Our Community is a new interview series from Dwell Development that will ask some serious and some not so serious questions to the amazing humans that make our community so dynamic. From our own team to the wonderful group of people we work with to make Dwell Development the leader in green building in the greater Seattle area.
For our first installment we looked inward to our lead man Anthony Maschmedt to find out what inspired him to focus on sustainable development and where you can find him enjoying a great meal in Columbia City.
1. Where are you from, did you grow up in the Seattle area?
I was born in Seattle before I moved to Southern California, when I was very young. We moved back to Seattle when I was about 5, and I spent most of my life growing up in Lake Forest Park. That’s where I attended elementary, middle, and high school (Shorecrest ’86) before heading off the Western Washington University to play football. I ended up graduating from the Art Institute of Seattle.
2. What inspired you to get into passive and sustainable housing development?
I was part of the very first Built Green Certified training program offered by the Master Builders Association. Once I understood the opportunity to build homes the “right” way, it made me want to do more. I was hungry for the knowledge of how energy efficient we could build our homes while still selling our spec-homes at market rate. Passive House is the pinnacle of how an energy efficient home should be. What inspired me in the quest to build Passive homes is quite simple. I am a very competitive person by nature. When I do anything, I want to be the best at it. So if Passive is the best, then that is all I needed to motivate me to start the journey to build the first Passive Spec House in the State of Washington in 2103. We now have three more Passive Houses on our books for 2014, and our goal is to make Passive House or Net Zero Ready homes the Dwell Standard for every home we build moving forward.
3. There’s are a lot of people that are of the mindset that sustainable or green equates to expensive; is sustainable housing more expensive than standard housing?
Yes it is more expensive, but not as much as one would think. The main thing to consider when building a Passive house or a Built Green house really comes down to just a few items. (1) Make the house airtight: We do this by installing a fluid applied air barrier on the entire exterior of the home after framing is complete and before windows go in. Once on, the house is basically waterproof and airtight. (2) Windows: high performance homes need high performance windows that will allow the heat from the sun to assist in heating the home, at the same time making sure it doesn’t leak back out. (3) Heat Recovery Ventilators (HRV’s): Since we make these homes so tight, we must ventilate them right. Heat recovery units export the warm stale air in your home and bring in fresh cool air from outside. The warm air exchanges the heat with the cool air though a heat exchanger. This allows for fresh air at all times in your home, without the thermostat kicking on. (4)Insulation: Our homes have almost double the required insulation required in the building code. This makes the home comfortable and very quiet. If we add all these additional “green” related building costs up, it usually comes to about a 5% increase in total construction costs. In my opinion, this 5% is not anything close to being considered an expensive upgrade to any new home. Add in all the value, comfort, and less energy consumption these homes need, and the payback for this cost is 1 to 2 years max.
4. Dwell has a video series that highlights the process of designing, building, and selling a passive house, and we get to hear from the buyer about their decision to purchase a passive home. How important is consumer power in creating environmental change in 2014 and beyond?
It’s important of course, but to be honest, our Dwell buyers seem to already be well ahead of the curve when it comes to buying new energy efficient homes. They do their homework, and are extremely intelligent. They do their homework long before they engage us in buying one of our homes. That being said, it takes a lot of work from us, our Real Estate Agents, the Appraisers, and anyone associated with our Green Home development to constantly blow the horn and educate all buyers on the value and unique opportunity that come with buying and living in a Built Green home by Dwell Development. The more homes we build and sell, the more environmental change happens in our community’s. From there is just grows and grows because people then get involved in living a Green lifestyle as opposed to just living in a Green home.
5. Dwell is expanding beyond Columbia City, but since it’s still home base what’s your favorite place to grab dinner and a drink in CC? Columbia City is so great.
There are a lot of great restaurants, eateries, and pubs that we go to all the time. If I were to just name a few the list would consist of the following:
Tuta Bella: for some great pizza and a beer
La Medusa: for a great glass of wine and romantic dinner with my wife.
Geraldine’s Counter: for that all day breakfast opportunity.
Lottie’s Lounge: to hang with friends at the best watering hole around.
Rookies Bar and Grill: to watch the game, eat, and socialize.