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Efficiency Times Two—Project Specifications

(Original Unedited Entry Details)

Best Alternative Construction Award Logo

ENTRANTTC Legend Homes, Bellingham, WA
Project Location: Bellingham, WA
Category: Alternative Building

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  • Bellingham Power House - Photo: Rachel M. Lee for TC Legend Homes

    Utilizng SIPs, numerous south-facing windows and passive solar design, highly efficient heat pump, solar hot water and a solar PV array, this house has no electrical bills (other than the monthly service charge) and costs nothing to heat. Photo: Courtesy of Rachel M. Lee for TC Legend Homes

  • Bellingham Power House - Photo: Rachel M. Lee for TC Legend Homes

    The house will qualify for a one-time federal tax credit of approximately $10,500 and Washington State solar production credits of approximately $5,000 a year until 2020. Photo: Courtesy of Rachel M. Lee for TC Legend Homes

  • Bellingham Power House - Photo: Rachel M. Lee for TC Legend Homes

    Along with the SIPs and ICFs, posts and beams were milled onsite. Photo: Courtesy of Rachel M. Lee for TC Legend Homes

  • Bellingham Power House - Photo: Rachel M. Lee for TC Legend Homes

    Various flooring is used in the home including acid-stained concrete, slate tiles, and "antiqued"(using vinegar + steel wool) construction-grade 1x7 fir planks. Photo: Courtesy of Rachel M. Lee for TC Legend Homes

  • Bellingham Power House - Photo: Rachel M. Lee for TC Legend Homes

    A 3,000 gallon roof rain catchment cistern collects rainwater for all outdoor water usage and low-flow fixtures are installed indoors. Photo: Courtesy of Rachel M. Lee for TC Legend Homes

  • Bellingham Power House - Photo: Rachel M. Lee for TC Legend Homes

    South-facing high solar gain triple-pane windows and solar absorbing concrete floors are used in this home. Photo: Courtesy of Rachel M. Lee for TC Legend Homes

  • Bellingham Power House - Photo: Rachel M. Lee for TC Legend Homes

    A solar hot water system and radiant floor heating are both utilized in this home. Photo: Courtesy of Rachel M. Lee for TC Legend Homes

  • Bellingham Power House - Photo: Rachel M. Lee for TC Legend Homes

    The home is equipped with two electric car chargers. Photo: Courtesy of Rachel M. Lee for TC Legend Homes

Project Overview

There's nothing we love more than building overachieving homes. Our latest project not only produces enough solar electricity to meet its own energy needs, but it will produce surplus power to charge two electric cars.

Nicknamed the Power House, it is the first of its kind in Whatcom County. The home sends power to the city’s electrical grid when the sun is out and draws it during the night or on cloudy days. (Contrary to popular belief, the Pacific Northwest is an excellent place for solar). Averaged over the entire year, the panels will produce more power than the house uses, with enough of a surplus to power two electric cars through on-site charging stations.

The house will qualify for a one-time federal tax credit of approximately $10,500 and Washington State solar production credits of approximately $5,000 a year until 2020.

Perhaps more remarkable than the home’s efficiency is its modest price tag. Shared by two couples and three children, the 2,700-square-foot custom home cost  under $150 per square foot to build, significantly less than most other residential construction projects in Bellingham.

With its airtight shell, structural insulated panel (SIP) construction, numerous south-facing windows and passive solar design, highly efficient heat pump, solar hot water and a solar PV array using Bellingham-built ITEK modules, this one-of-a-kind house has no electrical bills( other than the monthly service charge for this  grid-tied system) and costs nothing to heat. No oil, natural gas, or other fuels are used.

This home shows that cutting-edge energy efficiency technology can actually be affordable. By eliminating entire categories of expenses, like heating and gasoline bills, this idea can pay off. And if one house can be shared by two families, expenses are decreased for both.

Specs: 2,700 square feet, co-housing duplex for 2 families, 2 stories, 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 3 multi-purpose rooms: loft, rec room and sunroom, semi-covered deck, covered parking, acid-stained concrete slab foundation, radiant-heat floors, exposed beams, Hardie plank & milled cedar siding, metal roof, solar hot water, 9.9 kW solar array, 2 electric car charging stations.

• Powers itself and two electric cars, for net-zero emissions, over the course of a year.
• Uses a 9.9kW photovoltaic system (half power goes to the house, other half powers two cars).
• Envelope includes structural insulated panels, insulated concrete forms, and 4” foam under slab.
• Heat and hot water provided by a solar hot water collector with an air-to-water heat pump backup.
• South-facing high solar gain triple-pane windows and solar absorbing concrete floors.
• Utilizes the most energy-efficient appliances and lighting available on a budget.
• Collects rainwater for all outdoor water usage and utilizes low-flow fixtures indoors.
• Provides housing for four adults and three kids with enough garden space to feed both families.
• Budget under $150/SF includes all development costs except land (built on an infill lot in the city).
• Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance is monitoring home for US Dept. of Energy pilot program.
• Fresh air provided by heat recovery ventilator and earth tube combo system.
• HERS rating is -15.

PROJECT TEAM
Builder
: Ted Clifton,TC Legend Homes ArchitectTed Clifton,TC Legend Homes

 Click Floorplan(s) to Enlarge View

Products Specified

Alternative Building SystemsPremier SIPS( Structural Insulated Panels) ; ICFs (Insulated Concrete Forms)
AppliancesInduction range, energy star refrigerator, dishwasher, and washing machine
AutomotiveTwo electric car chargers
Building Envelope: Structural insulated panels, insulated concrete forms, and 4” foam under slab
Caulks and SealantsLow VOC SIPs mastic, water based caulk
Cabinets, Shelves, Millwork: Formaldehyde-free Maple plywood, and fir trim milled on site.
CountertopsIkea Butcher Block
DecksGaco Deck over plywood
Door/Hardware: Flat Panel Birch
ElectricalPorcelain Sockets and LED bulbs
Exterior Finishes: Hardie Plank  Cement Board; Cedar milled On-site
Fire ProtectionSmoke Detectors
Fireplace
FlooringAcid-stained concrete; slate tiles; "antiqued"(using vinegar + steel wool) construction-grade 1x7 fir planks
FurnitureHand milled maple table; built-in bunk beds for 3
Garage Doors: R-18 8'x7' rec room roll up door
Home ControlsSite Sage energy monitoring
HVAC/DuctsDaikin altherma 5 ton monobloc heat pump COP 4.5
Insulation8" SIPs walls and 12" SIPs roof
LandscapingWork in progress
Lighting: LED and CFL lighting

Paints and StainsAll zero VOC paint
Pavers
Plumbing Fixtures.8 gallon flush toilets (that really work!) and water sense fixtures
Renewable Energy System9.9 kW Itek HE 275w solar modules and Itek Solectria Inverters PVI 5200L
Roof: Champion standing seam metal
Specialty Products: 

StructuralPost and Beam Timbered construction for easy remodeling in the future (no bearing interior walls) Timbers milled on site
Telecommunications
VentilationZehnder HRV and Earth tubes
Water Filtration
Water Heating: Solar Hot water with air to heat pump back-up
Waste Management3,000 gallon roof rain catchment cistern
Window Coverings: 
Windows/Skylights/Patio DoorsEuroclime triple pane windows U .16 VLT .7 SHGC .5
OtherThis house received a -13 HERS rating, and performs much better than that, easily powering itself and Two electric cars, on a budget of $150/sqft.

Thrive Home Builders
Thrive Home Builders