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Posts tagged ‘high performance homes in seattle’

City Cabins: Blacksmithing and energy-efficiency a perfect combination

Home builder Martha Rose’s newest collection of  hi-performance City Cabin homes, currently under construction, in Seattle’s Columbia City neighborhood are a blending of old school cabin design elements into an  extremely  energy-efficient building envelope.

Borrowing from the Arts and Crafts movement Rose is strategically integrating bits and pieces of the pre-industrial faction into City Cabins, carefully blending natural building materials into finished products while adding interesting architectural elements throughout.  Blacksmith-Artesian Silas Maddox, owner of Forge & Nail, has been contracted to add elements of beauty that also serve a function and create longer lasting value to the project.  Maddox will be designing and using his contemporary blacksmith background to forge interesting functional pieces into the home’s interior.

The identifiable hand forged elements add to the overall look and feel of City Cabins, these small details are often overlooked in spec home building, yet, really add to the authentic look and feel of the finished homes.

Rose believes that to truly differentiate her homes from the competition she needs to keep part of her old school foundation forged with innovation, building science and Lean building principles to be profitable.

The collection  City Cabins in Columbia City are scheduled for a Spring 2013 release.  For more information contact   Adrian Willanger 206 909-7536.

City Cabins’ Simplistically Chic Masters

City Cabins’ Simplistically Chic Masters

After my latest walk-through of Martha Rose’s newest high-performance  City Cabin™ homes currently under construction  in Seattle’s Columbia City I couldn’t help but get  very excited about the specialness of the top-floor master suites.  The sequestered top floor suite has all the amenities that are common at this price point; well appointed master bath, walk-in-closet and extra storage spaces.

What is unique is the design and openness of the bedroom portion of the suite. Vaulted ceilings that are high enough to allow a 180 square foot loft to be added, the loft is easily accessed by metal Lapeyre stairs. The Lapeyre stairs, with its small footprint, gives the room a stylish commercial accent while leaving lots of extra suite-space. The south facing suite has a generous wall of glass with sliding doors that lead to a brunch sized semi-private deck with views of the park across the street and beyond to Mount Rainier.

The high-performance City Cabins are scheduled to be released in Spring of 2013, for more information visit or contact Adrian Willanger @206 909-7536.

Green Home Building -Eye Candy for the Pocketbook

City Cabins at Columbia StationGreen Home Building -Eye Candy for the Pocketbook

Seattle home-builder Martha Rose, president of Martha Rose Construction, Inc., embraces the concept of durability, functionality and the virtues of relaxing at home while spending less to maintain your new home.

Currently about 25% of new homes are built green projected to reach 50% in the upcoming years, Rose’s newest homes, City Cabins in Seattle’s Columbia City, are being built for higher indoor air quality, lower utility bills and incorporating smart sophisticated design features.

Smart features design features like strategically installing USB plug-ins, say bye-bye to the 3 prong outlets and welcome to the homes that  are ready for  iPads, tablets and smart phones.

This just one of the great new features that is being introduced at the new City Cabins in Columbia City.  Learn more about the 4 new high-performance homes that will be completed in spring of 2013. Read more……

For more information regarding City Cabins contact Adrian Willanger 206 909-7536

Will reducing energy codes create more jobs?

Will reducing energy codes create more jobs?

This morning’s Google email alert regarding Albuquerque’s City Councils decision to scale back Albuquerque’s eco-friendly building standards really raised lots of questions for me.

While studying for my masters in sustainably one of the required courses was environmental law, while studying each state’s environmental and energy policies I was impressed by New Mexico’s aggressive regulations and initiatives, dating as far back as 1978 when they passed the Solar Energy Right Act.  And now I’m wondering did they perhaps go too far too fast?

Supporters of rolling-back the eco-friendly building codes that were initially adopted in 2009 had concerns that within the current economic environment any mandatory increases in construction spending, such as energy efficient building requirements, would dampen many new construction projects because of the added cost to become code compliant.  Opponents of the roll back included, homeowners, architects, environmental activist, and engineers thought the move was shortsighted. The merits of a stricter code were argued by argued by Councilor Isaac Benton said “it’s clear that higher energy-efficiency requirements benefit the consumer, though not right away.”   “But that’s part of the problem in this country today: people wanting to buy something cheap up front, without any regard for the long-term costs.”

Is this eco-friendly code reversal the tip of the iceberg?  Will other cities that have increased energy conservation into their building codes take similar measures?

Things to think about:

  • The more energy efficient a state is the lower the cost of doing business in the state.
  • How will relaxed energy building codes effect poor and moderate income households once energy prices spike up?
  • Are states falling behind by failing to provide energy efficient alternatives?
  • Will rolling back the building codes help the construction market?


