For this month's installment of “Evergreen homes” — a monthly series of posts in which I break out the geographical bias and spotlight green residential building projects from my home state of Washington — I’m pleased to feature Columbia Station, an exciting project from Seattle-based design and build firm Dwell Development that's not a single home as a majority of my featured "Evergreen homes" tend to be.

 
Currently comprised of four contemporary residences with nearly a dozen more to come as three additional phases are completed over the coming year or so, Columbia Station is a micro-community of LEED Platinum-targeting homes situated on an infill lot within the Seattle Housing Authority's mixed-use, mixed income Rainer Vista development in the vibrant, diverse (according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the area's zip code, 98118, is the most ethnically diverse in America), and massively WalkScore-friendly southeast Seattle neighborhood of Columbia City.
Phase One of Columbia Station was completed this past October and received Built Green 5 star verification (Built Green also highlighted the project as a featured case study last month which is how I caught wind of it). Each of the four completely unique homes — they measure between 1,300 and 1,800-square-feet and come in two bed/two bath and three bed/three and a half bath models — include an exhaustive laundry list of green features: super-tight fiberglass insulation (the homes boast HERS ratings of 53), rooftop gardens, rain barrels, recycled glass countertops, dual flush toilets, low-flow water fixtures, EnergyStar appliances, triple pane windows, heat recovery ventilators, sustainable landscaping, pine flooring re-milled from reclaimed telephone poles, low-VOC paints, finishes, and adhesives, whole home radiant systems, and much more. This first batch of solar-ready models sold for between the upper $300,000s to the mid $400,000s.
 
While the eco-friendly features of Columbia Station Phase One are mighty impressive, this is one sustainable micro-community that’s all about location. Rainer Vista itself is built around the Columbia City stop of SoundTransit’s new-ish Central Link light rail system that spans from Sea-Tac airport to downtown Seattle. I’ve taken Central Link several times since it was completed in 2009 and I’m rather smitten with it — it’s a sleek, efficient, and lovely transit system that’s loooong overdue. Too bad it wasn’t around when I actually lived in the area … I could have saved myself a lot of time sitting in traffic on I-5. From the Columbia City station located on MLK Jr. Blvd. it takes about 18 minutes to reach the system’s northern terminus, Westlake Center, in the heart of downtown Seattle. 
The area is also serviced by a plethora of buses and Columbia City itself, with its charming historic district, farmers market, thriving arts scene and ample amount of green spaces and public services, is one hot neighborhood. On a blog post detailing the myraid perks (many food-related) of the neighborhood, Dwell Development’s market strategist, Debra Bouchegnies, likens Columbia City to a “typical Parisian arrondissement, [where] you’ll find your butcher, boulangerie, café, coiffer, bibliotech, librarie, and bar aux vin, resto, all within a few short blocks.” And on that note, Columbia Station’s phase one homes received a not-too-shabby WalkScore of 85.
 
With Phase One of Columbia Station up and running, all but one of the four homes that make up Phase Two have been snagged by buyers (the available 2,000-square-foot two bed/two and a half bath model is on the market for $429,000.) Phase two is expected to be completed this spring. Phase Three, comprised of three homes located adjacent to a community P-patch (Seattle speak for community garden), is expected to break ground next month and be completed by September (renderings of the Phase Three homes are below). Like the Phases One and Two, each Phase Three home will be completely unique and include both two and three bedroom models.
 
Further down the line is Phase Four of Columbia Station which will include, drum roll please, the first built-on-spec Passive House in the country (rendering is below, third image). In a phone conversation, Debra Bouchegnies told me that the home, "Unit 13," will be located directly next to a notable Habitat for Humanity home at Rainer Vista. The Miller Hull-conceived Habitat home, dubbed House of the Immediate Future, will actually be constructed this spring at the base of the Space Needle on the grounds of the Seattle Center to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1962 World's Fair. The home will serve as an open-to-the-public green demo home before being relocated to a lot adjacent to Dwell Development's Columbia Station Phase Four Passive House. You can read more about the House of the Immediate Future here
Head on over to Dwell Development to read more about all three phases of Columbia Station and to check out additional photos, renderings, floorplans, and an overall site plan of the project. Dwell Development, a five-year-old firm that started out "with a simple goal of designing and building cool houses," is behind some most excellent green residential projects in addition to Columbia Station also worth checking out (most are in and around southeast Seattle). And speaking of checking out, the next time I'm back visiting my old Puget Sound stomping grounds, here's hoping I get a chance to once again take a ride on the light rail. This time around, I'll be sure to hop off at Columbia City ... where, from the sounds of it, I'll most likely eat multiple meals.
 
Is there a notable green residential building project in Washington that you'd liked to see featured in an upcoming installment of "Evergreen Homes?" Tell me about it in the comments section!
 
Past "Evergreen homes"
Thomas Eco-House (Stanwood)
• Green Roof House (Seattle)
• Verdant Home (Tacoma)
 The Sentinel (Seattle)
• Zhome (Isaquaah)
• EnviroHouse (Tacoma)
• The Method Cabin (Glacier)
• The Boneyard House (Walla Walla) 
• Natural Balance House (Friday Harbor)
• Art Stable (Seattle)
• Hale-Edmonds Residence (Seattle) 
• Hill House (Winthrop)
• Footprint at the Bridge (Seattle)
• GreenFab prefab home (Seattle)
• Perilstein and Dorsey Residences (Bainbridge Island)
• The Ellis Residence (Bainbridge Island)
• The Pierre (San Juan Islands)
• Davis Residence (Bellingham)

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