Breaking news and resources from across the industry.

2021 Built Green Conference and Hammer Awards in Review

Posted on Oct 6, 2021 in:
  • Built Green News

Author: Sonja O'Claire, Built Green Program Manager

After a year of meeting virtually, we would like to extend a huge thank you to those who attended the in-person Built Green Conference that took place on September 16th at the Lynwood Convention Center. The day was filled with reunions, networking, and captivating sessions tackling everything from building science to policy to increasing inclusivity in our industry and communities.

2021 Built Green Conference session

Throughout the day the year’s theme “Equitable Futures” was embraced by our speakers. The concepts of equity, adaptability, resiliency, and innovation were integrated across sessions that covered policies to retrofit and remodel existing building stock to reduce carbon emissions, field practices to promote cost-effective material and full-house salvaging and reuse, best practices to increase community engagement and support for inclusive communities, creating spaces and company culture that are conducive to a diverse workforce, and technical knowledge to design and build homes that can adapt to a changing climate.

Keynote Sam Rashkin

Our morning keynote Sam Rashkin of Retooling the U.S. Housing began the day by defining the future of housing through solution-based innovations to tackle the five crises impacting builders today. Rashkin challenged us all, “to address pain points related to user experience readiness, housing affordability, trade availability, productivity and digitization in our industry”. As one of the most fragmented industries, our producers, products, research, and innovation for problem solving is often too narrowly focused. Rashkin argues for “connecting the dots” through integrated innovations such as user experience optimizations, design optimization, mass-customization in building practices, and digitizing practices through emerging SaaS Data Aggregation. We recommend checking out Sam Rashkin’s forthcoming book Housing 2.0: A Disruption Survival Guide for more information surrounding these concepts and more!

Following our keynote address, conference goers had the opportunity to attend sessions from four different tracks: The Future is Here, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Equitable Transitions, and Resilient Structures. The sessions topics ranged from addressing how community engagement can inform design processes, examining the carbon accounting benefits of moving a house, implementable material salvaging and reuse, concepts driving Washington State Energy Code (WSEC-R) forward and a multi-sector panels discussing the policies and programs needed to address emissions from existing buildings.

Session Highlights and Take-Aways

Grace Kim, Schemata Workshop, Donald King, Mimar Studio, and Brian Runberg, Runberg Architecture Group, described the extensive effort they took to engage with Seattle’s Central District community on the 23rd and Jackson project. Over the course of 2 years and over 100 meetings with community members they delivered a multifamily mixed-use development, that included affordable housing units and small business incubator spaces, that was whole-heartedly supported by the community and seen as a community asset. From the start they approached the community with humbleness and no predetermined designs, using instead a call-and-response design process with community members. This collaborative process, while time-consuming, helped to built active engagement by community members that in turn smoothed the design board review process and reduced costly redesigns.

“We can’t stop gentrification, but we can look at how we can be more inclusive in our development and design.” – Donald King

2021 Built Green Conference session

Jeff McCord with House to Home explained embodied carbon accounting benefits of moving a house for another century of use through a triaged approach: rehab, repurpose, move, and salvage. Jeff McCord explained how 20% to 40% of landfill space is taken by construction and demolition debris. McCord stated that “moving a house, when possible, is one of the single greatest ways the embodied carbon from that house and waste generated from construction and demolition can be saved.”

Dan Wildenhaus of BetterBuilt NW and Poppy Storm of 2050 Institute explained how we are currently witnessing a market transformation imperative. Wildenhaus explained that by “2035 every new thing that goes into a new building, or existing one, will need to be high efficiency and electric”. Poppy furthered that “by 2030 we have to achieve emissions below that of 1990, and then by 2050 we must be carbon neutral. This is a tall order with a tight timeline that will require innovations in streamlining equipment and envelope design.”

Greg Davenport with Mitsubishi Electric had the opportunity to present the South Perry Blockhouse Life Project in Spokane that includes many green building features and innovations; such as cross laminated timber, solar power production, off-site building customization, and high-density, transit oriented designs.

Karen Dove, ANEW, Jay Pershing, WELD Seattle, and Sarah Smith, Sawhorse Revolution, each work in different ways to develop more inclusivity and representation within the building and construction industries. The largest challenge faced by the individuals they work with are barriers created by detrimental workplace culture once they enter the industry. Karen recalled one firm she worked with that hired five women trades people - and due to the poor workplace culture and harassment they experienced - once their apprenticeship ended they left the industry, at a replacement cost of $200,000. Shifting the culture in a company to view inclusivity as an issue of safety and productivity is critical to being successful in recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce.

With Covid vaccination being required for all attendees, and plenty of room to accommodate social distancing, throughout the day our community was once again able to come together to share ideas and catch up with friends. Even with masks in place we could see all the smiling eyes and hear the joy in people’s voices as they were able to connect in a way that cannot be replicated over a computer screen.

2021 Built Green Conference attendees

2021 Built Green Hammer Awards

As per tradition, we recognized Built Green’s outstanding builders and advocates during our annual Built Green Hammer Award ceremony. The best projects from the past year were highlighted and Built Green supporters were recognized for their contributions to the program. This year the award plaques were made from old-growth cedar planks that were salvaged from a submerged house boat foundation that was removed from Lake Union.

Hammer Award Winners - Dwell

Award Category: Builder, Custom or Small Speculative, less than 10 homes

Winner: Dwell Development

Description: Dwell Development is an award-winning, sustainable residential builder. Dwell Development is founded in the belief that sustainable, efficient design can create a better tomorrow. Their projects in the past year have averaged well above 600 points and are energy efficient featuring high performance properties and sleek modern designs. Along a few blocks on Bagley Ave. N there are three new Built Green 5-Star certified, net-zero energy homes. To learn more about these projects, read the Built Green case study.

