The Future of Sustainable Building: Built Green Conference 2016


On Tuesday, several members from the Model Remodel team attended the Built Green Conference held at Cascadia College in Bothell, WA. We send a few members to every green building conference each year so that we can stay current on trends and remain an active part of the discussion on the future of sustainable building. As Leah Missik, Built Green Program Manager, wrote in the event brochure “though understanding how green building is connected with complex issues such as equity, health, and climate change can be daunting, it is incredibly heartening to know that as we improve in one area, we also rise in others.” As a builder, we are committed to building in a way that is structurally sound, but also environmentally-friendly. We do this because we believe it to be right, it is a shared-value of our entire team, and it is the only way to build for the future. This is a view we thankfully share with a large community of advocates in the Puget Sound area, and it was a pleasure hearing from and speaking with some of these great minds. As Shannon Affholter, Executive Director of the local Master Builders Association, said “It’s about being a good neighbor.”


The future is looking bright for green building in the Seattle-area. Roughly one-third of new homes built in King County last year were certified Built Green, and the goal is to have 100% enrolled in a green program by 2030. The Built Green team also shared preliminary data that shows [Read more…]

4-Star Built Green ADU in Seattle’s Columbia City Neighborhood

Pre-construction meetings have just wrapped up for this modern Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) in one of Seattle’s most up-and-coming neighborhoods. The Columbia City unit will be a photography studio and guest house, with a smart, modern aesthetic.

Sheri Newbold of live-work-play is designing the ADU, with construction going from the ground up. (For the companies’ previous partnership on ADUs, see photos from the Ballard Backyard Cottage.) The lower level will be a garage, with the living area designed above that. Sheri has created a space that is much more than a box; it incorporates an interesting mix of textures and angles. The siding will comprise boral and Hardie lap, with a standing seam metal roof. The materials are resistant to rot and provide “a fortress to the Northwest weather,” according to Model Remodel sales director Mark Lowe.

Model Remodel is especially happy to team up with the clients and designer, as all three parties highly value sustainable remodeling. With features like Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) framing lumber, salvaged items for finishes, and fortified insulation, the project is trending toward a 4-Star Built Green Rating.

For progress photos and project updates, keep your eyes on the Model Remodel blog!

Model Remodel at the Sustainability Slam

sustainability slam

sustainability slamJoin us Wednesday, April 22 for the AIA Committee on the Environment’s Sustainability Slam. Celebrate Earth Day with presentations about green design and building, including Model Remodel’s presentation on Ada’s Technical Books and Cafe with architects Board and Vellum. Speakers will present in the dynamic, short, PechaKucha-style of 20-second PowerPoint slides, limited to 18 slides total. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. with light food and drinks, and presentations begin at 6 p.m. The Sustainability Slam will take place at the Waterfront Space in downtown Seattle at 1400 Western Ave. The event is free. For more information about the Sustainability Slam, presenters and to RSVP, click here.

Model Remodel Office in South Lake Union

Model Remodel’s regular photographer, Cindy Apple, recently shot the office, complete with pictures of our office pug, Wally. It has been fun to share the images of the office, as Model Remodel has been very deliberate about creating a space that matches both the company’s aesthetics and values.

When Model Remodel made plans to move away from its former office in Queen Anne, the company was drawn to the space at 1287 Westlake Ave. N. in South Lake Union. First, it provided a space where the warehouse and office would be connected. Second, the location was central to most projects.

However, the building needed some work. Lucky for Model Remodel, it employs a lot of great builders.

Staff scraped off the tile to fully expose the concrete floors and removed the t-grid ceiling to open the space up. Then, they used a bunch of salvaged materials to keep the remodel sustainable, inexpensive and interesting. The desks are door slabs from a salvage company; the partitions and trim come from salvaged concrete form boards; the barn wood accents come from a deconstruction job on Whidbey Island; and owner Jason Legat salvaged the signs from a throw-away pile off of Nickerson Street. For the Model Remodel logo on the front of the building, the company brought in the same local mural artist who did work on Easy Street Records.

To get a better sense of the Model Remodel office, flip through the pictures above. Or, just stop by!

Photo credit: Cindy Apple Photography

Model Remodel Hammers Out Award

Model Remodel has earned Built Green’s Green Hammer Award in the category of custom builder for the Eastside Harvest House!

Judges selected the project due to its extensive sustainability features. The home boasts triple-glazed windows; an impressive photovoltaic system; Energy Star appliances; an expansive permaculture garden that produces the majority of the organic produce the homeowners consume; a 98-percent waste-diversion rate; and a rainwater harvesting system that provides 60 percent of the home’s gray and potable water needs. The Model Remodel crew built the entire house with Forest Stewardship Council lumber, from the largest structural beams down to the smallest wood shims.

As a result of all these measures and many more, the Eastside Harvest House received the highest honors of a regional Built Green 5 Star rating, along with the national honor of LEED Platinum.

