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Fall 2014 Calendar of Events

King County GreenTools Sustainable Cities Tour

September 18 Built Green Conference

Nico Larco

The Built Green Conference is an annual event for those interested in the green-building industry, including builders, architects, designers, vendors, consultants, engineers, realtors, government agencies and students. The primary focus of the event is to educate the local and regional building industry on quality green-building practices, products and projects and to inspire groups to build sustainable communities. This year, Nico Larco will be the keynote speaker and plenary speaker Lucy Moore will be facilitating a special C&D discussion related to new ordinances at TAF (Technology Access Foundation).

Lucy Moore


  • Nico Larco, AIA, Co-Founder and Co-Director, Sustainable Cities Initiative
  • Lucy Moore, Common Ground on Hostile Turf, Island Press Publishing


  • TAF Bethaday Community Learning Space, 605 SW 108th St., Seattle, WA 98146

September 23 - Free Historic Preservation Panel & Tour of Historic Kent

Lynne Barker, Partnerships and Development Director of EcoDistricts

Join King County GreenTools & King County Historic Preservation Program
Save the date for an afternoon of lively dialogue with national and local experts in the field of historic preservation and economic development. Hear about King County's newly adopted Historic Preservation Strategy and how cities like Kent are using pro-active preservation measures to maximize the potential of their communities' cultural assets to evolve their economic base.

Following a lecture and panel discussion, we will take a walking tour of Kent's Main Street; its newly adopted Mill Creek Historic District which celebrates working class architecture; the nationally renowned historic landscape of Earthworks Park; and Bereiter Mansion, the city's crown jewel and home of the Greater Kent Historical Society and Museum.


  • Chuck Wolfe, M.R.P., J.D., Island Press Author
  • Sarah Hansen, Coordinator, Washington State Main Street Program
  • J. Todd Scott, AIA, Preservation Architect, King County
  • Barbara Smith, Executive Director, Kent Downtown Partnership

Chuck Wolfe

Charles R. (Chuck) Wolfe, M.R.P., J.D. provides a unique perspective about cities as both a long-time writer about urbanism worldwide and an attorney in Seattle, where he focuses on land use and environmental law and permitting. In particular, his work involves the use of sustainable development techniques and innovative land use regulatory tools on behalf of both the private and public sectors. He is also an Affiliate Associate Professor in the College of Built Environments at the University of Washington, where he teaches land use law at the graduate level. He contributes regularly to several publications including The Atlantic Cities, The Atlantic, The Huffington Post, Grist,, and Chuck recently discussed placemaking topics relevant to Urbanism Without Effort as a guest on the national radio show, "Place Matters, with Dr. Katherine Loflin". He blogs at


  • Meet at Kent City Hall Council Chambers, 220 Fourth Avenue South, Kent, WA 98032


  • As always, this event is brown bag lunch friendly.

October 9 - A Homebuilding Saga: One Company's Search for a Better Way to Build Special Northwest EcoBuilding Guild Symposium Pre-Event

Bensonwood Homes was launched over 40 years ago with the mission to search for a better way to build, based on the thesis that the typical American home is not representative of the civilization we strive for. In partnership with the Northwest EcoBuilding Guild, GreenTools is proud to bring founder, inspirational advocate and industry leader Tedd Benson to share his insights and lessons learned across the decades in this special event Roundtable. Tedd will report on how the early path toward that objective was found in the revival of timberframing in North America. This revival became both a look backward for standards of craftsmanship and sustainability, and a look forward to achieve a higher standard of comfort, beauty, energy efficiency, durability. Along the way, the company found themselves endlessly innovating, and shamelessly borrowing solutions from everywhere, anybody, and all periods of history. Through the many years of constant improvement and change, Bensonwood is still dedicated to their original thesis, but now the path is broader, the working "recipe" is more firmly established, and the ethos of the noble profession of building is prevailing. We hope you will join us for this engaging march through the decades as Tedd shares gems that are relevant to all of our work today, his thoughts on the Vitruvian Imperative and his aspirations for the future.

Vitruvian Triad

  • Utilitas: the purpose or function of a structure
  • Firmitas: the structural integrity and strength of a structure and its comprising materials
  • Venustas: the aesthetic qualities of the structure


  • Tedd Benson, Bensonwood Homes

Tedd Benson

Tedd Benson founded Benson Woodworking, Inc. in 1973. Since the inception, Tedd has championed high-performance, sustainable homebuilding always with an emphasis on craftsmanship, innovation, and social responsibility. Under the Bensonwood brand, he and the company have been featured on a number of shows in the PBS series, This Old House, as well as Good Morning America, and the Today show. The 2008-2009 season of This Old House followed our Weston project the first time TOH featured a new home. In addition, Tedd has authored four seminal books on timberframing, the first of which, Building the Timber Frame House (Scribner's Sons, 1980, Simon & Schuster, 1995), was instrumental in inspiring the North American timberframe revival.

In the next decades, Bensonwood extended its off-site fabrication capability to include the entire building shell, millwork, and mechanical systems. They also developed a design and construction methodology called Open-Built, which provides a rational basis for increased building efficiency and long-term sustainability.

In honor of Tedd's pioneering contributions to sustainable, energy efficient, high-performance homebuilding, Unity College, "America's Environmental College," asked Tedd to deliver its 2008 commencement address at its Unity, Maine, campus where hea also received an honorary Doctorate of Environmental Sustainability. Later that year, Tedd gave a keynote speech on "The Future of Green Building" at Greenbuild - Boston. At the 2010 Greenbuild - Chicago, Tedd received a "TOP 10" Green Building Products award for his company's sustainable, R-35 OBPlusWalTM.

