Jared Silliker

GREENWORKS REALTY: Green House Hunters

by , 02/10/07

GreenWorks Realty, green home, Tony Case, Columbia City, Seattle, WA

Here at Inhabitat, we’ve covered many green building concepts, highlighted specific green homes, shown the latest in pre-fab projects, and introduced programs such as EcoBroker, LEED-Homes, Built Green and Energy Star. But it’s also important to acknowledge the people who help us future homeowners find and be aware of these green homes. This is the first in a series of green real estate highlights—firms from around the country that are helping homebuyers choose green. Our first stop is Seattle, a hotbed for green housing, where GreenWorks Realty is supporting a vision to create a more sustainable world.


GreenWorks’ sustainable home guru Eva Otto guided me around this exciting market. What may surprise you is that their primary focus is not new green homes. While more new spaces are hitting the market all the time, they only comprise a small percent of GreenWorks’ portfolio. To complement this area, GreenWorks offers its “Healthy Home Package” free to all its homebuyer clients. This service both educates and helps new owners make any home green. Cheers to that since restoration is one of the greenest you can do—re-using resources and occupying already developed land.

GreenWorks Realty, Letitia House, interior, Seattle, WA

If you buy a house with GreenWorks, they’ll set you up with an inspection and assessment to diagnose any indoor air quality and energy efficiency issues. Along with a set of renovation recommendations, homebuyers receive a binder of coupons and resources for continuing a green life. To execute this, GreenWorks has partnered with several local and national organizations including the Environmental Home Center, Flexcar, Pioneer Organics, and Chinook Book.

This service and other aspects of the company are products of the corporate values instilled from the very beginning by the farther-son founding duo of Louie and Ben Kaufman. GreenWorks employees bring many disciplines to the real estate industry including environmental studies, public policy, urban planning, and permaculture. Many are community activists and sit on a variety of boards. The firm also works with builders to evolve their green practices. GreenWorks agents will even help you with carbon off-setting and may also help you find a piece of land that can receive a green pre-fab project.

Lastly, GreenWorks has been hard at work within the real estate industry itself. The Northwest multiple listing service (NWMLS) is used by firms throughout the region, and GreenWorks has pushed a green agenda. They are working with groups such as Built Green to add selections for recognized home certifications and other green criteria.

E-mail Jared at jared [dot] silliker [at] gmail [dot] com if you have suggestions for other real estate firms to feature in this series.

+ GreenWorks Realty

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9 Comments

  1. sachin August 11, 2010 at 4:02 am

    Put the Kitchen at the other end, near the other rooms that need plumbing, it then acts as a sound barrier for the sleeping area and it reduces the amount of pipes required.
    http://www.greenliving9.com/

  2. Sachin August 11, 2010 at 1:48 am

    Not being an entomologist and not knowing many of the insects outside of what we find in greenhouses, I decided to determine exactly what we had found in the house. Of course, my boys were convinced that I was going to die. They watch entirely too many science fiction movies.
    http://www.greenliving9.com/

  3. WILLIAM ODONNELL February 19, 2007 at 6:21 pm

    CONGRATULATIONS EVA YOUR THE BEST.

  4. Nick Simpson February 13, 2007 at 3:43 pm

    I’m with Barry, anyone that thinks concrete – particularly in its virgin state – as a material is sustainable needs to look at the CO2 it produces. Plus the reuse value is pretty poor (it’s only really viable for use as hardcore or in gabions, which is pathetic when you look at the reuse of most other materials) to be honest…

    If you want that retaining wall to be sustainable, why don’t you use crushed recycled concrete (or some other reused large aggregate) inside gabions? They can be aethetically pleasing, provide drastically better drainage than pourous concrete and can have plants grown through them.

    If you were using magnesium based eco-concrete, where CO2 is actually “sucked” back into the cement during the concrete’s lifetime, or the concrete was mixed with GGBS (ground granulated blast-funace slag) which vastly dilutes the amount of cement needed, then you might have a case. But there are much more sustainable options available here.

    But to be fair, this is arguably nit-picking – the houses themselves look like beautiful, light, well made houses from what we can see of them so it’s definitely a big step in the right direction. But concrete really should be avoided where possible (although in a lot of places there’s no real substitute…).

  5. barry lehrman February 12, 2007 at 9:22 pm

    retaining walls are the least sustainable method of earthworks (even if they are built of high fly-ash, crushable concrete). From phyto-stabilization to not building on an erodible site, there are many things that the site design could have done to be more sustainable.

    For all you architects out there, what comes to mind when you think of sustainable sites? yeah, I thought so.
    The USGBC really dropped the ball in LEED v1.0-v2.2 in how they defining sustainable sites and has mislead a whole generation of architects… sigh- at least my work is well defined.

  6. Johnny Rose February 12, 2007 at 7:42 pm

    Why someone would even hint that Precast concrete is not sustainable is outright and just simply misinformed. Therefore I think Barry needs more education and less sarcasm. I’ve done concrete for 30 years and have gone back to almost every project and I have found unmoved , still standing and enviromentally friendly and wait, did someone say it can be reused. You bet . Eva Otto will move this country forward and informing us of our potential.
    Thank You Eva Stay Green

  7. Eva February 12, 2007 at 2:59 pm

    Precast concrete can be considered sustainble for several reasons. 1- it can be crushed and reused in another concrete project; 2 – it contains fly ash, a recycled waste product from coal burning plants that reduces the amount of concrete ratio; and 3- Porous concrete allows water to permate into soils, protecting the natural flow of hydrology and avoiding stormwater runoff. In this picture the purpose of the concrete is to hold up a steep hillside preventing erosion; providing form, function and sustainability.

  8. barry lehrman February 10, 2007 at 8:01 pm

    How are massive retaining walls of precast concrete sustainable???? those may be clean, low energy buildings, but that brutal mannerist scab in front of them misses the point entirely!

    oh, wait – that is sketchup’s best attempt at creating landscape architecture.

  9. Joanna February 10, 2007 at 2:07 pm

    Cheers to Eva! She helped me find a beautiful mid century home with a lake view that has great potential for our green remodel in a few years. GreenWorks is great!

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