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SUMMER NEWSLETTER: Impact investing, efficiency economics and a dance video

We’ve done the math, and it appears this publication needs a new name. So you’re now reading SILLIKER + PARTNERS QUARTERLY. Sounds serious and intellectual, but we keep it light. And for newcomers, welcome to our collection of green building, energy efficiency, and real estate development stories.

This is our summer installment, so it’s short reads … perfect for your time at the beach, in a tent, or aboard a canoe.

65 ways to afford the big city
In case you missed it, Seattle is growing fast and so are rents and home prices. And we don’t have nearly enough rent-restricted units to house a diverse population.

The Mayor’s Housing Affordability and Livability Advisory (HALA) Committee recently delivered a set of recommendations to address Seattle’s housing crisis. HALA’s 65 recommendations are mostly about increased density, but also propose ways to create more rent-restricted units.

Sightline’s Alan Durning (also a committee member) penned an excellent piece on the report. Crosscut also chimes in. And here’s a map to help orient you to the proposed changes.

And fear not, more density is already in motion. Seattle in Progress maps the building development in Seattle, and quickly connects you to permitting proposals. Brilliant work by Ethan Phelps-Goodman.

I’ll take impact for 2 percent
One local affordable housing outfit is not waiting for new City rules. Bellwether Housing recently impressed with their take on impact investing. In short, 22 investors bought into Bellwether’s Seattle Futures Fund and will earn 2 percent on their money. In an age that sees millions invested in products we don’t need, we’re excited to see capital go towards awesome things that we truly need.

The economics of efficiency
We most definitely need more energy efficiency. And lo and behold, it helps the broader economy. The Northwest Energy Efficiency Council (NEEC) released a report that shows the macroeconomic effects of the energy efficiency industry. In Washington state alone, the industry infuses $216 million into the economy and creates more than 3,800 jobs.

20 and 10
NEEC is also celebrating its 20-year anniversary. Congrats to our good friend and collaborator, Stan Price, for stewarding such an important industry force.

More good friends hit a big milestone. Our marketing and PR pals at C+C turned 10 this summer. They also made a sweet dance video.

Wait, efficiency will be worth even MORE
The White House released the latest version of EPA’s Clean Power Plan, which will effectively limit the emissions from power plants. The feds will lean on states to create their own plan for reducing emissions, but carbon-intensive fuels such as coal will clearly be penalized while renewables and efficiency efforts will be highly valued.

Learn from the best
The American Institute of Architects awards its Top Ten Green Projects annually, and the 2015 list is another impressive snapshot of how green building is evolving. Seattle logged two winners—Federal Center South and The Bullitt Center.

Changing utility times
New utility models are all the rage these days. We snagged a few pieces that hit on intriguing energy efficiency angles.

Matt Golden does a nice job outlining the move towards metered performance, which is a way for utilities to flip traditional incentive programs into a cash-flow, market-based approach.

OPower is the behavior change darling of the utility world, and they are now deep into time-sensitive demand response. As in, ask a customer (nicely) to lower their energy use during peak times. OPower is showing 3-5% average demand reduction, even without price signals, which would surely increase the impact.

ComEd is working with Nest and Comcast in the Midwest to do cheap demand response. They key for the utility is to let partners do what they do best—notably marketing in this case. The move represents a customization age, where the utility provides a platform and enables its customers to use it how they see fit.

Breaking up the band
After more than 5 years in our Madrona space, we recently moved our office. It was a fun ride running our small co-working setup with co-conspirator Zac West. We wrote our own lease, designed and built-out the space, managed sub-tenants, battled cockroaches, boarded up broken windows, learned a lot, and heckled each other throughout. Thanks also to our friends Mirona, Gary, Andrew, Eli, and Dierdre, who shared the space with us over the years. Good run, y’all.

Zac heads IDeology, a stellar industrial design firm, and is developing an office-shop combo to build more fun prototypes.

Silliker + Partners is now closer to home. You can find us above Empire Espresso in Columbia City. Stop by for caffeine and color commentary any time!

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