Small is the new green

Increasing environmental awareness along with economic and demographic trends favor smaller house sizes. Many cities are doing their part by updating zoning codes to allow cottage housing and small backyard cottages (detached ADU's) on residentially zoned lots. Seattle and Portland are two cities which allow backyard cottages up to 800 sq. ft. in size. These small houses provide opportunities for families, while increasing housing stock density and diversity. Continue reading for more information about small house design and Seattle's backyard cottage ordinance or contact us to find out if your lot is eligible for a backyard cottage.

Friday, March 7

backyard cottage workshop - wednesday 3/12

meet others and learn about backyard cottages

Would you like to learn more about backyard cottages and meet others thinking about building a backyard cottage?  We periodically assemble experts in the design, construction and of financing backyard cottages. These workshops offer a unique opportunity to have your questions answered in an informal setting.  Drop ins are welcome but we prefer it if you RSVP so we can be sure to accommodate you. If you send us a description of what you would like to to and your address we can do background research for you prior to the class.

RSVP: bruce@microhousenw.com  (206) 428-8599

backyard cottages and ADU's; stay-at-home strategies for seniors   Wednesday March 12th,  from 7:00 to 9:00pm, Blue Building Room 6. Phinney Neighborhood Center 6532 Phinney Avenue North

Microhouse and Ncompass Cottage Company
$20 PNA member, $25 Public

Backyard cottages provide opportunities for seniors and their families. Join us to learn more about stay-at-home strategies for seniors including the design, construction and use of backyard cottages.  Bring your ideas, this is a great opportunity to meet others thinking about how a backyard cottage may fit into their long term plans.

Tuesday, March 4

thinking about sustainability - think small


Are you interested in simplifying your life, reducing costs, and a more sustainable lifestyle?  Small houses can help achieve all of these goals.  But how does house size stack up against a myriad of other green building technologies? A 2010 report by the Oregon Department of Environmental Equality examines the impacts of constructing, maintaining and operating a home over a 70 year occupancy.  Key findings of the report include:

  • Of 30 different material reduction and reuse practices evaluated, reducing home size and multi-family living achieved the largest greenhouse gas reductions along with significant reductions in other impact categories.
  • Reducing home size by 50% results in a projected 36% reduction in lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Reducing home size is a significant leverage point for environmental impact reduction and may be a more effective measure than achieving minimum levels of "green" certification.
  • New and existing homes can incorporate accessory dwelling units (ADU's) as an option to increase density and reduce the square foot/person ratio, provide flexible living spaces, and achieve the environmental benefits of both small and multi-family living.

To see some examples of our backyard cottages, small houses and multi-family projects check out our projects page and visit one of our upcoming open houses.  To read more about the environmental benefits of small houses and the full report follow the link. DEQ smaller homes, smaller footprint, report