work EVERY DAY, like a total goon) what are some tips for Agents who may want to try out some different wheels for Bike To Work Day this Friday.

Here are his tips for making this doable:

Plan in Advance: Plot out your course and see if your client would be up for it!

Don’t go overboard. Maybe you want to show two houses in the neighborhood/maybe just one? Maybe you show them a place and you bike to a coffee shop to talk about it.

Bring Water: In a reusable bottle, of course.

Don’t overthink it: You don’t need a lot of gear to have a relaxing time and you don’t need to look like you just finished the Tour-de-France when biking 1 mile between homes.

Don’t invite the clients: Maybe this is just something you do for yourself – to stay fit, be healthy and enjoy the competition and the FUN of Bike to Work Month.

While Portland is CLEARLY number 1 on the country’s most bikable cities, Seattle is still in the top 10 (according to Walkscore). Bike to Work on Friday or Any DAY in May! You can find more tips for Biking here, at Cascade Bicycle Club. They are The producer’s of the Bike to Work Challenge here in Seattle and can help anyone get started!

If our construction guys can do it…. So can our agents, right? (Yes, some of Construction Project Managers have been biking this month!)

Marketing for Real Estate Made Easy or "Never listen to a Builder because we aren't experts in Real Estate Marketing"

May 7th, 2013 by Krystal

Even though I am the Marketing Manager for a builder (AKA the Marketing GENIUS or self-proclaimed M-architect) – I don’t pretend to know the many nuances and facets of the WORLD of real-estate marketing and I don’t pretend to assume that we do a great job of it ourselves. What I do know is that we try really hard, and working with agents has given us a 1-up. From what I can tell marketing for real estate can get pretty complicated – and the rewards of your efforts are not always measurable.

To do it well, real estate agents have to be graphic designers, web designers, bloggers, social media gurus, public speakers, PR aficionados, salesmen(women), community activists, construction experts, design experts, neighborhood experts… the list certainly goes on.

What I also know – is that Agents have a world of tech at their fingertips to make their jobs “easier” (harder) and “less complicated” (super complicated). There are a million different ways to connect with clients and my feeling (totally un-researched) tells me that most of this is happening online.

In an effort to understand this phenomenon and to try and keep up with our Agent associates I have been trying to do more research. One of our Certified Energy Agents recently kicked this my way, and I have to say – I LOVE IT! These guys are apparently pretty hot in the real estate biz and they host an outrageous Google Hangout (yes people use Google Hangouts! WTF) about Real Estate Marketing. Their live video chats and interviews have been translated into iTune’s #1 Business Podcast – and for good reasons.

Chris Smith is entertaining and whip-smart i.e. not boring at all. So, take a minute or 45 and Watch/Listen/Learn about what you could be doing to boost your marketing efforts from these pros at the WaterCooler. Their live show airs every Wednesday evening at 9:15 EST and if you can figure out your Google+ Account, you can join them or watch them here.

You can also catch all of the past episodes on their Youtube Channel.