Jason Legat accepted the Green Hammer Award at the Built Green Annual Conference last night. It was an educational day at Woodinville’s Brightwater Center, with sessions on marketing sustainable homes, the viability of sustainable homes in the current real estate market, optimizing healthy homes, green jobs, and many other topics. The conference included like-minded professionals in real estate, architecture, government and building.

Our sincerest thanks to go out to VELOCIPEDE architects, the terrific homeowners, and our long list of subcontractors. Last but certainly not least, the project never would have been possible without the Model Remodel supervisors, project managers, carpenters and painters. We share the award with all of you. Congratulations to the night’s other winners, too!

Green Home Tour This Saturday

MRM and CAST Site Sponsor NW Green Home Tour 2013
Natural Awakenings Magazine features MRM project on Cover promoting green home tour.

Natural Awakenings Magazine features MRM project on Cover promoting green home tour.

Get your walking shoes, bike helmet or carpool ready because the Green Home Tour is this Saturday.

Join us this Saturday, April 27th from 11a.m. – 5 p.m. for the 3rd Annual NW Green Home Tour. Take the free self-guided home tour and check out the project descriptions on-line. Pick up a Natural Awakenings magazine (available at various locations in your community) to circle your choices and create your own personalized destination tour map.  Interested in greening your home, adding a second floor or updating your kitchen?  Have you been curious to learn more about the new materials and finishes that offer your family healthier options, and help improve indoor air quality? Want to add character to your remodel and save money by purchasing used building materials? This event promises to inspire and educate you on all green home choices.  There are sustainability stops along the way at various vendors, too.

As for Model Remodel, we have teamed up with CAST Architecture to bring you a Built Green 4 Star remarkable remodeling experience in Laurelhurst.This modest mid-century house had two very important things going for it: its convenient Laurelhurst location and the owner’s 10-year connection to the community. However this beloved home, built in 1947, had many outdated limitations requiring the family to consider a major remodel. This growing family had ambitious project objectives: adding living space yet maintain the home’s original footprint; improving functionality; capturing additional daylight; connecting the indoors and outdoors; enhancing the home’s comfort and overall air quality; and, reflecting the homeowners’ love of Japanese aesthetics and traditions.

Learn more when you meet the contractor and the architect Saturday, between 11 and 5, Discuss YOUR project with OUR experts!


MRM Named Best Green Blogger Nominee

JDR Best Blogger Nominee 2013

The 2013 JDR Industry Blogger Awards have been announced, and just look who’s been nominated Best Blogger in the Green category! With Model Remodel’s experience, portfolio of certified green projects and company-wide eco-friendly practices, it’s no wonder someone noticed.

Our highly regarded blog includes information about our remodeling and new construction projects and connects readers to local green events, trends and best practices.

JDR has been a pioneer in the design and build remodeling industry for over 20 years. Their goal is to have the JDR Blogger Awards bring additional recognition to the work of favorite bloggers, support and promote the professionalism of the remodeling industry and keep clients informed about the latest trends in home design.

And while it’s great to be nominated, we want to win. So please vote for us here today!



Eastside Harvest House Scores High with Deep Green

Eastside Harvest House Scores High with Deep Green

Conceived and built to achieve the highest point value for any Built Green 5 Stars and LEED for Homes Platinum project to date, the Eastside Harvest House is one of the most sustainably innovative, single-family residences in the region. Completed in May 2012, the home is designed to be beautiful, functional and green, as well as celebrate Kirkland’s farming culture that defined the community a century ago.

The home’s western-facing orientation optimizes stellar sweeping views of Lake Washington, the Olympics and the Seattle skyline. It sits on a quarter of the one-acre property, which includes an orchard, vegetable beds and edible landscape, as well as a giant rain garden.

Built to last, the home uses the highest standards in residential engineering and construction. Its complex, self-sufficient backup systems are enveloped by the home’s simple, modern and clean interior space design.

The 3,570 square feet home was designed with a separate mother-in-law suite for multigenerational living under one roof.  The open floor plan includes a light bathed great room, living / dining / kitchen, a modest master bedroom and bath, a private guest bedroom and bath, and highly functional his and hers offices. An exercise room supports the homeowners healthy lifestyle.

This home was also built with the design/build team’s impressive professionalism, communications, and construction protocols.

And finally, we offer a special thank you to the visionary homeowners who continually pushed the team to design and deliver a technically advanced model for future residential development.

Here is a list of the significant strategies used throughout the home and site.


