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McDowell Design Build - Single Family Home


Vital Stats
Location: Seattle
Star Level: 4-Star
Checklist: Single-Family Home
Verifier: Tom Balderston
Section Points
Site and Water 123
Energy Efficiency 157
Indoor Air Quality 110
Material Efficiency 108
Total Score 559.9


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This single-family Seattle home by McDowell Design Build features a vast array of sustainable features. Besides having 41% energy savings compared to the 2012 Washington State Energy Code, it has advanced R-42 foam and fiberglass batt ceiling insulation which eliminates the need for roof venting. Other features include Greenguard certified blowing insulation, exterior foam insulation, and a WrapShield high-performance exterior weather barrier with a rainscreen. This efficiency sets the stage for the home to be net-zero energy ready. To top things off, the home is also pre-wired for solar PV, capable of hosting up to a 4kW system. Pre-wiring is a simple step that can be taken if desired, which will provide future occupants with greater flexibility and control over their energy consumption. This Built Green home also has a walk score of 73, indicating that local shops and restaurants are easily accessible by foot.

Here are other strategies this project used to obtain a high-scoring 4-Star level on the Built Green checklist:

Built Green highlights include: 

Site and Water

  • 100% pervious paving on parking and walkways for stormwater infiltration
  • Roof drains to biofilter planters
  • Drought tolerant and native plants


Energy Efficiency

  • Takagi 95% tankless combination heat/hot water heating
  • High-efficiency Mitsubishi ductless heat pump: 9 HSPF / 19 SEER rating for cooling
  • 100% LED lighting
  • ENERGY STAR Appliances
  • ENERGY STAR quiet exhaust fans
  • EPA WaterSense toilets, faucets, & showerheads
  • Triple pane windows

Health and Indoor Air Quality

  • Low-VOC interior paints, caulks, adhesives, and sealants
  • Cabinets and MDF trim are CARB II certified for low-added formaldehyde

Materials Efficiency

  • Open concept floorplan
  • Exterior bamboo composite decking
  • Recycled carpeting
  • CA 1350 compliant oak flooring
  • Metal & TPO roofing

The attention paid to drought tolerant landscaping, stormwater infiltration, materials efficiency, indoor air quality, and energy efficiency combined with solar readiness means this home is not just visually charming but will be a comfortable, healthy, and environmentally friendly place to live!

Still Images


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McDowell Dining
McDowell Kitchen
McDowell Loft

McDowell Rooftop
McDowell Master
McDowell Master2


Use pervious surfaces to reduce rainwater runoff