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Less energy: Seattle Green Home Tour 2013

April 30, 2013

It was LD Arch Design’s second year on the Seattle Green Home Tour. The “Blue View, Green Built” home in Green Lake had a successful tour day this past Saturday, with over 200 people coming through (which made for a busy day!).southeast corner 2

It is an inspirational story – the owner saw some great green homes on the tour in 2011, connected with contractors and architects before and during the tour in 2012, and was just finishing construction of her own green home for the 2013 tour. The project was published prior to the tour in a Daily Journal of Commerce Green Building Blog article, as well as on the Good Life Northwest blog. Here are a couple of photos during a lull early in the day and people coming in the front door (photos courtesy of Rachel Lee, TC Legend Homes):

upstairs entry

The inspiration

The owner Becky was most inspired by a net-zero energy home built in Ballard (which has a great blog about the design and performance of that house).  She began learning about green building, joined the NW Eco Building Guild, and talked to many green building professionals. She saw the LemonDrop Addition that was on the 2012 Green Home Tour and connected with LD Arch Design’s “thrifty and thoughtful” design approach. Read more about Becky’s inspiration and how she chose the “dream team” in her blog about the project. Here is a photo of architect Parie, owner Becky, Eric and Alex (the Ballard homeowners), and builder Ted (and his cute kids):

the team

Affordable deep green

Becky began the process with a desire to demonstrate that a beautiful deep green remodel does not necessarily have to be super expensive. We are still finishing the last details, but it appears that the construction costs will be under $150/SF, which is well below the Seattle “starting point” of $200/SF for a custom remodel. (That number does include the solar panels, but does not include the garage – including the area of the garage brings the cost down to $125/SF.) We believe that the home will be net-zero energy (or very close), but will track the utility costs in the coming year to see how it performs. Here are some green home tour goers checking out the home:

upstairs 3

The secrets to success? There is a high priority on creating a simple and beautiful spatial quality, investing in the building envelope (really good windows and high insulation walls), and working with natural daylighting and ventilation. Becky chose the existing home for its great location and solar access so we had “good bones” to work with. By keeping the finishes simple and using reclaimed materials, we were able to use some beautiful materials within a modest budget. Becky likes making things — here are some pendant lights that she created from recycled miniblinds:

blinds lights

When looking at the exterior envelope, it is always a juggling act to provide ample natural light, but at the same time minimize heat loss through openings in the walls. One strategy is to make sure that all of the windows are doing at least two jobs. The big south-facing windows provide passive solar gain and will also provide views to a future green garden, with trellises to allow for future flowering vines.


More details to come, but here is a good photo of the front garden balcony — it has an interesting mix of weathered steel, galvanized steel, and cedar that will be a good backdrop for Becky’s gardening.

balcony up

One Comment leave one →
  1. April 30, 2013 11:50 pm

    Great posting and photos!

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