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.
Evergreen homes: Columbia Station
Located a stone's throw from a light rail station and a host of ethnic restaurants and public amenities, Dwell Development's Columbia Station is a green micro-community in Seattle's Columbia City neighborhood.
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.