Whatcom Country in northern Washington State may be a small country but they’re making a big impact when it comes to green building and green homes. The county seat of Bellingham is also the home of Built Green. Built Green is a company dedicated to creating safer, healthier and more efficient homes. They strive to reduce the impact of construction and development while improving and protecting the natural resources of Whatcom County.
There are numerous valuable resources to protect in the area. Whatcom County sits right on the coast and borders Canada. It’s an area that is both lush and provides abundant opportunities to enjoy nature. From waterfalls and beachfront playgrounds to biking and hiking trails, it’s clear to any outsider that protecting the environment is important to the citizens of this lovely county. And the strides they’re making toward building sustainable homes is exciting.
The 11th Annual Imagine This! Home and Landscape Tour
This year’s tour highlighted some of the area’s best green building and smart growth practices. Whatcom homes on the tour included homes with affordable energy efficiency retrofits, solar panel installations, and inspiring stories of cost savings from energy efficiency upgrades.
Of special note were the homes that contained both organic and edible landscapes including a green roof home. Homes are awarded positions on the tour based on their innovative use of eco-friendly building materials, energy upgrades, sustainable design and more.
The Green Built Building Industry Association of Whatcom County features four primary initiatives for homes built in Whatcom County. They include:
Energy Efficiency. The energy efficiency program focuses on advanced framing and extra insulation. The advanced framing technique helps builders reduce construction costs while also increasing energy savings. The average uses 30% less lumber. It also results in cost savings and energy savings. Strategically locating and insulating the hot water heater also saves money as does the installation of energy efficient household appliances.
Indoor Air Quality. Green Built homes use renewable resources like bamboo for the flooring and reduce the use of carpeting as well as VOC paint. Air tightness and better ventilation all work to help improve the indoor air quality which can often be much more harmful than outdoor air pollution.
Conserving Natural Resources. Green Built homes use renewable and recycled building materials. They also use plastic lumber and engineered wood because it has a longer life and doesn’t leach chemicals into the soil like wood building products can.
Water Quality. The Built Green standard doesn’t stop with the home. They also design water collection systems for homes as well as porous paving applications to reduce runoff.
Whatcom homes are doing more than innovating, they’re changing the way communities are approached. The folks of Whatcom County and the city of Bellingham, Washington are setting the gold standard for eco-friendly homes, landscapes, and communities. It’s a place to look to when planning our own homes, neighborhoods, and community organizations.