425 Magazine – May 2017
Many Eastsiders are doing their part to reduce their environmental impact — taking public transit to work, buying locally sourced food — but what about buying a home? Dwell Development, a Seattle-based builder, made sustainable and modern homes its signature and recently completed another round of five-star Built Green homes in Kirkland.
The three most recent Kirkland homes — one single-family home and two townhomes — are net-zero-ready, meaning the homes can offset all of their energy output, said Dwell Development owner Anthony Maschmedt.
The company rededicated its mission of offering low-impact homes after receiving national recognition in 2016 for its Emerald Star project in Seattle, and being named the grand winner in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Housing Innovation Awards. So this year, Dwell is building net-zero homes exclusively.
The Kirkland homes were built with solar-ready rooftops, which is the final step in making them net zero, he said, but even without that feature, the homes use 60 to 70 percent less energy than standard-built homes. High-impact insulation, triple pane windows, and state-of-the-art ventilation regulate the temperature inside the homes.
Conserving water also is a major focus. On average, 8,000 gallons of water is preserved each year by using WaterSense fixtures and toilets that use 80 percent less water.
But a big piece of the homes’ design starts with the building process. The houses are always located within walkable distance of downtown where the residents can buy groceries or hop on public transit. Buyers interested in Dwell Development homes are drawn to the all-encompassing sustainable lifestyle, he said.
Homeowners are doing their homework, and it’s one of the reasons why Dwell Development grew 300 percent during the economic downturn while other homebuilders were ready to shutter their business, he said.
Also, they never build the same house twice. Each home is distinct with a mix of rustic features and modern design, and is constructed with as many salvaged and local materials as possible.
“The siding and materials that we chose are all sustainable,” Maschmedt said of the Kirkland homes. “(The homes) are reclaimed modern. The barn wood and metal are recycled from old barns in the valley. We get 100-year-old barn wood and salvage it so the material can live on. We use this yin and yang of old and new. It’s a really cool dialogue between old materials and new. We bring old materials from Montana, and when buyers ask, ‘What’s the story on the wood floor?’ we can tell them the story about it. It also lowers the carbon footprint.”
Dwell Development started taking on projects in Kirkland a few years ago. It’s built roughly 160 sustainable homes in Seattle, and about 10 in Kirkland. Expanding to the Eastside was a natural move for the company, Maschmedt said. Dwell is constantly scouting new locations, but it has to be the right fit.
“I think Kirkland is kind of unique as far as Eastside communities are concerned,” Maschmedt said. “It has the most in common with Seattle. … Kirkland is kind of a hometown, boat-marina community that aligns itself with Seattle,” he said. “We felt comfortable with Kirkland and the growth of Kirkland. It’s kind of an up-and-coming place to put our homes.”
Once homes are ready, they rarely hit the market. Many are sold in the early phases of construction to people who’ve been following Dwell Development’s work.
The single-family home sold for $1.5 million, and the two townhomes sold for $1.25 million within a couple days of being listed.