  • Highly insulated building envelope
  • Insulation used to achieve R-20 to R-50 levels
  • Energy modeling to inform and evaluate design options
  • Highly-efficient heating, water and cooling systems
  • Air-source heat pump is used to heat the house
  • Renewable generation through photovoltaic system
  • Nearly all of the home’s energy will be provided from the sun
  • Sunshades deflect unwanted summer heat
  • Energy Star efficient appliances
  • Efficient LED and compact fluorescent lighting


  • Only low- or no-toxicity materials and finishes inside and out
  • Mechanical ventilation systems continually filter indoor air
  • Utilized 100% Forest Stewardship Council certified wood throughout
  • Low total carbon footprint in concrete installations
  • Very little PVC
  • Triple-glazed, argon-filled windows
  • Materials spec’d with low maintenance as a key criterion in selection process


  • Water efficient plumbing fixtures used throughout home
  • High-capacity, onsite stormwater management system
  • Rain collected in four, NSF-certified, HDPE plastic tanks totaling 12,000 gallons
  • Water captured will be filtered to one micron and sterilized for use as the first permitted potable water in King County
  • Rainwater harvesting system to provide 60 percent of the home’s total water needs
  • Black and gray wastewater directed to municipal sewage system


  • During site demolition, 98 percent of the debris was recycled, reused or repurposed
  • Advanced framing construction methods used to reduce construction waste
  • Materials chosen for durability, ease of upkeep, and where possible, high-recycled content


  • Soil conservation strategies whereby all excavated soil was reused on-site
  • Erosion control construction plan
  • Tree retention and protection plan
  • Utilization of drought-tolerant plants
  • Edible landscape design with orchards and beds for extensive vegetable garden
  • Extensive rain garden design for beauty and functionality


  • Walkable community with easy access to schools, retail, restaurants and personal services
  • Nearby trail supports healthy lifestyle of walking, jogging and biking
  • Transportation options – personal electric car, bike to work, major bus lines to Seattle and around the Eastside

If you are in need some residential green building insights and expertise, please contact us we are always inspired to talk about our unique experiences and to learn more about your vision and goals for your new home or remodeling project.


Photo credits: Cindy Apple Photography

MRM Ushers in Earth Month with Green Tour

MRM Ushers in Earth Day with a Eastside Harvest House Green Building Tour

On March 29th almost 100 participants personally experienced the nearly completed Eastside Harvest House project.  The home’s design team hosted design / build professionals, realtors, city staffers and interested neighbors – all eager to see what’s been happening at this new construction site on the eastside of Lake Washington for the last year.

This green building educational tour was among several offered throughout the project’s development, not only to built environment professionals and enthusiasts, but also to several Environmental Science and Sustainability Design students from local junior and senior high schools.

Key features of this net zero energy concept home are:

  • Use of energy efficient and renewable resources, including a highly insulated enclosure, energy simulation to optimize design, and 17Kw solar array to provide all of the home’s electrical energy needs, extensive battery back up and on-demand, energy use management systems
  • On-site, high-capacity stormwater management and rainwater harvesting will provide 60 percent of the home’s needs; harvested water will be filtered to municipal standards for potable use
  • Permaculture design with extensive edible and functional landscaping including fruit and nut orchard, berry bushes, bee fountain and terraced vegetables beds
  • Materials and finishes included using 100 percent FSC lumber, low or no toxicity materials and finishes; minimum PVC used; highest standards set for indoor air quality; recycled content nails used in construction; recycled content counter tops and materials chosen for durability and low maintenance properties
  • Waste management deconstruction plan recycled over 98 percent of previous onsite structure; advanced framing techniques reduced waste
  • Design dedicated only a quarter of the expansive, one-acre site to the home and garage footprint while the balance works to harvest the sun, soil and rain
  • Neighborhood attributes include a walkable community with nearby trails and lakeside walking promenade; located on main Metro bus routes

The home is targeting both Built Green 5 Stars, LEED for Homes Platinum and may be a candidate for a future net-zero-energy certification.

If you want to know more about building a new high-performance home or remodeling green, contact us anytime. — MRM Family


* All images provided by Cindy Apple Photography


Eastside Harvest House Tour

Please join Model Remodel and other members of our project design / build team for an up close and personal final public tour of the Eastside Harvest House in Kirkland. This single-family private residence is designed and built to some of the highest green performance standards in the Puget Sound region and is targeting both Built Green® 5-Stars and LEED for Homes® Platinum certifications.  This event is co-hosted by the Cascadia Green Building Council and Seattle Architecture Foundation.

What: Design Professionals Tour

When: Thursday, March 29th

Times: Tour 1: 8a – 9a or Tour 2: 10a – 11a

Space is limited and pre-registration is required, to register click this link:

The Chinook Book Seattle is offering tour participants a free gift.  The Chinook Book app for iPhone and Android phones is a tool for discovering sustainable and local businesses in the Puget Sound, and redeeming over 400 coupons with your mobile device.

Please contact  Alexandra Steele, Marketing Representative, alexandra (at) for additional information on the Eastside Harvest House project and upcoming Tour.

Tour provided an opportunity for idea sharing and industry networking

Fall 2011 Behind-the-Scenes Tour