Net-Zero Building Supports Community’s Homeless in Making Sustainable Life Changes


HopeWorks Station in Everett, Washington partnered with the local utility in designing a mixed-use net-zero building including piloting a new construction incentive to encourage its ultra-high efficient construction. This is a multi-faceted building whose community non-profit owners are realizing their vision of place, environment and beauty in action. It’s a 67,000 SF building where once homeless persons and veterans will have a place to call home. HopeWorks partnered innovatively and collaboratively with local and national private investors and local, state and federal agencies to finance this $30 million project.

The residences are designed to be net-zero with electricity produced by a 200-kW solar PV system in this Ultra-High Energy Efficient Affordable Housing Demonstration project that is in a core mass transit redevelopment area. Seattle based Living Building Challenge Affordable Housing Pilot Program is one among many partners enlisting social, environmental and workforce development and training organizations to work together to achieve shared objectives.

This paper will explore how Hopeworks, a non-profit community-based housing and training organization, active for 30 plus years, became the catalyst for changing the lives of people in need in their community. Energy efficient design and construction to meet the net-zero goal is a key part of the story but so also are financing, rates and incentives used in ways to support the utility’s and community’s shared objectives. This environmentally sustainable beautiful place embodies and enhances its owners’ mission to support positive and sustainable life changes in the lives of struggling homeless community members.


Cynthia Eichner
Director, Community Development
HopeWorks Social Enterprises

Cynthia Eichner currently serves as the Director, Community Development for HopeWorks Social Enterprises in Everett, WA.

She is responsible for the implementation of a resident engagement strategy that leads former homeless and low-income residents of HopeWorks Station to develop career pathways that gain confidence, movement toward a living wage, and self-sufficiency.  She plays a key role in the development and implementation of integrated communications and public relations about the HopeWorks and Housing Hope commitment to environmental sustainability and workforce development programs.  She has worked across a wide array of businesses from nonprofits & community-based coalitions to serving industry leaders in food, housing, and entertainment in senior level communications, community relations, and organizational change initiatives and programs.

John Petosa
Program Manager
Snohomish County PUD

Bio coming soon...