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Dwell Development, Emerald Star Single Family Home

Dwell
Vital Stats
Location: Ballard, Seattle
Checklist: Emerald Star (Single-Family)
Verifier: Evergreen Certified

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Dwell Development's projects are on the cutting edge, and their latest accomplishment might be their crown jewel thus far - an Emerald Star home in Ballard. Emerald Star is the highest possible Built Green certification level, and is definitely the most demanding. There are four important Emerald Star requirements which set this building apart.

  1. The 8.0 kW of solar panels installed on the roof power the home's heating, domestic hot water, and any other electric usage on a net zero annual basis. In other words, this home produces as much energy as it uses.
  2. The home makes use of harvested rainwater for the toilets and laundry, which reduces the occupants' city supplied water usage by 70%.
  3. The home is built out of 90% FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) or salvaged wood, meaning that it is either reused or coming from responsibly and sustainably managed forest. The home is clad with beautiful reclaimed barn wood. The result is striking and definitely lends the home a distinguishing factor. Plenty of reclaimed wood was used for the flooring and stairs, lending to a healthy and fresh interior.
  4. The home was built using no products or materials that contain PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride), a material manufactured from petroleum using sodium chloride. That was an especially important distinction for the windows, which are wooden and imported from Poland.

Other deep green characteristics of the home include the ventilation and mechanical systems. The home uses a top-of-the-line Zehnder Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV). This HRV makes sure that this very air-tight home gets consistent fresh air while efficiently recovering heat from the exhaust air stream. To get a tight air-seal, the Emerald Star home used a fluid-applied air and weather barrier. This system, in combination with high-performing windows and doors and rain screen cladding ensures that the interior stays dry and mold-free.

The Emerald Star home is run entirely off the electricity that the home generates from its solar panels (on an annual basis). Along with the panels, the home makes use of very high-efficiency mechanical equipment. Hydronic heating and domestic hot water in the home is supplied by a new and innovative technology, a Sanden CO2 heat pump. Dwell partnered with WSU in order to get the heat pump as they are not yet available on the market. What does this mean for the homeowners? Because of the high-efficiency of these systems and the large solar array, their first electric bill was a $40 credit!

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Use pervious surfaces to reduce rainwater runoff