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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    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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Having addressed the site logistics, the core team turned its attention to the plans for the 1,630-square-foot (conditioned space), 2-bedroom, 2.5-bath home. From the outset, all involved agreed that the exterior should exhibit as many green elements as possible. “We realized the site’s busy traffic location on the Sammamish Parkway presented an opportunity to tell much of the story even to drivers just passing by on the highway,” says Clinkston. “Things like the green roofs, a PV array, and a wind generator are all visible from the road and immediately identify this as an advanced-technology green home.”

Also visible is the metal grid around the front-entry vestibule, planted with vines that over time will grow to filter the afternoon sun and provide a shield from headlights at night.

That said, many of the home’s most important efficiency features aren’t immediately apparent, beginning with an R-22 Arxx ICF foundation.

The home’s roof, walls, and lower floors were all built using SIPs. The 6-inch-thick wall panels deliver an R-value of 24; the 10?1/2-inch-thick floor and roof offer R-40.

High-performance Ultra fiberglass windows from Milgard feature double-pane low-E glass and were flashed with VaproShield’s 3D to prevent moisture intrusion.

As part of their effort to get as close to net-zero as possible, the Shireys installed a 5.4-kW roof-mounted PV system made up of 24 SunPower modules, combined with a Helix 2.5-kW vertical-axis wind turbine; the jury is still out on the effectiveness of the turbine, given the short period of time it has been in operation.

The house features two hot water systems: A Unico UniChiller air-to-water heat pump delivers warm water for the Warmboard radiant floor system, and a Kingspan Thermomax evacuated-tube solar thermal system heats the domestic hot water supply, with a Navien tankless as a backup.

Like the rest of the project, when it came to finish product selections, the team researched every detail, even visiting manufacturers to confirm their choices. Interior finishes include zero-VOC Sherwin-Williams paint, locally grown alder trim with a water-based finish, locally crafted Pacific Crest cabinets, recycled-content tiles and countertops, salvaged wood floors, Energy Star appliances, and CFL and LED lighting.

In addition to rainwater collection and native plants, other water-saving details include dual-flush Kohler toilets, low-flow bath faucets, and rainfall-monitoring irrigation equipment.

But no matter how many green products and technologies the house contains, much of its efficiency comes from basic design fundamentals. “Living with less square footage and a fairly rectangular floor plan also affects energy costs,” Clinkston says. “When you have lots of bumps and jogs in a house, it adds more exterior walls and more area for heat loss.”

The Shireys, who now live in the house, see the project as a culmination of the knowledge they have garnered over the years about sustainability and energy-efficient materials. And, in the spirit of the project, the couple have opened the house up to the public for tours and educational events to spread the word.

Mindy Pantiel is a freelance writer in Boulder, Colo.