With the use of photovoltaic panels,
Dwell Development’s Reclaimed Modern Home scores an impressive 25 on the HERS scale
By Sergio Flores
Renowned builder Dwell Development based in Seattle, Wash. has been building single-family detached homes, duplexes, triplexes, and townhomes since its inception in 2005 by builder Anthony Maschmedt.
Seattle serves as a pristine location for Dwell Development’s endeavors of delivering sustainable and energy-efficient homes, with most neighborhoods built in high-density urban neighborhoods with all necessary amenities including grocery stores, post offices, and parks within walking distance for residents.
With the green movement gaining serious momentum over the last decade, specifically in the last few years, Dwell Development’s projects have transgressed the standard notion of green. Maschmedt notes that more and more buyers are approaching Dwell Development because of their focus on efficiency. “We tell home buyers all about the energy efficiency when we walk them through the home,” said Anthony Maschmedt, owner of Dwell Development. “Buyers are smart, they do their homework, they want efficiency and health.”
Pushing the envelope with each project, Dwell Development built their first home for the Department of Energy (DOE) Zero Energy Home program in 2013. Requirements for the program are rigorous: homes must meet requirements of ENERGY STAR Certified Version 3.0, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Indoor airPLUS, EPA’s WaterSense program, International Energy Conservation Code’s (IECC) 2012 requirements, and a solar electric system installed or conduit and electrical panel space in lieu of solar system.
Completed in 2014 and winning the DOE’s Zero Energy Ready Home prize for Housing Innovation Awards is Dwell Development’s Reclaimed Modern home in Seattle. At 3,140 square feet, with four bedrooms, 3.5 baths, and 3 floors, the home scored an impressive 25 score on the HERS rating with the photovoltaic (PV) and 55 without the PV. Thus the home is 75 percent more energy-efficient than the average home with PV and 45 percent more energy-efficient without the PV. Projected savings compared to a home built to the IECC’s 2012 standards are significant; with PV the home’s yearly utility bills is $685, and $1,097 without.
With a high performance home of this nature, the sustainability factors in everywhere, beginning with the recycled lot. Dwell purchased an oversized lot with one home already on it in South Seattle, remodeled the existing home, then designed the new home to fit on the shared space. Dwell’s meticulous design did not infringe on the shared space, maintaining privacy for both homes despite the heavy use of outdoor areas in the new home.
The Reclaimed Home does not masquerade itself as a normal, high performance home, though. Bystanders will immediately notice the visually striking home from the curb. Exterior cladding includes corrugated metal roofing recovered from an old barn in central Oregon, and reclaimed barn wood used for fencing.
Interior materials include reclaimed materials, too: wood repurposed from fallen trees cut at a mill in Montana; counter tops are 85 percent post-consumer recycled glass, aggregate concrete made in a local factory housed in the old Rainier Brewing Company’s building, and cabinets from local manufacture completely devoid of added formaldehyde or VOCs. Repurposed materials are great for efficient, sustainable, and aesthetic reasons, but Maschmedt won’t take the credit for this idea. “My wife Abbey has really made me push toward reclaimed materials inside and out,” Maschmedt said. “It provides a unique aesthetic, mixing the old and the new in the modern design, that brings up some fun conversations with prospective buyers.”
Other highlights that contribute to the home’s efficiency include tankless on-demand, gas-fired boiler, ENERGY STAR® appliances throughout the home, all EPA WaterSense-rated plumbing fixtures, and a continuously running heat recovery ventilator that supplies the home with fresh air to all living spaces through individual ducts. The design maximizes natural light through triple-pane glass windows and multiple decks and patios for additional living space.
The home also features an energy management system created by the owner of Dwell’s winning 2013 DOE Zero Energy Ready House Innovation Award winning home. The software is operable through an iPad, tracking usage of the home’s every electric use, in addition to temperatures and HVAC operation.
The sustainability extends to post-construction, with 100 percent of construction debris and leftover building materials recycled and strictly adhering to protocols for safe waste management.
Notable recognition beyond the DOE includes the Seattle Design Awards’ Best in Design and Best in Green Design for 2015. The home’s open house featured a “Farm-to-Table” themed party for prospective buyers–the home sold in two days.
To date, Dwell Development’s recent projects have been in Seattle and King County, but the company hopes to expand their green endeavors to the cities of Kirkland and Mercer Island due to the lack of high-performance home construction in those communities, despite homes there being at a higher price point.
Maschmedt plans to use the DOE Zero Energy Ready Home program criteria in future programs, with installation of solar in future works, taking advantage of Washington’s generous solar incentives.
Sergio Flores is an Assistant Editor for Green Home Builder magazine. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.