Friday, January 9, 2009

Mainstream Green House

A little over a year ago, I decided to build a home. This decision came after exhaustive house hunting throughout Vancouver for over two years.
At just about the same time I had decided to build, I met Brandon Tauscher of Project Green Build (

Brandon and I discussed the green/sustainable construction movement in residential building. His goal is to move forward the green residential construction, via educcation of builders and the public, as well as through successful projects. It was then that the thought of building a 'green' home really came to fruition for me.

My goal with the Mainstream Green House is to build a home that is energy efficient and affordable. Our home must be comfortable to live in, achieve at least 50% in energy efficiency savings, and is within the affordability of middle income families. We will achieve these goals through intensive upfront planning and analysis of green materials and systems, all the while keeping in mind costs.

Since early 2008, we have been planning, studying, strategizing and assessing the green building market and avaialble green materials and technologies. Our project team includes Casey Wyckoff (LSW Architects), Bryan Knight (Myamoto Structural Engineers), Victoria Bradford (Comfort Interiors), Chuck Dougherty (Synergy Design), Roy Heikkala (Rite Menter Investments), Devin Blackshere (PBS Engineering + Environmental) and of course Brandon.

At this time, we continue to refine the floor plan and assess the green systems. Much of the green finish/building materials have been identified.

My hope is to be under construction by fall of 2009. The local media have prepared several articles about the home, and more about the Mainstream Green House is found at:


Jaynie Roberts said...

How refreshing to have an environmentally-friendly person involved in local government. Now if we could only get someone like you into the Mayor's seat. Oh, wait a are running for Mayor! Yay. Life is good. Good and Green. Jaynie Roberts

Tim Leavitt said...

Thank you Jaynie!
I've been fortunate to have the opportunity in my professional work (engineer) to design projects for Vancouver that help to improve our environment.

Of particular pride for me is the Burnt Bridge Creek Trail and Greenway Enhancement Project. I was the lead engineer for the design of the improvements that you now see when driving on Andresen Road between Mill Plain and 18th Street. The project includes new and expanded wetlands with literally thousands of plants for animal habitat and cleaning of water in the creek. The improvements also help prevent flooding of properties downstream in the creek. The trail has been wildly successful, as another link of the regional system Clark County.
Thanks so much for your support!

Anonymous said...

By now you know the cost estimate of your project. You might want to post that so we can judge for ourselves whether this is affordable. Too often in this town affordable means a two wage family with latch key child care arrangements.

Lew Waters said...

An example of a truly eco-friendly "Green Home" can be seen merely by looking to President George Bush's Crawford Texas Ranch House.

All of his measures might not be needed up here, but he does have such a "Green Home."

Tim Leavitt said...

Hi Anonymous -- At this time, we don't have a cost estimate for the house. We are continuing to evolve and improve the floorplan (to my personal liking). In addition, the property we thought was going to be available is no longer. So, our hunt continues for a suitable site. We hope to be further along later this year, and will certainly be posting details of our 'green' decisions and costs.

Thanks Lew for the heads-up on the President's ranch. I'll take a look!


Dotty said...

Hi Tim
My family has had great enjoyment from the Burnt Creek project. Listening to your points of view last Friday was refreahing and to hear that you are running for Mayor brought hope to me for a brighter future. We need someone that has the best interests of Vancouver and is fiscally responsible. I wish you luck and you have my vote for sure. I do think it will be helpful to your campaign to be more "connected" on the Internet and to use it as a tool to get your message out to the citizens of Vancouver.

Anonymous said...

Where are you at Tim on the Stormwater ordinance. Something about it that will hurt the environment?

Tim said...

Anonymous --

I believe the city should continue efforts to protect our natural resources (stormwater, habitat, groundwater, etc.) from degradation. Thus far, the City has done a commendable job...adopting a Critical Areas Ordinance (of which I was involved early-on in my planning commissioner days) that provides environmental protection from clearly damaging land use/development. The CAO is based on widely accepted and the latest understood science of natural resource protection.
Included in the CAO is protection of stormwater, via adoption of nearly all of the WA Dept of Ecology Western Washington Manual (for stormwater management). Of particular note is that the City has already adopted the water QUALITY provisions of the Manual...meaning that the City requires development to clean the stormwater before it is discharged either offsite or into the ground.

Now, in order for the City to obtain final approvals from WA DOE, the entirety of the Manual must be adopted. Unfortunately, there is one little glitch with the last bit to be adopted. That glitch has to do with how the QUANTITY of stormwater is managed. That glitch is causing great consternation.

My opinion is that the QUANTITY requirement by WA DOE is unreasonable and should be modified by either the Governor's Office or the Legislature. It should be modified to a requirement that simply is more appropriate (still protecting the environment), just more reasonable.

Probably more than you were looking for...but I felt the need to explain.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Tim. Still, there is a lot of flooding in those areas around and north of Costco. What is going to be done about that?

Anonymous said...

Hi, Tim. I reside in the Northwest Neighborhood where your Mainstream Green House was originally going to be built. I have committed to write ongoing updates for our NNA newsletter about the project, and I have 3 questions. Question 1: Some websites and articles have said you were originally going to build in the 4600 block of NW Grant Pl. – is that correct?

Questions 2 and 3: I just heard from Brandon Tauscher of Project GreenBuild that when the developer learned what you wanted to do, he raised the cost of the land. Is this true? Is this why you are now looking for a different site?

Q4: have you chosen a new site yet? Your last Comment on the subject was in January, so I thought more info might be available by now. Wherever you do end up, we who are avid fans and active members of the Green/Eco-mindful/Sustainable community applaud your commitment and wish you well. If you with your background, connections and smarts can't make this happen, what hope is there for the rest of us? Thanks.