photo courtesy Tucker English
The Seattle design/build firm Dwell Development was a winner in the Department of Energy’s Challenge Home 2013 awards.
Dwell won for Passive House, which is part of a micro-community of modern, energy-efficient houses in South Seattle. All the homes there are 5-star Built Green and meet the criteria of the Northwest Energy Star program.
The Challenge award is the successor to the Builders Challenge. Under Builders Challenge, homes needed a home energy rating score, or HERS, of 70 or less. Under the Challenge award, homes needed a HERS score of 50 or less, meaning that they are 50 percent more efficient than homes built to existing code.
Dwell Development’s Passive House scored 45.
Challenge Home builders are in the top 1 percent of builders meeting high levels of energy-efficiency and quality specified by the U.S. Department of Energy.
The houses also have low or no utility bills. Builders exceed current codes for HVAC, appliances, indoor air quality, safety, durability and solar-ready components.
“We are so proud that our first Passive House received this honor and that we are singled out as one of the top three builders in the country,” said Anthony Maschmedt, principal of Dwell Development, in a press release. “We are even more excited that we hopefully are encouraging all builders to strive toward building high-performance homes as their new standard.”
Maschmedt started Dwell Development in 2005 to build modern, green homes. Dwell is scheduled to build 26 homes this year and 27 in 2014. The firm plans more passive houses and eventually wants to build every home to meet the passive house standards.
Dwell’s Passive House has induction cook tops that only get hot when a pot is placed on them. Triple-pane windows and Energy Star-rated appliances work together with high-efficiency lighting to save energy. All plumbing fixtures are certified by EPA WaterSense. Cabinets are made locally from formaldehyde-free materials.
The awards event was sponsored by BASF, which launched a program called Beyond in 2012 to encourage the construction of homes that outperform conventional code-built homes.
More information on the Challenge awards is at www.buildingamerica.gov/challenge/.