Spring Equinox: Launch the Solar Season!


Today marks the Spring or Vernal Equinox—the first official day of spring and the start of more sunshine!

Let’s launch this Solar Season by showing (and renewing) our commitment to our natural resources and the health, vitality and resilience of our communities.

solar panels

Looking ahead, the days will be getting longer, the air warmer, the sun shinier…And that means that NOW is the perfect time to sign up for Community Solar!

One way to do that is to participate in a local Community Solar project, located right here in Capitol Hill. We talk about this a lot, but right now it’s at a critical stage: we’re close to 80% sold, but we need YOUR support and participation to make this project a success and get our last 200 units sold


(All enrollment is done directly through Seattle City Light; you’ll need your account number!)

By buying into this “community array” you are joining your neighbors in collectively putting your consumer power behind your values and showing that Community Solar works and matters in Seattle. Everyone should have access, information and a stake in a sustainable energy future and this is one step in that direction.

Learn more about the project and view real-time data from the system here.

This is your chance to participate in and support solar at a size and price that works for you. 

Sign up…


To show your commitment for clean, local, renewable energy

To learn more and actively participate in local solar

To offset your energy use and earn credit back on your City Light bill

To support the first Community Solar project on affordable housing

To invest your money locally

…the list goes on!


If you’ve already signed up, consider buying another unit or passing on the information to friends and families!

“I just signed up for #CommunitySolar on Capitol Hill. Live in Seattle? You should, too! http://www.seattle.gov/light/solarenergy/commsolarcurrent.asp @HillEcoDistrict.”


Read more about the goals of the project and the broader work of the EcoDistrict and feel free to get in touch if you’d like to learn more or get involved!

Check out facebook and twitter for all the updates.

EcoDistrict Recognized for Creating Livable Communities

Futurewise Award

The Capitol Hill EcoDistrict is a proud recipient of a Futurewise 2015 Livable Communities Award for Equity and Environment. The EcoDistrict was chosen for recognizing the role of smart growth in meeting community needs and for fostering a healthy, vibrant and diverse neighborhood.

“The Capitol Hill EcoDistrict was chosen because of their vision and leadership in finding solutions to Capitol Hill’s most pressing sustainability challenges. From promoting equitable transit-oriented development to facilitating public funding for pedestrian improvements, the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict’s collaborative and innovative approach is creating socially equitable, environmentally resilient and culturally vibrant neighborhoods for present and future generations.”

Capitol Hill Housing and the EcoDistrict were presented with the award at the Futurewise annual luncheon on March 17th.


(Though on vacation, Joel still made an appearance!)

Futurewise is a statewide public interest group working to promote healthy communities and cities while protecting farmland, forests and shorelines today and for future generations.

About the award

Overall Excellence in Creating Livable Communities recognizes an outstanding, comprehensive approach to creating more livable communities on a variety of fronts. Not just for a single plan or project, but at the neighborhood, corridor, city, county or regional level. Awardees demonstrate transformational improvement to the environmental health and economic vitality of a Washington State community.

The Equity and Environment Award recognizes projects or policies that recognize the role of smart growth in meeting the needs of underserved communities and individuals that work to achieve environmental justice while fostering places that are healthy, vibrant and diverse. The 2015 Livable Community Equity and Environment Award will honor the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict.


Community Solar Update!

UPDATE: ALL SOLD!  All 925 units in our Community Solar project in Capitol Hill have now been sold. Thanks to Seattle City Light and all who signed up and supported the project. If you’re interested in learning more check out City Light’s Community Solar page or the project descriptions on our website.

thermometer again

Thanks to everyone who made this project possible!

solar on holiday

The 26kW system located atop the Holiday Apartments went LIVE in late November and has been producing clean, locally generated, renewable energy for the grid ever since! You can view real-time data from the system here.


If you’ve already signed up, spread the word to your neighbors, friends and family! Consider sharing on facebook, twitter or via email.

 Shout out to our new Solar Sponsors!

