Washington State Governor Jay Inslee paid a visit to the Issaquah Highlands Friday afternoon to celebrate a local innovator in the fight against climate change.
The governor was given a personal home tour by residents Bryan Bell and Karin Weekly, whose townhouse — part of the zHome development on Ninth Place Northeast — functions a little differently than the average American home.
Opened in 2011, zHome is the first zero net-energy multifamily project in the nation, meaning the homes replace all of the energy they consume with clean energy.
The 10-townhome development uses solar panels and other green energy strategies to reduce its carbon footprint and give residents an opportunity to live a environmentally-friendly lifestyle.
“Through the solar panels, they produce a little bit more [energy] than they actually use, … They actually come out ahead,” said City of Issaquah Sustainability Director David Fujimoto.
zHome homeowners also use 70 percent less water than the average house due to a rainwater collection system.
The groundbreaking project was created through the teamwork of the City of Issaquah, Port Blakely Communities, King County, Built Green, Ichijo USA, Puget Sound Energy and the Washington State University Energy Office.
“It’s very efficient and inexpensive for residents,” Inslee said, adding that “it’s great for the air we breathe to reduce pollution” and “it helps us in our fight against climate change.”
For Bell and Weekly, moving into a zHome exponentially increased their commitment to green energy solutions in everyday life.
“We’ve always been mildly passionate about it … but after living here we are more passionate,” Weekly said. “We’ve learned so much about it.”
“You look healthy, you don’t look like you’ve been freezing to death,” Inslee joked with Weekly and Bell before stepping inside their three-story home.
The tour came just one day after Inslee’s latest carbon tax proposal was passed by the state Senate Energy, Environment, and Technology Committee. Inslee used the tour to declare his commitment to funding green energy solutions in Washington, in spite of the climate change rhetoric at the national level.
“The president can’t stop us here in Washington of controlling our own destiny,” Inslee said.
For more information on zHome, visit http://www.builtgreen.net/library/zhomewhitepaper.pdf.