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Hardly a newcomer to energy-efficient design, Dwell Development set Seattle’s green building community abuzz after earning the Emerald City its first Built Green Emerald Star-certified home in September. The firm’s latest project, located in the densely populated and walkable Admiral district, checks another green milestone off Seattle’s list—this time in the commercial realm.

Seattle Live/Work

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An ultra-sustainable Seattle duplex by Dwell Devlopment helps make city living affordable and energy efficient.

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Dwell’s projects adhere to the rigorous standards of Built Green, a regional building program of the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties in Washington state. Built Green projects can achieve 3-, 4-, 5-, and Emerald Star certifications, with all levels requiring third party verification. To date, more than 23,000 housing units have been certified to the program, which focuses on energy efficiency, water conservation, and careful use of material resources.

Seattle Live/Work offers two mixed-use sustainable homes designed with progressive systems that provide extreme energy efficiency. Unique zoning allowances permit the owners to use the ground floor as an extension of their living space or lease it for commercial purposes such as a restaurant, office, or retail business. In true live/work fashion, one unit’s owner, a photographer, has transformed the lower level into a studio and gallery where he features works for sale. The supplemental rental income and energy bill savings help owners afford the mortgage in this pricey housing market.

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According to Dwell Development’s founder, Anthony Maschmedt, this high level of efficiency begins with the Passive House methodology of sealing the home’s envelope impeccably airtight. Thick walls of dense-packed cellulose insulation are coated with a fluid-applied air and water barrier and outfitted with triple-paned windows. Inside, heat recovery ventilators work to cycle in fresh air that is preheated by older, warm air exiting the home through a crossover mechanism inside the system— unlike standard systems that must heat cooler outdoor air. 

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In addition, each 2,700-square-foot, four-bedroom unit is designed to achieve net zero energy use with a solar-ready rooftop configuration, advanced framing, and a tankless water heating system. The firm has seven more similarly designed and zoned units in the pipeline, two of which are in Seattle’s Columbia City neighborhood. With these, Maschmedt hopes to build on buyer interest in a commute-free lifestyle

This project was featured on our sister site, BUILDER. To read more about the project and view additional photos, view the original coverage.