Community Solar is a way for residents to participate and receive the benefits of solar without having their own solar arrays on their roof—and in this case also supports a great cause! Here’s how it works:

  1. Buy Solar Units: Any City Light customer can sign up, starting at $150
  2. Get Paid Back: Earn your investment back via credits on your bill until 2020
  3. Feel Good: This project produces clean energy, supports the regional economy (all of the system components and labor are locally sourced!), and will be donated to Capitol Hill Housing in 2020 to reduce the long-term operating costs of affordable housing.

EcoDistrict Update – February

SPRING IS IN THE AIR! And with the sunshine comes new growth and possibilities! Check out our updates below to learn about the exciting projects that we’re working on and see how you can take action to promote neighborhood sustainability. Thank you for your ongoing interest and support.edit-PPSpring Comes to the Pollinator Pathway Last weekend, on a beautiful sunny Saturday we walked along Columbia Street on Sarah Bergmann’s interdisciplinary design project, the Pollinator Pathway, knocking on doors and talking to neighbors to invite their participation in the project. Learn more and get involved!

TAKE ACTION: Less than 250 units of Community Solar left! sign_up_nowWe are ¾ of the way there and NOW is your chance to go #CommunitySolar. The array on the Holiday Apartments has generated over 2400 kWh since it went live in late November (that’s the CO2 equivalent of over 43 trees)!

Sign up via Seattle City Light today!

Shout out to our new Solar Sponsors!

We’d like to give a big THANK YOU to Rhein Haus, Capitol Cider, Rainbow Natural Remedies and Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream for investing in Community Solar and directly supporting neighborhood sustainability and affordability! Learn more.

all logo


Spring comes early to the Pollinator Pathway



Looking West on Columbia St.

On Saturday we walked along on Columbia Street on Sarah Bergmann’s interdisciplinary design project, the Pollinator Pathway, knocking on doors and talking to neighbors to invite their participation in the project.

Learn more about the Pollinator Pathway here and feel free to get in touch if you’d like to get involved!

Shout out to our new Solar Sponsors!

 THANK YOU to our new EcoDistrict Solar Sponsors A&R Solar, Central Co-opRainbow Natural Remedies, Capitol Cider, Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice CreamRhein Haus, Poquitos, Eagle Rock Ventures, Capitol Hill Housing and RockBox!

These EcoDistrict Solar Sponsors have made significant investments in Community Solar–offsetting their own electricity use with a local solar project and directly supporting broader neighborhood sustainability and affordability!sponsor update
 These local businesses have stepped up to support local solar generation and affordable housing! Will your business be next?

Lets go #Community Solar!become a solar sponsor

Community Solar is a way for residents, businesses and community organizations to participate and receive the benefits of solar without having their own solar arrays on their roof—and in this case also supports a great cause!

This project produces clean energy, supports the regional economy (all of the system components and labor are locally sourced!), and will be donated to Capitol Hill Housing in 2020 to reduce the long-term operating costs of affordable housing.

Becoming a Solar Sponsor

Join the Seattle 2030 District on Capitol Hill!

2030 logo 3

The Capitol Hill EcoDistrict has partnered with the Seattle 2030 District to support property owners and managers in improving the performance of buildings on Capitol Hill. 

Together, the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict and the Seattle 2030 District will work  to recruit new members in Capitol Hill in order to reduce the environmental footprint of buildings and participate in the broader sustainability work of the EcoDistrict.


Join a growing number of Seattle’s building owners and managers committed to reaching the 2030 Challenge targets.

Membership provides access to tools to measure and track the performance of your commercial or multifamily properties and improve them to meet ambitious energy, water and carbon reduction targets. In rising to the Challenge, you’ll save both natural resources and money, and there’s no cost to get started.

The 2030 targets for buildings are in three categories:

CH2030 graph

The Seattle 2030 District is a membership organization made up of the property owners, managers and developers and professionals that aim to dramatically reduce environmental impacts of building construction and operations, while maintaining Seattle’s robust economy and the profitability of its members.

