Launch Slideshow

Name: Zero Energy Idea House, Bellevue, Wash.Size: 1,630 square feetCost: WithheldCompleted: October 2009Certification: 5 Star Built Green Seattle HERS Rating: 53Builder: Shirey Contracting, Issaquah, Wash.Architect: Clinkston Brunner Architects, SeattleLandscape Architect: Windrose Landscape Design, SeattleStructural Engineer: Swenson Say Faget, Seattle

Zero Energy Idea House

Zero Energy Idea House

  • Name: Zero Energy Idea House, Bellevue, Wash.Size: 1,630 square feetCost: WithheldCompleted: October 2009Certification: 5 Star Built Green Seattle HERS Rating: 53Builder: Shirey Contracting, Issaquah, Wash.Architect: Clinkston Brunner Architects, SeattleLandscape Architect: Windrose Landscape Design, SeattleStructural Engineer: Swenson Say Faget, Seattle

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    Name: Zero Energy Idea House, Bellevue, Wash.Size: 1,630 square feetCost: WithheldCompleted: October 2009Certification: 5 Star Built Green Seattle HERS Rating: 53Builder: Shirey Contracting, Issaquah, Wash.Architect: Clinkston Brunner Architects, SeattleLandscape Architect: Windrose Landscape Design, SeattleStructural Engineer: Swenson Say Faget, Seattle

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    Name: Zero Energy Idea House, Bellevue, Wash.
    Size: 1,630 square feet
    Cost: Withheld
    Completed: October 2009
    Certification: 5 Star Built Green Seattle
    HERS Rating: 53
    Builder: Shirey Contracting, Issaquah, Wash.
    Architect: Clinkston Brunner Architects, Seattle Landscape Architect: Windrose Landscape Design, Seattle Structural Engineer: Swenson Say Faget, Seattle

  • Wind TurbineThe Helix S322 2.0-kW vertical-axis wind generator provides smooth power and torque delivery across a broad range of wind speeds and withstands difficult physical environments, the firm says.  The generator produces usable power at 11.1 mph with optimum wind speed of 15.6 mph. The modular units are scalable; this unit is 10 feet, 10 inches tall with a 4-foot-by-8.66-foot rotor dimension. 877.246.4354. www.helixwind.com. Solar Electric The 5.4-kW PV system, consisting of 24 SunPower SPR-225-BLK solar panels, is expected to generate an annual output of 4,119 kWh per year. The system also includes a SunPower SPR-6000m inverter and a SunPower Lifetime monitoring system. 408.240.5500. http://us.sunpowercorp.com.Green RoofThe 1,000-square-foot vegetated roof consists of 2-foot-by-4-foot trays filled with growing medium and a selection of sedums chosen especially for the location and conditions. Rainwater harvesting uses a 3,000-gallon cistern located under the garage for irrigation of the site and the green roof. 800.488.0756. www.triadassoc.com. Window FlashingVaproFlashing, Factory Formed Corners, and VaproSillSaver are engineered to prevent moisture intrusion around windows and doors. 3D Factory Formed Corners are manufactured using a patented breathable membrane fabric with each corner formed using an ultra-sonic welding process; this eliminates weak joints compared to traditional heat welding, which can cause problematic leaking, says the firm. The flashing is pre-cut for easy installation. VaproSillSaver slopes 1/8 inch back to front to allow water runoff. The sills are compatible with most flashings and vinyl, wood, and aluminum windows and doors, and they are 100% recyclable. 866.731.7663. www.vaproshield.com.

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    Wind TurbineThe Helix S322 2.0-kW vertical-axis wind generator provides smooth power and torque delivery across a broad range of wind speeds and withstands difficult physical environments, the firm says. The generator produces usable power at 11.1 mph with optimum wind speed of 15.6 mph. The modular units are scalable; this unit is 10 feet, 10 inches tall with a 4-foot-by-8.66-foot rotor dimension. 877.246.4354. www.helixwind.com. Solar Electric The 5.4-kW PV system, consisting of 24 SunPower SPR-225-BLK solar panels, is expected to generate an annual output of 4,119 kWh per year. The system also includes a SunPower SPR-6000m inverter and a SunPower Lifetime monitoring system. 408.240.5500. http://us.sunpowercorp.com.Green RoofThe 1,000-square-foot vegetated roof consists of 2-foot-by-4-foot trays filled with growing medium and a selection of sedums chosen especially for the location and conditions. Rainwater harvesting uses a 3,000-gallon cistern located under the garage for irrigation of the site and the green roof. 800.488.0756. www.triadassoc.com. Window FlashingVaproFlashing, Factory Formed Corners, and VaproSillSaver are engineered to prevent moisture intrusion around windows and doors. 3D Factory Formed Corners are manufactured using a patented breathable membrane fabric with each corner formed using an ultra-sonic welding process; this eliminates weak joints compared to traditional heat welding, which can cause problematic leaking, says the firm. The flashing is pre-cut for easy installation. VaproSillSaver slopes 1/8 inch back to front to allow water runoff. The sills are compatible with most flashings and vinyl, wood, and aluminum windows and doors, and they are 100% recyclable. 866.731.7663. www.vaproshield.com.

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    Northwest Property Imaging

    Wind Turbine
    The Helix S322 2.0-kW vertical-axis wind generator provides smooth power and torque delivery across a broad range of wind speeds and withstands difficult physical environments, the firm says. The generator produces usable power at 11.1 mph with optimum wind speed of 15.6 mph. The modular units are scalable; this unit is 10 feet, 10 inches tall with a 4-foot-by-8.66-foot rotor dimension. 877.246.4354. www.helixwind.com.

