If you're building green in Seattle, you have to be pretty confident of your product. After all, these "Green McMansions" were were called out on a greenwashing foul and torched to the ground. Dwell Development, LLC seems to be going about its business unperturbed, building compact and ecologically sensitive homes as urban infill. Dwell's most recent project, at 1758 18th Avenue South in the Beacon Hill neighborhood, is not some dazzling compendium of futuristic eco-tech. But it is what appears to be smart design, respectable energy efficiency, thoughtful material choices, and a sense for neighborhood integration. They're even—dare we say it—attractive (in that I-give-my-kids-Dwell-Magazine-subscriptions-for-Christmas kind of way).
The development is actually four single-family units, each 1,600 square feet with an additional 500 square foot roof space. The four homes are the August case study for Built Green, a local, non-profit, green building metric for the Seattle area, and the earn a five-star ratings under the system. (Note: you'll see mention of Built Green on the banner left by the McMansion arsonist/s.)
Dwell seems to take a patient and thoughtful approach to home building. From the firm's site: "Dwell Development chooses sites in the City of Seattle that are in walkable, livable neighborhoods, often with close proximity to the new light rail system. The development team looks to add density and assure that the units are good neighbors. Our design team creates units that are open and flexible to fit the evolving residential needs of our community."
Here are some highlights from the Built Green case study:
Two units are outfitted with 800 watt photovoltaic arrays; the other two are pre-wired for solar.
90%-95% of construction waste was diverted during the building process.
All buildings tested at 32% higher energy efficiency than sate code.
Rainwater collection, which you can see in the pictures, will account for 100% of onsite irrigation needs.
Less than 25% of the landscaping area is turfgrass.
The structures' envelopes are 10% more energy efficient than Washington building code.
Blower door tests show air leakage ranging from 0.15 - 0.22 ACH.
Dwellings use "updraft cooling instead of air conditioner."
Whole-house radiant heating is used for wintertime.
Chose locally produced cedar siding, framing lumber, and concrete
We were alerted to the recent work of Dwell Development by GreenDwellingSeattle.com, a real estate services website specializing in low-impact properties, so if you feel like owning one, they'd be the people to call.
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