Winner: Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King County
Sustainable, efficient building has always Been a cornerstone of Habitat for Humanity’s worldwide mission. But the local affiliate of the international housing organization has broken new ground lately.
Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King County’s homes are outfitted with high-efficiency furnaces and water heaters, low-flow water fixtures and Energy Star appliances. Since 2009, the local Habitat affiliate has built 21 four-star-certified Built Green homes and 10 three-star homes. In that same period, the nonprofit sold nearly 2,500 tons of used home materials and furnishings at its Habitat Store locations in Seattle and Bellevue, representing a significant diversion of waste from area landfills. It also recycled an average of 85 percent of construction waste from its building projects.
Habitat Seattle-King County plans to continue this green trend with a stated goal of achieving Net Zero certification on all of its projects by the year 2030. The organization is well on its way: Its Rainier Vista housing development is expected to become its first LEED Gold certified project.
Silver: Northwest SEED
Northwest SEED (which is short for Sustainable Energy for Economic Development) is a small nonprofit with a big goal: to bring clean, renewable energy systems into local communities. The group assisted Seattle City Light in deploying its landmark Community Solar projects, which allow ratepayers to buy portions of a large photovoltaic array and receive a proportionate credit for the array’s energy production. On a neighborhood scale, SEED has implemented a half dozen Solarize Washington projects, which allow interested neighbors to buy solar arrays in bulk. The resulting community investments have created 1.2 megawatts of power production. SEED has also worked with local tribal agencies to improve residential energy efficiency, and is currently working to streamline the market for solar energy as a member of the Evergreen State Solar Partnership.