Only time will tell how rolling back energy-efficient building codes will affect the local Albuquerque economy and create new job opportunities.

The Juniper Connection on Queen Anne Hill

City Cabins on Queen Anne Hill

City Cabins on Queen Anne Hill


Once Martha Rose, president of Martha Rose Construction, learned about ecological benefits that are derived from the harvesting of western Juniper from Oregon’s high desert it was clear that this would be natural fit to use.

The juniper in 1934 barely covered 1 million acres in Central Oregon today they cover 6 million acres. The main concern with the growing juniper’s growing population is its thirst. Junipers pull moisture out of the ground all year long. Which results in the prairie grasses that provides  food, shelter and erosion control don’t get enough water to survive.  By thinning the junipers, mostly young trees, the underground wells are able to produce more water especially during the late season mid-July through September when the high desert really needs more water, helping to increase the spring output to 3-5 gallons per minute, which during the dry months is a lot of water.

Rose likes the juniper’s’ rustic characteristic, durability, its environmental credentials and thought it would add an element of authenticity to her City Cabins project in Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood.  The juniper natural rot- and decay-resistances makes it an exceptional choice for decking, retaining walls, fencing and landscaping at City Cabins.

City Cabins are the newest next-gen high performance multi-green certified homes in Seattle are scheduled to be completed in December of 2011. For more information and availability visit or contact Adrian Willanger 206 909-7536.


High-Stepping into a Discretionary Buyer’s Market

Although there are over 15,000 Passive houses in Europe the concept is just starting to gain traction in the United States. Martha Rose, of Martha Rose Construction, is building two homes on Seattle’s Queen Anne Hill that are utilizing Passivhaus techniques.

The next-gen all electric homes will have multi-green certifications and are inching closer to

the magical net-zero barometers, meaning they produce as much electricity as they use.

This is particularly challenging with a spec built home, meaning the builder is building the home on speculation someone will pay the asking price for the finished product. The buzz has begun, that the innovative City Cabins aren’t quietly meeting the new home market demands but high-stepping into a discretionary buyer’s market where the high-tech high-performance housing supply has not been met as of yet.

In order for Rose’s City Cabins to get to the net zero-number they need to produce as much electricity as they consume, they’ve already gone through great strides to reduce the homes energy demands by building a super-insulated virtually air tight envelope. All that is need is enough solar equipment to get them over the hump to net-zero. Preliminary estimations are that on the southern City Cabin a 5KW photo-voltaic system should do it, the home is wired and plumbed for the system and is available as upgrade.

For more information on visit the website or contact Adrian Willanger 206 909-7536.

Homes in 2 Seattle neighborhoods will be in Washington State Solar Tour

View Seattle Queen Anne Hill-Magnolia Solar Tour in a larger map

Washington State Solar 2011 Tour

The  neighborhoods of Queen Anne and Magnolia in Seattle will have 4 homes to preview in this Saturday’s National Solar Tour. This is a great way to look at 4 different solar arrays and rainwater, rainwater catchment systems and one electric car charging station.

Queen Anne Hill

2223 4th Ave N Seattle, Wa. 98119

Technologies: Photovoltaics Other (Electric Vehicle, Living Roof, Rainwater Catchment, etc

3652 13th Ave West City Cabins

Technologies: Photovoltaics, Passive Solar, Other (Electric Vehicle, Living Roof, Rainwater Catchment, etc.)

City Cabins are two high performance homes currently under construction. A rare opportunity to have an onsite tour with award winning green builder Martha Rose explaing what goes into these next-gen homes. Tours are Saturday October 1, 2011 from 10am-4pm.

Magnolia (the two homes in Magnolia are drive-by only no tours)

2601 40th Ave W

Technologies:  Photovoltaics, Evacuated Tube

Next-Gen Homes on Queen Anne Hill Targeting 3 Green Certifications

Martha Rose Construction Joins Building America


The buzz on Seattle’s Queen Anne Hill neighborhood is starting to pick about the two new high performance homes being build on the Hill’s northwest side. The two homes, City Cabins, constructed by Martha Rose Construction in Seattle, are extreme green homes. What does this mean? The homes will be put through extensive testing and third party certifying before being awarded the 5 Star Built Green, Energy Star and Building American Certifications.  Rose a builder with a high green IQ has been building at the highest levels of the Built Green program since its inception and has within the last 5 years added the ENERGY STAR and Building America’s Builders Challenge certifications to all of their new homes.  Today’s focus ENERGY STAR

To qualify as an ENERGY STAR home

To earn the ENERGY STAR, a home must meet guidelines for energy efficiency set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. These homes are at least 15% more energy efficient than homes built to the 2004 International Residential Code (IRC), and include additional energy-saving features that typically make them 20–30% more efficient than standard homes.

