Residential developer, Dwell Development LLC, is pushing the envelope of sustainable design and green construction in the Pacific Northwest with the completion of the first speculative Emerald Star certified home in Seattle. The cutting-edge combination of green technology, renewables, and reclaimed materials help the 2,218 square-foot home meet the rigorous requirements for Emerald Star certification developed by the Built Green residential building program.
The Built Green certification program was developed to establish environmental standards for construction materials, energy efficiency, water use and indoor air quality. The voluntary program requires builders to follow a specific set of criteria to attain a Built Green rating ranging from 3-Star, 4-Star, 5-Star or Emerald Star. Dwell Development is the only residential developer in Washington state that exclusively builds 5-Star Built Green homes and is leading the charge for green building certification in the region with the completion of the Emerald Star project, Dwell Development’s 100th certified home. Emerald Star certified homes are required to achieve net zero energy using a renewable source such as solar or wind. Other requirements include 70% reduction in water use, 90% reclaimed or FSC certified wood materials, and exceptional indoor air quality.
In order to meet Built Green’s renewable energy requirement, Dwell Development brought in local experts, Puget Sound Solar, to configure and install 6.6kW of photovoltaic panels on the roof. “The key to zero energy home building is to properly insulate and seal the home so heat and air are not lost through cracks in the building envelope,” says Anthony Maschmedt, owner of Dwell Development. The Emerald Star features advanced framing, insulation, and high-performance Euroclime wood-framed windows and doors creating an airtight seal impervious to leaks and city sounds. Inside, the Zehnder Heat Recovery Ventilation (HRV) system works around the clock to expunge stale air and fill the home with fresh, clean air, while also maintaining a comfortable temperature year-round. Showcasing Dwell Development’s commitment to pushing the envelope of sustainable building, the team installed a 450% efficient hot water heat pump from Australia to provide hot water and in-floor radiant heat, “this system is revolutionary for the industry. The Sanden uses 1kW of energy to generate 4.5kW of heat, that’s 78% less energy compared to traditional hot water systems. Not only is it better for the environment, its better for the homeowner’s bottom line.” says Anthony Maschmedt.
Reclaimed materials were carefully sought out to adhere to the Emerald Star certification requirements. The home’s framing package is FSC certified wood, which is a rare feat in residential building because finding a local supplier can be challenging and expensive. The home’s exterior siding is reclaimed Douglas Fir and naturally weathered steel roofing panels from a cannery in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, which also act as a protective rain screen. The floors, stairs, and treads were built out of 100-year-old hand sewn mixed hardwoods from Montana creating a stunning combination. Countertops, cabinets and tile made locally from high-recycled content contribute to the home’s impressive inventory of eco-friendly materials.
Building an energy efficient home of this caliber requires a smart and strategic architectural layout. Dwell Development partnered with local firm, Caron Architects, to design the three-story home in Seattle’s vibrant Ballard neighborhood. The Dwell Development team carefully configured the roof and window placement to maximize solar gain without sacrificing modern aesthetics. The urban location fulfills another Built Green requirement; the home must be within a half mile of at least five essential services. This is a requirement meant to minimize the use of cars for everyday errands; but in the case of longer trips, the built-in EV charging conduit is there to support a more sustainable lifestyle.
Dwell Development’s holistic approach to sustainable building helps homeowners conserve resources and cut costs while also setting the bar high for other residential developers. As more and more homeowners are investing in green upgrades, Dwell Development’s homes come standard with energy efficient lighting, technology and appliances. Emerald Star certification is the next step for sustainable building and with Dwell Development leading the way, zero energy homes will become the standard.