In exchange for commitments, data sharing, and participation, the Seattle 2030 District provides transformative leadership to its members by offering access to comparative performance analysis, roundtables and information sharing forums, pilot programs, exclusive incentives and discounts, and one-on-one meetings with S2030D staff.

If you’re a property owner or manager or interested in learning how your building can commit to becoming more sustainable, get in touch! Email Arielle at alawson@capitolhillhousing.org to learn more or get started.

EcoDistrict Update – January

The Capitol Hill EcoDistrict is off to a strong start for 2015 It’s been a quite a busy beginning of the year in the EcoDistrict. We have some important updates to share and exciting ways for you to participate! Thank you for your ongoing interest.

UDATE: The Capitol Hill EcoDistrict is official!resolution City Council Resolution 31562, which formally recognizes the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict, was unanimously passed by City Council this past Monday. Thanks to everyone who supported its passage, including representatives from the Capitol Hill Chamber, PPUNC, the Capitol Hill Community Council, 12th Avenue Stewards, Seattle 2030 District, Capitol Hill Housing, and the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict Steering Committee. We will return to the Council in the 3rd Quarter with a report on how the EcoDistrict and City are collaborating in meeting community sustainability goals. Read more about Resolution 31562 here, here where Sally Clark asks if every urban village should be an EcoDistrict, and here.

UPDATE: EcoDistrict Index Launched! After months of hard work, data collection and discussion, the first set of indicators for the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict Index is complete! The Index will track neighborhood progress towards achieving performance targets within the EcoDistrict and serve as a tool for broader community engagement and feedback. Read more here.

TAKE ACTION: Buy in to Community Solar!

The Community Solar project on the Holiday Apartments has generated over 1300 kWh since it went live in late November (that’s the CO2 equivalent of over 23 trees)! There’s a limited quantity of solar units left, so sign up today!

business solar sponsor text

Seattle City Council Resolution 31562 Passes Unanimously

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 8.33.15 AMToday, the Council voted 9-0 to pass Resolution 31562. It was an important moment for the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict. The Council (and the Mayor is expected to sign in concurrence) has resolved that “the City of Seattle will support the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict as a framework and agent for advancing City sustainability goals within the EcoDistrict boundaries.” Many thanks to the community leaders who came to give testimony on behalf of the EcoDistrict, including Michael Wells, Executive Director from the Capitol Hill Chamber, 45 year Capitol Hill resident, former Capitol Hill Champion Chair and Hillebrity Cathy Hillenbrand, Chris Persons, CEO from Capitol Hill Housing, SAAS teacher and Vino Verite owner Tom Hajduk, Neelima Shah from Bullitt Foundation, Matthew Combe from Seattle 2030 District, Michelle Hippler from the EcoDistrict Steering Committee, and Sue Cary from the Capitol Hill Foundation Board. Appreciation also to folks who wrote to Council in support of the Resolution and EcoDistrict. Here are excerpts from two of those emails:

…we [the Capitol Hill Community Council] are unequivocally supportive of the EcoDistrict and are grateful that you passed Resolution 31562, declaring the City of Seattle will support the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict … Capitol Hill Housing

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and the EcoDistrict are a vital part of the existing (and future) cultural, economic, and social ecosystem of Capitol Hill.Zachary Pullin, Vice President, Capitol Hill Community Council PPUNC fully and enthusiastically supports the Capitol Hill Eco-District. We have often discussed the District at our meetings, and how many shared goals there are between our Conservation Overlay and the broader goals of the District.John Feit, Chair, Pike Pine Urban Neighborhood Council

Today was exciting and it was humbling to sit and hear community leaders and Councilmembers express their confidence in the EcoDistrict. We believe the EcoDistrict is a strong model for neighborhood sustainability and hope the City will continue to grow in its support. During comments leading up to the vote, Councilmember Licata pointed out that a resolution doesn’t get recorded into Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 8.37.18 AMCity Code. In other words, it is more an expression of intent than law, and the language in the body of Resolution 31562 definitely veers towards the encouragement of City Departments’ engagement rather than requiring their help. At the PLUS Committee hearing on the Resolution last Friday, Licata suggested including stronger language requiring departmental accountability, but the Committee decided instead to ask City departments, led by the Office of Sustainability and Environment, to return to the PLUS Committee in the 3rd quarter of 2015 to give an accounting of progress in meeting the goals outlined in the Resolution. We look forward to future meetings and dialogue with the Council and City Departments. Today, we’re grateful for this victory and the Resolution’s expression of intent.

