green building

Tom Banse

The homes of the future will come with remarkably low heating bills. At least that's the hope of a Portland-based nonprofit group showcasing 13 super-energy efficient homes in four Northwest states. The question is: can you afford to buy one of these houses?

The model homes are scattered among many of the big cities in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana. The houses don't look unusual from the outside. But all have been designed to use at least 30 percent less energy.

Bellamy Pailthorp Photo / KPLU News

A prototype of a self-sustaining portable classroom has arrived at a parking lot in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood.

The classroom is meant to set a higher bar for schools by demonstrating they can meet the highest standard of green building design, the Living Building Challenge, fairly quickly. 

Bellamy Pailthorp Photo / KPLU News

Seattle has been in the spotlight lately as the home to the world’s greenest new office building, the Bullitt Center. Also under construction is the headquarters of Brooks Sports in Fremont, which promises to be “deep green.”

But what about all the buildings that are already standing?

Courtesy Skanska USA

Seattle is leading the way in environmentally-sound building design. Sweden’s international construction firm Skanska has broken ground on a building in Fremont that promises to bring a whole new level of green to the city. 

Courtesy of the Mariners

The Mariners might not be topping their league for play this season. But when it comes to sustainability, they say they’ve got a winning team.

Right at the top of the lineup for dealing with trash is a chemical company that has a new formula for packaging the peanuts you buy at the ballpark. It's BASF. Remember the cassette tapes they used to make? The German chemicals giant is a big sponsor now of the Mariners. Local compost producer Cedar Grove is also in on the deal.

Photo by Nicole Kistler / courtesy Kistler | Higbee Cahoot

It’s a first-of-its-kind in Seattle and perhaps even the country. Over the weekend, the city celebrated the opening of its first-ever rooftop community garden.  

Its design is garnering interest from around the region, as urban planners look for ways to integrate more open space and urban agriculture into increasingly dense neighborhoods.

Thirteen of Clubs photo / Flickr

It’s the single largest source of pollution entering Puget Sound – rain that hits pavement and carries grease, metals and other toxins into the water.

The Department of Ecology has just issued new rules that aim to keep stormwater runoff in check. However, several environmental groups complain the new rules are full of loopholes.

Liam Moriarty / KPLU News

Major league sports teams in the Northwest have been recycling, composting food waste, cutting their power use and more.

Consider the Mariners. From 2006-2009, the team:

  • reduced natural gas use by 60 percent
  • reduced electricity use by 30 percent
  • reduced water use by 15 percent

Now, the Mariners and other teams from Seattle, Portland and Vancouver B.C. are forming a non-profit with the goal of spreading the green gospel to stadiums nationwide.