In 2012, Tedd launched Unity Building Technologies, Inc, and the Unity Homes brand, a new company with a mission to make extraordinary building performance normal and within reach of the average homebuyer. Unity Homes premiered with four architecturally and functionally diverse platform design systems with turnkey home prices starting below $200,000.


  • Wing Luke Museum, Board of Trustees Community Hall, 719 S King St, Seattle, WA 98104

October 10 Northwest Ecobuilding Guild Symposium


  • Impact HUB Seattle, 220 Second Ave. S, Seattle, WA 98104

More Information:

October 16 - Free Tour of Urban/Rural Watershed Work with Salmon-Safe


Join King County GreenTools & Salmon-Safe for a Watershed Impact Tour
Join King County Green Tools and Salmon-Safe for a tour and discussion of urban and rural partnerships that are providing an aggregate approach to watershed protection in the Puget Sound. Salmon-Safe was founded by the Oregon-based Pacific Rivers Council in 1997 and has since spun off as a separate non-profit organization that works with alliance organizations throughout the Pacific Northwest to promote conservation practices and habitat restoration.

We'll start the day at the Olympic Sculpture Park and then visit the EMP Administration Building, the first Salmon-Safe Certified commercial site in Seattle's 2030 District. Salmon-Safe will also unveil its new Ultra Urban and Neighborhood Infrastructure certifications, piloted in Seattle.


The rural site tours will be led by Stewardship Partners, Salmon-Safe's long term alliance partner. Together these two non-profit groups have worked with dozens of farmers in the Snoqualmie Valley since 2002 to encourage the adoption of ecologically sustainable agricultural practices, implement fish and wildlife habitat restoration, while also maintaining the economic viability of farms and forestland in the Snoqualmie Valley Only a 30-minute drive from the metropolis of Seattle, Snoqualmie Valley remains a rural agricultural landscape with significant ecological features and wildlife habitat. We'll visit Jubilee and Oxbow Farms and see how they have implemented Salmon-Safe strategies such as water management and biodiversity conservation.


  • Lily Simmering, King County
  • Ellen Southard, Urban Outreach Manager, Salmon-Safe
  • Alex Ko, Rural Outreach Manager, Stewardship Partners
  • Representatives from each tour site


  • Meet at the King Street Center
  • Proceed to Olympic Sculpture Park, EMP Administration Building at 6th & John, Jubilee and Oxbow farms in the Snoqualmie Valley by bus


  • This event is brown bag lunch friendly.
  • To supplement the brown bag lunch, cups of chowder will be provided by wild seafood champion Duke's Chowder House

November 5 - Resilient Infrastructure for the Next Generation's Challenges

From avalanches to wildfires, Washington ranks among the states with the greatest diversity in types of potential natural disasters. Coupled with the fact that our nation's infrastructure is beyond aging, and the threats of climate change pose potentially more daunting challenges than our plethora of natural disasters, it's clear that it's time to talk infrastructure.

Island Press Author Hillary Brown offers that beyond replacing infrastructure to respond to these challenges, we must rethink and reinvent infrastructure. Following a book reading from Brown's latest book, 'Next Generation Infrastructure: Principles for Post-Industrial Public Works' we will engage in a dynamic panel discussion with local leaders. Sandy Howard, from the City of Seattle, will share her experience developing a new city policy for Seattle's Unreinforced Masonry Buildings, and Steve Moddemeyer, of Collins Woerman will share his work on resilient policy and infrastructure with the City of Detroit and Seattle's Yesler Terrace.


  • Hillary Brown, FAIA, Island Press Author
  • Sandy Howard, City of Seattle
  • Steve Moddemeyer, Collins Woerman

Hillary Brown FAIA is Professor at the Spitzer School of Architecture (SSA) at the City College of New York. In addition to teaching undergraduate design studios, she directs the SSA's contribution to CCNY's new interdisciplinary masters program: Sustainability in the Urban Environment, developed with the Grove School of Engineering and CCNY's Division of Science. Ms. Brown currently serves on the National Academies' Board on Infrastructure and the Constructed Environment (BICE) a unit of the National Research Council. As Principal of the firm New Civic Works, she has assisted governmental and institutional clients in portfolio-wide sustainability planning. In this capacity, she is currently affiliated with the Global Energy Model Institute, a recently formed organization dealing with energy poverty in emerging economies, which she co-founded with Daniel Gregory. As a former New York City Assistant Commissioner, she was the 1996 founding director of its Office of Sustainable Design & Construction, publishing the nationally recognized: "City of New York, High Performance Building Guidelines" and "City of New York High Performance Infrastructure Guidelines," both under her co-authorship and direction. Hillary is a Fellow of the Post-Carbon Institute, a Fellow of CUNY Institute for Urban Systems. She was a Robert Bosch Public Policy Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin, a former fellow of Second Nature, and was a Loeb Fellow in Advanced Environmental Studies at Harvard's Graduate School of Design from 1998 to 1999.


  • Seattle Municipal Tower, Room 4080,700 5th Ave., Seattle, WA, 98104

December 11 - Alternative & Active Transportation: Bike Shares

Several cities in our region are slated for bike sharing programs, being rolled out in this and future years in Seattle, Redmond, Kirkland, Bellevue and Renton. A number of cities and organizations helped put together the idea a few years ago, and the program is ready to get rolling. There are lots of ways to get us to share the roads with bikes, and one way may be to start sharing the bikes themselves! More information.


  • TBA

Please RSVP for all events to Sam Haapaniemi

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