City Cabins should be 40-50% more efficient than standard built new homes. These “next-gen” built homes will have earned the government’s trusted ENERGY STAR label; homeowners will have the comfort knowing it’s been built to meet or surpass the strict guidelines of the Environmental Protect Agency.

Some of the important benefits of owing an ENERGY STAR home:

Lower Utility Bills

By using less energy for heating, cooling, and water heating, ENERGY STAR qualified homes deliver approximately 20% savings on annual utility bills. Over the 7 to 8 years that a typical family lives in a home, you can save thousands of dollars in maintenance cost.

Enhanced Performance

In ENERGY STAR qualified homes, comfort is ensured with consistent temperatures between and across rooms; indoor air quality is enhanced by reducing dust, pollen, bugs, and excessive humidity; and durability is improved with comprehensive water protection, windows that block damaging sunlight, and better grade equipment.

Environmental Protection

The energy used in our homes often comes from the burning of fossil fuels at power plants. So, by using less energy to operate, ENERGY STAR qualified homes help to prevent air pollution—an added benefit for today’s environmentally-conscious consumer looking for “green” choices.

City Cabins are now under construction and are scheduled for a November 2011 completion. For more information visit the website or contact Adrian Willanger.


Queen Anne Hill New Home Project Chooses A & R Solar

City Cabins at framing stage

Seattle’s newest high-performance homes, City Cabins on Queen Anne Hill, selects A & R Solar to install photovoltaic (PV) for one of their new homes.

Reeves Clippard of A & R Solar did a roof take off to determine how much of the available sun light could be utilized by an array of roof panels.  It was determined that 93% of the available sun light could be used and converted into electricity.

Seattle Builder Martha Rose has wired the garages of the two new hi-performance homes one Queen Anne for electric car power charging stations as well as installing a 1.9 kilowatt (KW) solar-panel system on one of the two City Cabin homes, the other is pre-wired and can accommodate up to a 5KW solar system. The 1.9 system should produce 2000KW hours of electricity annual, enough, according to Tacoma Power and Light, to power an electric car 7000-10,000 miles (depending on the make and model). If an electric car isn’t an option the electrical power produced from the 1.9KW system should offset the home owner’s electricity cost by 20-25% depending on the home owner’s energy use behaviors. In addition to the monthly savings there are also is a 3o% tax credit from the Federal Government good through 2014 in addition to the net-metering production incentives through Seattle City Light.

The new homes will be the most energy-efficient homes Rose has built. Rose, a builder with a high green I-Q, has stayed in the forefront of the rapidly changing building codes for nearly a decade and is raising the energy-performance bar with their latest collection of homes.

The two view homes are being built with double-wall exterior construction filled with 7 ½” of blown fiberglass insulation, 1” Dow Blue Foam Board, ½” CDX plywood, 2 layers of moisture barrier paper and lap siding increasing the overall R-value, comfort and energy savings for the new home owners.

City Cabins are currently under construction and are scheduled for a November 2011 completion. For more information visit or contact Adrian Willanger 206 909-7536.


City Cabins on Queen Anne Hill Are Aiming at Being Part of the Solution

Queen City Eco-Village

Solar Equipment at Queen City Eco-Village


Martha Rose, president of Martha Rose Construction, Inc. a Seattle based home building company, thought that the eco-contentiousness of the residents of the Queen Anne and Magnolia neighborhoods was one of the main factors why she decided to select Queen Anne Hill as the site for their newest project City Cabins on Queen Anne Hill.

Rose states “much of the marketing of our homes is centered around educating the consumer on energy efficiency and why we build the way we do.”  These neighborhoods are very active with such programs asSolarize Queen Anne and Sustainable Magnolia.

The Queen Ann Hill neighborhood in partnership with Northwest Seed, a non-profit organization with a mission to establish clean, diverse and affordable energy in the northwest using renewable resources efficiently has been selected as the pilot neighborhood for the Solarize Seattle project.

Solarize Seattle is a volunteer driven community effort intended to bring solar energy at an affordable price to Seattle area homes. Residents involved in the program will be able to purchase solar equipment at a group bulk purchasing price in addition to incentives and tax credits can cover a large portion of the remaining costs.

Solarize Queen Anne by the numbers:

  • 159 Queen Anne residents registered (closed)
  • 150+ workshops attendees (closed)
  • 90+ site assessments in progress
  • 18 contracts signed

Solarize Seattle has received funding for two additional neighborhood projects for more information visit

Rose has been building high-performance homes in the Seattle area for over a decade and is quite familiar with both solar photo-voltaic (PV) and solar hot water installations, their new homes City Cabins on Queen Anne Hill, will be plumbed, wired and roughed in for PV, hot water and electric car charging stations.

City Cabins are available for pre-sales, for more information contact Adrian Willanger 206 909-7536.