The first residents of Lakeview Solar Community already are seeing beautiful benefits.

PLANET EARTH is twirling with gratitude this eco-weekend over one especially encouraging development in Kirkland — and just wait till summertime, when Big Ol’ Mr. Sun ramps up his powerful rays.

The new Lakeview Solar Community — four super-sustainable luxury homes, all prewired for panels, and all by Dwell Development and Medici Architects — is Kirkland’s first 5-Star Built Green net-zero-ready residential community.

That’s a lot of adjectives, all right, but there is a lot of Earth-friendly habitation going on here — especially in Chris and Deborah Voss’ super-green (and super-beautiful) three-level duplex.

The Vosses (Microsoft executive Chris, fitness instructor Deborah, 15-year-old daughter Tallie, 11-year-old son Brennan, and Ragdoll kitty brothers Moto and Dozer) were Lakeview’s first residents, and the first to install their rooftop solar panels — 9kW worth.

Those powered up in September, and the family’s energy costs started going down lickety-split, even in our sunshine-challenged fall.

“We kept the house at about 67 degrees, and our gas bill was less in November than October, which was lower than September,” Chris says. “We should be able to run our house and an electric car [although they don’t have one yet]. Solar is a big deal for us.”

Actually, all kinds of green colored the decision to move here.

The Vosses had lived in “a typical Seattle Craftsman” right above Magnuson Park, Chris says; across Lake Washington, they literally watched Lakeview take shape. Deborah found the house plans online, and after zeroing in on this duplex’s top-floor bedrooms, they launched into full-interest mode.

“When we found out about Dwell and responsibly built homes, it was very attractive,” Chris says. “We looked at other, similar homes, but they weren’t efficient and didn’t have green features. More and more, it became a deal-breaker: If you had the choice, why wouldn’t you choose the sustainable one?”

“This is the only family-friendly floor plan (in Lakeview),” says Anthony Maschmedt of Dwell. “This one has the view and the upstairs master suite. It’s the biggest house I’ve ever built.”

At 4,500 square feet, there is room for stunning space after stunning space (but no wasted space) — the wide-open great room, with 10-foot ceilings, light-luring clerestories and sustainably harvested and milled black walnut floors; the master suite’s telescope-perfect sitting area; the bright and colorful walkout-basement entertainment/hangout hub — and inspiring sustainability everywhere, even where you can’t see it.

Read More