Innovation in Issaquah honor is latest milestone for zHome

February 28, 2012

The accolades started to accumulate for the carbon-neutral community zHome before construction concluded.

The latest honor — recognition in the Innovation in Issaquah contest as the top public-private partnership — highlights the collaboration among academic, business and government interests to complete the 10-unit townhouse project.

The community in the Issaquah Highlands uses zero net energy and 70 percent less water than a traditional home. The community opened in September 2011 as the inaugural carbon-neutral and zero-energy multifamily community in the United States.

“We live in a really exceptional city,” zHome Project Manager Brad Liljequist said. “Projects like this cannot happen without a mayor and a City Council that also have vision. I’ve worked in a lot of different cities around the Northwest, and Issaquah is truly exceptional when it comes to our city’s leadership.”

Issaquah Chamber of Commerce honors business innovators

February 22, 2012

NEW — 12:45 p.m. Feb. 22, 2012

The most innovative businesses in Issaquah manufacture composite fasteners for airliners, educate and enrich autistic children, and rely on a tiny-but-talented staff to create slick productions.

Issaquah Chamber of Commerce announced the Innovation in Issaquah honorees — Marketing Masters, Lakeside Center for Autism and Impact Studio Pro — Wednesday.

The carbon-neutral community zHome also received a nod as the most innovative public-private partnership. The city spearheaded the 10-unit townhouse development.

Marketing Masters creates fasteners for Boeing and Airbus planes at a small facility behind Burger King in the Issaquah business district.

Lakeside Center for Autism uses technology, such as the Microsoft Kinect, to educate autistic children.

Impact Studio Pro, established at a home office in the Issaquah Highlands, is a video production company.

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Mayor focuses on economy in State of the City address

February 7, 2012

Mayor Ava Frisinger highlighted a more muscular economic development effort and a reshuffled City Hall structure in the State of the City address — the speech to set Issaquah leaders’ agenda for the months ahead.

The address, delivered Feb. 6, days after the city announced employee layoffs, echoed a top priority from the City Council — a concerted effort to attract businesses to Issaquah and convince established businesses to remain in the city. The effort to remake City Hall functions also dominated the speech.

Ava Frisinger

“A major focus for 2012 will be enhancing our economic vitality, which is a community’s capacity to be economically competitive, resilient and attractive to both private and public enterprise,” Frisinger said.

Under a reorganization plan prepared by Seattle consultant Moss Adams and delivered late last year, the city focused on efficiency and effectiveness. The consultant discovered different cultures, expectations and management styles across municipal departments. Moss Adams pointed out the differences in coordination, scheduling and tracking across departments.

“In the end, our goal is to enhance customer service, find efficiencies and prepare our city for the years and decades ahead,” Frisinger said.

Though the reorganization emerged as a strong theme, Frisinger also used the address to spotlight ongoing projects.

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Issaquah mayor focuses on economy in State of the City address

February 7, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. Feb. 7, 2012

Mayor Ava Frisinger highlighted a more muscular economic development effort and a reshuffled City Hall structure in the State of the City address — the speech to set Issaquah leaders’ agenda for the months ahead.

Ava Frisinger

The address, delivered Monday, days after the city announced employee layoffs, echoed a top priority from the City Council — a concerted effort to attract businesses to Issaquah and convince established businesses to remain in the city. The effort to remake City Hall functions also dominated the speech.

“A major focus for 2012 will be enhancing our economic vitality, which is a community’s capacity to be economically competitive, resilient and attractive to both private and public enterprise,” Frisinger said.

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Milestones from the year 2011 reflect changes

December 27, 2011

Renewal defined the year, as the community paused after a population boom and economic bust — and positioned Issaquah for the decades ahead.

Milestones from the last 12 months offer contrasts.

Leaders opened showcases for “green” design and concluded a milestone effort to preserve Tiger Mountain forestland. Tragedy left indelible impressions, too, as a gunman menaced downtown pedestrians on a September morning and turned a school campus into a crime scene.

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Issaquah’s zHome notches honor for sustainable wood

November 22, 2011

The carbon-neutral community zHome earned a national honor for incorporating sustainable lumber to build the 10-unit community.

