Governor shines international spotlight on Issaquah’s zHome

October 5, 2010

By Warren Kagarise

Gov. Chris Gregoire offered a high-profile shout-out to zHome during a Sept. 17 sustainability address at the Shanghai World Expo.

The governor, on a trade mission to China and Vietnam, mentioned the Issaquah Highlands townhouse project during a speech to the Sustainable Cities Forum, a part of the World’s Fair.

“The city of Issaquah is building a zero-energy housing development in partnership with businesses,” Gregoire said as part of her remarks. “It involves designing, constructing and selling houses that demonstrate advanced ‘green’ building technologies.”

Plans call for zHome to include 10 townhouses designed to produce as much electricity as the units consume. By harnessing solar power and using recycled building materials, developers hope the complex causes only minimal impact to the environment.

“It’s probably as aggressive as anything out there that’s under construction or built,” zHome Project Manager Brad Liljequist said last week.

The city spearheaded the development of zHome, and a private joint venture is responsible for construction and financing. Construction started in earnest in April. The project should be completed by spring.

Liljequist said the mention in the Shanghai speech came as a surprise, but he said the setting made sense due to the international nature of the project.

Howland Development Issaquah — a joint venture of Shoreline developer Howland Homes and Ichijo USA, a subsidiary of Japanese homebuilder Ichijo Co. — handles the construction. Ichijo USA finances zHome.

In the Shanghai address, Gregoire highlighted other eco-conscious efforts in the Evergreen State, including a push to add electric-vehicle charging stations along the Interstate 5 corridor and a push to add “green” vehicles to the Olympia city fleet.

“We in Washington state are proud of our work to become more energy efficient, to foster renewable energy and embrace clean technology,” Gregoire said.

The governor embarked on the 11-day trip Sept. 13. State Sen. Cheryl Pflug, a Maple Valley Republican and the Issaquah-area representative, joined Gregoire in Vietnam.

On the Web

Learn more about zHome, and track construction of the townhouse development, here.

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or Comment at

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