Award Category: Builder, Small Production, 10 to 100 homes

Winner: Greencity Development

Description: Greencity Development strives to create a burden free process within our industry that benefits workers, customers, and the environment. Their townhomes feature contemporary stylings with open floor plans and windows that fill the rooms with natural lighting. Sleek kitchens, luxury master suites with spa-like baths and grand rooftop decks combine comfort with sustainability.

Hammer Award Winners - Greencity

Hammer Award Winners - Isola

Award Category: Builder, Large Production, over 100 homes

Winner: Isola Homes

Description: Isola Homes is a locally owned company dedicated to providing quality contributions to Seattle’s neighborhoods by embracing sustainable design and focusing on environmental stewardship. Over the past year, Isola Homes has continued to focus on maximizing the sustainability of their homes by expanding their standard features to include amenities like AeroBarrier technology, community bike racks, and drought-tolerant landscaping.

Award Category: Builder, Small Multifamily, less than 50 units

Winner: New Image LLC

Project: 4724 31st Ave S, Seattle

Description: The Heathrow Apartments, is a new design and construction project of nine small efficiency dwelling units around 350 Sq. Feet each, located in Columbia City neighborhood. Highlights of this building are its use of over 1700 board feet of salvaged lumber, utilization of cross laminated timber for load bearing beams and a whopping energy improvement of 53% over the 2015 WSEC!

Hammer Award Winners - New Image

Hammer Award Winners - Interbay Apts

Award Category: Builder, Large Multifamily, 50 to 150 Units

Winner: Interbay Apts LLC

Project: 3008 16th Ave W, Seattle

Description: The 93-unit 4-Star Built Green Ivy Apartment complex nestled between the Magnolia Bridge and Ballard’s Salmon Bay is a stunning sustainable project including a predicted annual energy consumption 20% less than that of a corresponding baseline building. The project also features a vegetated roof deck, Energy Star fixtures, locally produced materials, and recirculation pump hot water systems.

Award Category: Builder, Large Multifamily, over 150 Units

Winner: Weber Thompson

Project: 125 Boren Ave S, Seattle

Description: Weber Thompson is an award-winning architecture, interior design, and landscape architecture firm recognized nationally for their green building expertise and leadership in sustainable design solutions. The Modera First Hill project features 288 apartments that are uniquely situated to celebrate the history of the area while also looking ahead to everything that is innovative and shifting within the community. Amenities provided to residents include a yoga and fitness room, game room, rooftop deck with stunning views of Mount Rainier and a pet-friendly spa and dog run.

Hammer Award Winners - Weber

Hammer Award Winners - Model Remodel

Award Category: Builder, Remodel

Winner: Model Remodel

Project: Kirkland, 4-star Remodel

Description: This 4-Star Built Green Certified Remodel in Kirkland upgrading the existing home with energy-efficient systems, Energy Star appliances, EV charging, reclaimed flooring, a roof built for solar panels and more. This year they are aiming for another 4-Star remodel certification and are excited to be constantly improving their blower door test results to create the most efficient remodels they can.

Hammer Award Winners - Brett Marlo

Award Category: Built Green Advocate Private Sector

Winner: Brett Marlo

Description: Brett leads a small sustainable team as founder of Brett Marlo Design Build specializing in DADUs and ADUs and other small footprint dreams. In addition to advocating for Built Green across the Tacoma area, she serves on several boards including the City of Gig Harbor Building Codes Advisory Board, City of Gig Harbor Design Review Board and Rotary with a passion to serve community.

Award Category: Built Green Advocate Public Sector

Winner: Beth Jarot

Description: Beth Jarot serves as the Resilient & Green Building Specialist at the City of Tacoma with the Office of Environmental Policy & Sustainability. She coordinates sustainable building policy and programming efforts for the City through collaboration with Environmental Services, Planning & Development Services, Community & Economic Development and Tacoma Public Utilities. She has been a critical partner to bring Built Green into the Tacoma market once again and to develop and advocate for more green building incentives for our members.

Hammer Award Winners - Beth Jarot

Hammer Award Winners - Dan Wildenhaus

Award Category: Built Green Pioneer

Winner: Dan Wildenhaus

Description: Dan currently provides Building Science consultation, technical management, market channel development, and training and presentation services for a variety of programs across the country. For many years Dan has been an incredible partner and asset to the Built Green program, providing countless hours of guidance, consultation, and advocacy.

Award Category: Built Green Pioneer

Winner: Ted Clifton

Description: Ted Clifton is the Co-Owner and founder of TC Legend Homes. Over the last several years TC Legend Homes have built over 28 Built Green certified homes, including Seattle’s first Emerald Star certified home, making them a leader in the Sustainable Housing Industry in Washington State. For many years Ted has continually shared his passion and wealth of experience and knowledge of proven strategies with the Built Green Community to improve homes across our region.

Hammer Award Winners - Ted Clifton

Hammer Award Winners - Targa

Award Category: Project of the Year

Winner: Targa Homes

Project: Crown Hill DADU

Description: With a goal of Built Green 5-star on every project, Targa Homes is committed to a holistic sustainability approach. The Crown Hill DADU was framed with locally reclaimed lumber and features a 2x4 wall with exterior continuous insulation. Built on a unique Diamond Pier foundation to minimize impact, the home achieved high levels of air tightness and employs an Energy Recovery Ventilator for continuous fresh filtered air. To learn more about this project, read the Built Green case study.

We hope everyone who came to the conference learned something new, reunited with old friends, and walked away feeling inspired. We hope to see you next year!


Help us build a sound future.