Capitol Hill EcoDistrict | Metrics for Capitol Hill – Version 1.0 of the EcoDistrict Index released

[This post was originally published in the Capitol Hill Seattle Blog on January 25] IBM estimates that 2.5 quintillion, that’s 2.5 billion billion (2.5 x 1018) bytes of data are created every day. The bulk is from social media, machine data (e.g., coming from automated sensors like the ones on the Capitol Hill Community Solar project), and transactional data from when we buy stuff. Companies like IBM are racing to improve their ability to sift, interpret and sell this data as a commodity. In

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2015 the market for data analysis services will reach $16.8B and is expected to grow exponentially into the foreseeable future. The promise of big data, according to Steve Lohr at the New York Times, “is smarter, data-driven decision-making in every field.” The private sector is cashing in. Community activists are catching on and seeking ways to access and analyze data for the public good. Maurice Mitchell, a community organizer in Manhattan, claims that “prescriptions for our most pressing social issues emerge from the patterns found in the bonanza of collected data points.” He points to how analyzing data from the NYPD’s stops and arrests helped to uncover the racially disproportionate application of stop-and-frisk. On Capitol Hill, we will use publicly available data to help track progress in meeting the goals of the EcoDistrict. Last month we launched the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict Index, a set of performance metrics backed by data from a variety of sources, from local street counts to the U.S. Census. Performance targets are set for the year 2030. We aligned the timeframe with our partners at the Seattle 2030 District, in part because we share a commitment to reducing the water and climate impacts of buildings, but also because 15 years seems long enough to make real progress and short enough to express urgency in addressing serious challenges related to climate change and neighborhood health. With help from community advisors and partner organizations, we selected performance metrics relevant to real social and environmental issues on the Hill, can be tabulated and updated each year, and are easy to communicate. The current iteration of the EcoDistrict Index tracks data in seven performance areas: equity, health, water, energy, habitat, transportation, and materials. We will add metrics for culture in the next round. We’ve calculated baselines and set ambitious targets for reducing waste, ensuring affordability, increasing transit use and cycling, preserving trees, and improving public safety. The building energy use and water goals align with the Seattle 2030 District. Other Index targets are extrapolated from City planning goals. For example, the target of 21% tree cover is drawn from the City’s 2013 Urban Forest Stewardship Plan and adjusted for Capitol Hill based on current land use patterns in the neighborhood. The target of 70% waste diversion, i.e. diverting waste away from the landfill into recycling and composting, is from the Zero Waste Resolution adopted by the City Council in 2007. This waste reduction target is very ambitious for Capitol Hill where most people live in apartments, a segment of the residential sector that has lagged far behind single-family homes on recycling. Index-Table-2-1024x413 Aligning with the metrics of partner organizations like Seattle 2030 and the City makes sense. The metrics have been vetted and the data is available. It also helps to share a common language across multiple urban scales so we can compare our progress against other neighborhoods and the City as a whole. The Capitol Hill EcoDistrict Index is a work in progress. Do we know how Capitol Hill will meet these targets? Not entirely, but we know it’s going to take an effort from every resident, business, and building owner. Do the indicators cover the breadth of issues the EcoDistrict needs to address? No, but they’re a start. The Index will continue to evolve with help from neighborhood stakeholders. We welcome community input to the current and further iterations of the EcoDistrict Index. Beginning in February, Alex Brennan, Capitol Hill Housing’s Senior Planner, will publish a series of blog posts about the Index here on the EcoDistrict website. He’ll do a deeper dive on the individual baselines and targets, and outline plans for incorporating feedback and additional metrics over the next several years. Like data? We’d love your thoughts as we work on the next version. Come geek out with us.

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