    Solar Electric
    The 5.4-kW PV system, consisting of 24 SunPower SPR-225-BLK solar panels, is expected to generate an annual output of 4,119 kWh per year. The system also includes a SunPower SPR-6000m inverter and a SunPower Lifetime monitoring system. 408.240.5500. http://us.sunpowercorp.com.

    Green Roof
    The 1,000-square-foot vegetated roof consists of 2-foot-by-4-foot trays filled with growing medium and a selection of sedums chosen especially for the location and conditions. Rainwater harvesting uses a 3,000-gallon cistern located under the garage for irrigation of the site and the green roof. 800.488.0756. www.triadassoc.com.

    Window Flashing
    VaproFlashing, Factory Formed Corners, and VaproSillSaver are engineered to prevent moisture intrusion around windows and doors. 3D Factory Formed Corners are manufactured using a patented breathable membrane fabric with each corner formed using an ultra-sonic welding process; this eliminates weak joints compared to traditional heat welding, which can cause problematic leaking, says the firm. The flashing is pre-cut for easy installation. VaproSillSaver slopes 1/8 inch back to front to allow water runoff. The sills are compatible with most flashings and vinyl, wood, and aluminum windows and doors, and they are 100% recyclable. 866.731.7663. www.vaproshield.com.

  • Flux Studios Fortis Arbor wood mosaic tiles are made using bamboo scraps and are assembled with low-VOC adhesives. The company also makes tiles from leftover teak and rosewood. 773.883.2030. www.fluxstudios.com.

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    Flux Studios Fortis Arbor wood mosaic tiles are made using bamboo scraps and are assembled with low-VOC adhesives. The company also makes tiles from leftover teak and rosewood. 773.883.2030. www.fluxstudios.com.

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    Bath Tile
    Flux Studios Fortis Arbor wood mosaic tiles are made using bamboo scraps and are assembled with low-VOC adhesives. The company also makes tiles from leftover teak and rosewood. 773.883.2030. www.fluxstudios.com.

  • SIPsThe floors, walls, and roof of the house were built with Insulspan SIPs, featuring expanded polystyrene foam sandwiched between two sheets of OSB. The R-24 wall panels were custom-made based on the projects house plans, including pre-cut window and door openings and pre-drilled electrical chases. 517.486.4844. www.insulspan.com.

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    SIPsThe floors, walls, and roof of the house were built with Insulspan SIPs, featuring expanded polystyrene foam sandwiched between two sheets of OSB. The R-24 wall panels were custom-made based on the projects house plans, including pre-cut window and door openings and pre-drilled electrical chases. 517.486.4844. www.insulspan.com.

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    SIPs
    The floors, walls, and roof of the house were built with Insulspan SIPs, featuring expanded polystyrene foam sandwiched between two sheets of OSB. The R-24 wall panels were custom-made based on the projects house plans, including pre-cut window and door openings and pre-drilled electrical chases. 517.486.4844. www.insulspan.com.

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    Compost-Filled Living Wall
    The north side of the house features a living wall installed by Applied Organics. The structurally enginerred installation combines compost with special netting for reinforcement. The addition of plants allows for an atractive alternative to a concrete or masonry retaining wall, plus it also absorbs stormwater and produces oxygen. 425.844.9292. www.appliedorganics.net.

  • The Miele G2470SCVi 24-inch Optima fully integrated dishwasher and KF18Vi-SS 30-inch bottom-mount refrigerator are Energy Star rated and feature a custom panel. Also included is the DG4082 convection/steam oven that allows homeowners to prepare multiple courses simultaneously, slow-cook, and reheat leftovers without drying. 800.640.2613. www.miele.com.

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    The Miele G2470SCVi 24-inch Optima fully integrated dishwasher and KF18Vi-SS 30-inch bottom-mount refrigerator are Energy Star rated and feature a custom panel. Also included is the DG4082 convection/steam oven that allows homeowners to prepare multiple courses simultaneously, slow-cook, and reheat leftovers without drying. 800.640.2613. www.miele.com.

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    Appliances
    The Miele G2470SCVi 24-inch Optima fully integrated dishwasher and KF18Vi-SS 30-inch bottom-mount refrigerator are Energy Star rated and feature a custom panel. Also included is the DG4082 convection/steam oven that allows homeowners to prepare multiple courses simultaneously, slow-cook, and reheat leftovers without drying. 800.640.2613. www.miele.com.

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When Washington builders Donna and Riley Shirey decided to build the Zero Energy Idea House in Bellevue, they were determined to create an educational “laboratory” that would demonstrate a wide range of green and sustainable possibilities.

“It was our chance to show how to build a high-performance house and create a real teaching tool,” says Donna about their decision to build the home that would push the envelope beyond what Shirey Construction had attempted in its more than 25 years building energy-efficient SIPs dwellings.

But before they could break ground and begin construction, the Shireys had to address a long list of issues related to the lakeside site. Along with a slope “so steep and overgrown you couldn’t see the bottom,” says architect David Clinkston, the property came under a new Critical Areas ordinance that placed strict limitations on development impacts in environmentally sensitive areas.

The good news was the ordinance dovetailed with the project goals of demonstrating principles of low-impact development. The bad news was it required an extended team of experienced professionals—including several engineers, a land-use planner, two landscape architecture firms, and a wildlife biologist—three extra months and a consulting budget of $75,000 to solve the problems. Among the challenges they faced: building a foundation

on the 65% slope that required 14 tons of rebar and 200 cubic yards of concrete.

Next came the critical low-impact variable of erosion control. “We couldn’t just have water flowing down the slope—we had to manage it,” says Shirey. To that end, 18-inch-diameter compost socks—mesh tubes filled with composted material—were installed down the north side of the driveway to help retain sediment, and a 1,000-square-foot vegetated green roof was introduced to help reduce stormwater runoff. They also used downspouts to collect water for the cistern.