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earthen plasterWelcome to the South Sound Chapter of the Northwest EcoBuilding Guild!

The South Sound Chapter has a monthly Calendar of Education Events.  We usually take the summer off, monthly meetings will resume in the Fall.  Check out resources from the latest one below.

New Policy Toolkit for Zero Carbon Buildings
Published by Shift Zero, with Guild funding and leadership 

With climate change emerging as a top issue for voters and the new Biden Administration, there is renewed interest in energy-efficient housing and renewable energy as key strategies to mitigate climate change and rebuild local economies. Homes and commercial buildings are the single largest contributor to overall greenhouse gas emissions. both locally and globally.

As if on cue, Shift Zero and NWEBG have published a newly updated Zero Carbon Buildings Policy Toolkit to help local governments accelerate the equitable adoption of healthy, ultra efficient zero carbon buildings.  The new Toolkit was made possible by a grant to the Guild from the Bullitt Foundation. 

Zero carbon buildings maximize energy efficiency, eliminate fossil fuel use, minimize embodied carbon, and as practical, produce all their own energy through renewables.  The toolkit contains recommendations, resources and model policy language for cities and counties to draw from.

Zero carbon building policies are a critical solution that local governments are uniquely positioned to deploy – not only to meet their goals for cutting emissions and fighting climate change, but also to help reverse decades of discrimination in local housing and land use policy that disproportionately impacts low income, people of color, and other frontline communities.  People who are systematically disadvantaged by pollution, poor housing conditions and high energy costs – in both urban and rural communities – are the same people hit worst by the pandemic and resulting economic dislocation.  Investing in high-performance building incentives and home energy retrofits can be an effective way for cities and counties to spur investment in a “just transition” i.e. training, job creation and economic development that proactively benefits these impacted communities.

The Shift Zero Zero Carbon Buildings Policy Toolkit is available at For more information, contact

The main author and chair of the Task Force which developed the Toolkit, Chris van Daalen reflected on the importance of the new report: “We’re publishing this Toolkit at a key moment in history – as we simultaneously reckon with existential threats from climate change and political upheaval, we are also trying to recover from a debilitating pandemic and the resulting recession.  Zero carbon green buildings represent a rare “Triple Win” solution that can help people who are suffering right now, while creating a better future for the next generation”.  Chris is a member of Shift Zero and a policy manager with the Northwest EcoBuilding Guild.

Cities and counties in Washington are in a great position to hasten the development of healthy, climate-friendly homes and buildings, by offering incentives such as land-use bonuses, permitting incentives, or reduced fees or tax breaks, and by showing these goals are serving a greater public purpose. Local governments across the state have adopted incentives that tie eligibility for incentives to robust, verifiable green building certifications such as Built Green, LEED, Passive House and the Living Building Challenge.  The City of Seattle for example, used a combination of incentives, technical assistance and public-private partnerships to transform their residential market: well over 70% of new home construction is now Built Green certified.  The toolkit shows multiple examples of how these ideas can be adapted to the local context, and then adopted into code.

Now, just as the issue of climate change has reached an unprecedented level of national urgency,  the economics of green building and renewable energy have also become more affordable and profitable.  A variety of recent national and regional studies, as well as many local examples show that the cost premium to build a zero carbon, or zero-carbon ready home has shrunk to between 4-10% compared to standard methods, well within most buyers’ “willingness to pay” a little extra for long-term utility cost savings and a better building. Yet, there are significant market and regulatory obstacles that must be overcome – especially in communities outside the Seattle area, such as supply chain and workforce development needed so local builders can deliver ultra-efficient homes cost-effectively.  This is where incentives can fill the gap and help catalyze private sector leadership and development of a green building market.

The Shift Zero Zero Carbon Buildings Policy Toolkit is available at For more information, contact

Thank you to the Shift Zero members and partners who contributed time and expertise to the development of the Policy Toolkit, and to the Bullitt Foundation for funding it!


US Made Hemp Insulation for Healthy EcoBuilding
Webinar on Carbon Negative and Non Toxic Hemp Insulation
With Mattie Mead, Hempitecture (Bellingham, WA) and Pat Rasmussen, Edible Forest Gardens (Olympia, WA)
View or download the webinar recording here

Events Calendar

Find out about our upcoming meetings, classes and workshops.

New Projects

Codes Innovation Database
with Thurston Climate Action Team, Evergreen State College interns, and Thurston County Planning Department. More information…

Thurston County Green and Healthy Homes Affordable Homes Initiative

Thurston Energy, Homes First and the Northwest EcoBuilding Guild inspired Thurston County Health Department to launch a new Green and Healthy Homes Initiative.  Learn more on the Facebook Page or at Thurston Thrives Housing Action Team website.

General Chapter Inquiries


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