Environmental Leader – October 2017
Dwell Development, a green home builder based in Seattle, advanced its mission of building sustainable homes with the goal of building exclusively net-zero energy ready homes. It’s newest home, in Seattle’s historic Capitol Hill neighborhood, aligns with that mission: the home is equipped with both solar and a green roof to harness natural energy from the sun and reduce carbon emissions, along with other sustainable features. High-performing building features such as these are increasingly entering into buyers’ decisions about purchasing properties and homes, LEED suggests in its Business Case for Green Building.
The home features a 9Kw solar package, green roof, and more than a thousand square-foot reclaimed wood deck.
Dwell says the home will achieve 5-Star Built Green certification through Washington State’s Built Green home building program. A 5-Star Built Green rating is the highest rating a home can achieve, meaning the builder has gone “above and beyond to design an exceptionally green home,” incorporating features such as solar power, energy efficient and water-saving appliances, an airtight building envelope, super insulation, triple-pane windows, reclaimed and recycled materials, and limited disruption to native landscaping.
Building “green” has been on the rise, as sustainability features benefit both builders and tenants. Bloomberg, for example, recently said that building a sustainable office structure brings savings even during the construction phase. Using LED lights during the construction process, for example, saved the company 500,000 KWhr and more than $106,000, the company told Environmental Leader. And LEED-certified buildings have been shown to have 34% lower CO2 emissions, consume 25% less energy and 11% less water, diverting over 80 million tons of waste from landfills, according to the US Green Building Council. (See a simple guide on the LEED certification process here.)
In terms of houses, a solar powered home consumes 88% less energy per year than the average home, while producing 1,403 kWh per year of extra energy. That means that these homes produce more energy than they consume, which means monthly credit back on the resident’s energy bill – leading to a potential savings of up to $1,404 per year, Dwell says.
Use of FSC Wood Addresses Risk
Dwell also uses Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood, which promotes responsible management of the world’s forests. Using FSC certified wood is more than a sustainable business tactic to attract buyers, however. Fighting deforestation can offset a significant business risk: Companies disclosing to CDP revealed that nearly 25% of their revenues depend on the four commodities responsible for most tropical forest loss: cattle, timber, palm oil and soy. CDP analysis indicates that as much as $906 billion in annual turnover could be at stake.
Additionally, the CDP says deforestation is responsible for 10% to 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions.