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Habitat for Humanity Builds Affordable Green Condos on Capitol Hill

Habitat for Humanity’s Capitol Hill development on 11th Ave. East is five stories of 13 condominiums that will house families living on incomes under 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI).

Completed this year, the development earned a four-star Built Green certification while taking advantage of improved property close to public transit and bike trails, shopping, restaurants, and some of Seattle’s most popular parks. Families living in the development will be within walking distance of public, charter, and private schools. Habitat’s mission is to assure that everyone has a decent and affordable place to live. In Seattle and King County, Habitat is committed to balancing that mission with environmental concerns.

By acquiring the Capitol Hill property, Habitat assured that the development would be transit oriented. The multi-story condominium construction allows for affordable density on a relatively small footprint in a vital neighborhood. Habitat continually nurtures relationships with architects, manufacturers, and suppliers to reuse green designs and techniques that work, holding costs down for the future Homeowner.

For this project, Habitat was able to install hybrid heat pump water heaters and ductless electric space heating throughout the development, earning it high points for energy efficiency. The project mitigated 95% of the stormwater runoff from the roof and site to improve function and minimize local water and groundwater pollution. The units’ interior materials used low VOC paints and flooring materials as well as assuring proper ventilation for maximum interior air quality. The use of locally sourced and recycled-content materials and achieving a 90% landfill diversion rate of new construction waste helped to minimize the project’s environmental impact.

Habitat for Humanity condos in Capitol Hill, kitchen

Qualifying homebuyers for the Capitol Hill condos must finance their purchase with a mortgage. Habitat helps to cover any portion of the projected purchase price not covered by the mortgage, cash down payment, or other down payment help. Habitat SKC inaugurated a black homeownership initiative (BHI) in 2022 in partnership with several Seattle civic organizations that includes a pilot debt remediation program to improve loan eligibility for BIPOC families to start building toward generational wealth. Eleven of the 13 available units on Capitol Hill are already purchased with 5 going to BIPOC homebuyers.

Habitat works with homebuyers to assure the mortgage payments do not exceed 35% of their gross income. Monthly payments for the one, two and three-bedroom Capitol Hill condos range from $1,050 to $2,500. Homebuyers also receive ongoing budget management training in free Habitat classes. Habitat’s formula for affordable homeownership includes sweat equity in the form of volunteer hours. Due to the complexity of the multi-story building, Capitol Hill homebuyers have donated their time to other projects as well as to supporting Habitat’s Re-Stores. Ultimately, the property will be placed in a land trust providing permanent affordability for future generations.

The combination of green construction, close transit, shopping, and schools with affordable homeownership make Habitat for Humanity’s Capitol Hill 11th Avenue condominium homes a formidable prototype for addressing the area’s housing crisis. Habitat, in partnership with GreenCanopy Node, will soon break ground on another project – 17 units in six stories just South of Capitol Hill --that is also planning to achieve a Built Green 4-Star certification.

Habitat for Humanity condos in Capitol Hill, bathroom
Habitat for Humanity condos in Capitol Hill, exterior
Habitat for Humanity condos in Capitol Hill, bedroom

Built Green highlights:

Site and Water

  • Urban, Transit-oriented infill
  • Seattle Green Factor Score of 0.67
  • 95% of stormwater from site managed on-site
  • 82% effective pervious surface outside of building footprint
  • WaterSense ultra low-flow plumbing fixtures, showerheads, and toilets
  • Turf grass limited to only 24% of landscaping along with drought-tolerant plant selection

Energy Efficiency

  • Modeled performance of 31% over 2015 WSEC
  • All EnergyStar appliances
  • Low blower door score of 0.247CFM/SQFT of envelope
  • Ductless mini-split in the main living areas & electric heaters in bedrooms
  • Centralized hybrid heat pump domestic hot water heater, UEF: 3.75
  • 85% high efficiency lighting

Health and Indoor Air Quality

  • Low VOC paints, adhesives, finishes & flooring
  • GreenGuard Gold Certified Insulation
  • All electric building
  • Rainscreen installed under siding
  • ERV installed in the service lobby and vestibule area

Materials Efficiency

  • Used locally and regionally produced materials
  • Used recycled-content roofing materials
  • 61% recycled-content insulation
  • No vinyl siding or exterior trim
  • Emphasized use of products with EPDs

Equity and Social Justice

  • 100% of units priced for families below 80% of AMI
  • Provides debt remediation for BIPOC homebuyers
  • Built within walking distance of transit, schools, shopping and parks

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