Seattle’s greenest home is so efficient, it’s actually net positive

Emerald Star went right past net zero and actually supplies energy back into the grid

In 2015, Dwell Development and Caron Architecture upped the green building game when they unveiled Seattle’s first Built Green Emerald Star house in Ballard. The 2,218-square-foot house, which they dubbed The Emerald Star, sold for $850K last August.

When it came to fulfilling the vigorous standards required in order to meet Emerald Star certification, Dwell could’ve just assumed we’d take their word for it. Instead, they decided to provide an update one year later to prove just how effective this construction has been at creating a net zero living environment.

As a refresher, Emerald Star certification requires that a building meets a rigorous checklist of requirements including net zero electricity using renewables, 70 percent reduction in water use, 90 percent reclaimed materials or FSC certified wood, and exceptional indoor air quality.

In order to meet the water usage goal, Dwell installed low-flow fixtures and a rainwater harvesting system. The result over the last year is that the house consumed a total of 19.5 gallons of water per person per day, well below the King County average of 67 gallons per person per day.

With the aid of a built-in outdoor heat pump unit, the home’s combined consumption for heating and hot water in the first year is 3,361 kWh compared to 20,398 kWh for a code built home. That’s 84 percent less in heating and hot water consumption.

Furthermore, the Emerald Star’s 8.0kW rooftop solar panel system actually helped the house produce more energy than it consumed, resulting in a monthly credit from the city for the energy supplied back into the grid. In other words, this house isn’t net zero, it’s net positive.

No wonder the residence was recently awarded a 2016 Housing Innovation Award from the U.S. Department of Energy. 
· Seattle’s First Built Green Emerald Star Home Sells For $850K [CS]
· Built Green Emerald Home Wins DOE Housing Innovation Award [PGH]

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