The award from the Forest Stewardship Council U.S. recognized zHome as the best residential project.

The city spearheaded zHome and relied on homebuilders to construct the townhouses in the Issaquah Highlands. The complex opened for tours in September.

Builders used Forest Stewardship Council-certified lumber to construct almost all of the framing in zHome. Millwork incorporated certified maple from Michigan. The project team chose bamboo for flooring and tigerwood in the stair construction.

Overall, 78 percent of the wood used in zHome met the certification. Builders used 9 percent salvaged wood in the construction.

The council, a nonprofit organization based in Minneapolis, announced the awards Oct. 5.

The organization named the Hawaii Preparatory Academy Energy Research Lab in Kamuela, Hawaii, the best commercial project.

Organizers selected the projects based on the number of certified products used, the level of market transformation the projects achieved and the creativity in using the products.

Issaquah’s zHome notches national honor for using sustainable wood

October 17, 2011

NEW — 6 a.m. Oct. 17, 2011

The carbon-neutral community zHome earned a national honor for incorporating sustainable lumber to build the 10-unit community.

The award from the Forest Stewardship Council U.S. recognized zHome as the best residential project.

The city spearheaded zHome and relied on homebuilders to construct the townhouses in the Issaquah Highlands. The complex opened for tours last month.

Builders used Forest Stewardship Council-certified lumber to construct almost all of the framing in zHome. Millwork use certified maple from Michigan. The project team chose bamboo for flooring and tigerwood in the stair construction.

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Eastside Fire & Rescue Station 72 mixes red and ‘green’

October 11, 2011

Solar panels line the rooftop of Eastside Fire & Rescue Station 72. Contributed

Station 72 is designed to lessen impact on environment

The red accents on Eastside Fire & Rescue Station 72 offer a traditional package for the “green” features embedded throughout the building.

Station 72 is the most energy efficient fire station on the planet. The city and EFR spearheaded a project to create a next-generation facility as a showcase for “green” innovations in Issaquah and a model for other fire departments.

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Mitsubishi rolls out electric vehicle at zHome

October 11, 2011

Mitsubishi is rolling out the i, billed as the most-affordable electric vehicle on the U.S. market, Oct. 15-16 at a “green” venue — zHome, a carbon-neutral community in Issaquah.

The team behind zHome and Mitsubishi partnered to offer zHome attendees a chance to test-drive the car. The i is rated for a miles-per-gallon equivalent of 112.

Enthusiasts can see the i from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 15 and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 16.

Mitsubishi loaned a Japanese model of the vehicle to zHome Project Manager Brad Liljequist during the summer.

“It was quiet, quick and surprisingly roomy given its small size,” he wrote in a post to the zHome blog.

In addition to kicking the tires on the i, attendees can also tour zHome. The site is along Northeast High Street, just east of YWCA Family Village at Issaquah and the Issaquah Highlands Park & Ride.

The “green” complex features electric-vehicle charging stations.

The i is also scheduled to appear at Best Buy, 6000 E. Lake Sammamish Parkway S.E., from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 22.

City, King County leaders flip switch on zHome

September 20, 2011

Issaquah and King County leaders gathered Sept. 14 to flip the switch on zHome, the first zero-energy, carbon-neutral multifamily community in the United States.

Built to use zero net energy and 70 percent less water than a traditional home, Issaquah, King County and other partners collaborated to open the 10-townhouse complex in the Issaquah Highlands. The project is meant to serve as a model for incorporating “green” elements into mainstream homebuilding.

King County Executive Dow Constantine (right, at lectern) prepares to address the crowd at the opening of zHome in the Issaquah Highlands on Sept. 14. Contributed

County Executive Dow Constantine joined Mayor Ava Frisinger to open the facility at a ceremony in the zHome courtyard.

“This pioneering project sets a new standard for how homes can — and should — be built in our region and country,” Frisinger said in a statement. “Our vision is that zHome’s innovative approach will catalyze the market for much ‘greener’ building materials and technologies, as well as inspire the next generation of homebuilders through examples that are replicable and market rate.”

The project included aggressive benchmarks to set a different standard in “green” homebuilding. Units in zHome range from the low $400,000s to the $600,000s.

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