Seattle City Light’s Director of Conservation Resources, Glenn Atwood, helped Habitat for Humanity unveil a “House of the Near Future” Tuesday that the nonprofit organization is building as part of The Seattle Center’s Next Fifty celebration of the 1962 World’s Fair.
The home will be open to visitors, starting Sept. 1, to showcase energy efficient designs and technology that reduce operating costs and enhance the home’s comfort. Solar panels that will be installed on the roof are expected to provide much of the super-efficient home’s electricity. Later this year, the house will be moved and purchased by a Habitat for Humanity family.
Atwood applauded Habitat for Humanity and the project’s architect, the Miller Hull Partnership, for maximizing the energy efficiency of the home with insulation, triple-pane windows, a heat pump, natural lighting and other features. He also noted that City Light is ready to help existing homeowners improve the energy efficiency of their homes with rebates and other incentives you can learn about here.
Below is the announcement from Habitat for Humanity or you can read The Seattle Times’ story about the house here.
THE HOUSE OF THE IMMEDIATE FUTURE TO OPEN AT SEATTLE CENTER
SEATTLE – August 28, 2012 – Habitat for Humanity Seattle/South King County today announced that The House of the Immediate Future will open to the public on Saturday, September 1, 2012. Tours will be offered from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, September 1– Monday, September 3. Beginning September 5, tours will be offered Wednesdays through Sundays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. through October 21. The house was built as part of The Next 50 celebration at Seattle Center. The house is one of six super energy-efficient homes being featured this year by Northwest ENERGY STAR® Homes. The design was led by Seattle architecture firm The Miller Hull Partnership. Method Homes and Seattle City Light also participated in this unique residential project, which showcases the latest advances in home energy systems and technologies available today.
The House of the Immediate Future reflects on a modular home of the same name that was featured at the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, but it stands in stark contrast to its predecessor in one important way. Yesterday’s version of the American home of the future was packed with high-tech gadgets to be powered by seemingly endless resources. Fifty years later, consumers have driven the market to develop advanced construction methods and energy efficiency technologies. Today’s House of the Immediate Future is a net zero-energy home that uses the best of readily available energy efficiency products and technologies. It maximizes insulation for lower utility bills, minimizes air-infiltration for improved indoor air quality, and is noticeably more quiet and comfortable than a home built to current or previous state building codes.
“Habitat’s mission is to create affordable homeownership opportunities for hard-working, low-income families and heating bills have a major impact on affordability,” said Marty Kooistra, CEO of Habitat for Humanity, Seattle/South King County. “Our partnership with the Northwest ENERGY STARHomes program is exciting because it’s vital that our homes minimize energy use and, in particular, keep utility costs down.” Kooistra said The House of the Immediate Future could become a prototype for Northwest Habitat homes in the future.
The two-story, 1,400 square foot home has four bedrooms and two baths and was largely constructed by Habitat for Humanity volunteers. The Habitat family purchasing the house currently lives in a severely overcrowded two bedroom apartment in Tukwila. They will take possession early in 2013 when the home is moved to an emerging Seattle Housing Authority neighborhood in Rainier Valley.
“Seattle City Light is excited to support this project with Habitat for Humanity and the Northwest ENERGY STAR Homes program,” said Glenn Atwood, Conservation Director, Seattle City Light. “The House of the Immediate Future showcases products, technologies and building practices that exist right now for building homes that have lower electricity bills and are more comfortable to live in. And homeowners can utilize many similar products and technologies at a reduced cost by taking advantage of Seattle City Light’s rebate programs.”
The Miller Hull Partnership worked with a team of area residential energy experts to design a home that used materials and methods that fit Habitat’s volunteer-construction model. Key components of the project were two “wet core modules” that were installed prior to enclosure of walls and roof and which house a mechanical room, kitchen and bathrooms, wiring, plumbing and HVAC systems. Prefabricated by Method Homes, this technique reduced construction time and centralized professional trade involvement and costs. Habitat volunteers assemble panelized segments, also built by Method, which allowed the house to be weather tight very quickly.
“We put our focus on looking for the simplest cost-effective approaches to achieve net-zero energy for the home,” said Mike Jobes, Miller Hull. “The result was a back-to-basics design that’s comfortable and practical, yet on the leading edge of super energy-efficient design.”
You can follow this project at http://www.seattle-habitat.org/our-projects/projects/the-next-50.
About Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity is an international non-profit organization that builds homes in partnership with hardworking, low-income families. Founded in 1976, we are dedicated to eliminating poverty housing and homelessness from the world, and to making decent shelter a matter of conscience and action. Since 1986, Habitat for Humanity of Seattle/South King County, one of 2,000 affiliates worldwide, has built, renovated or repaired over 200 homes in the greater Seattle area, providing simple decent housing for 300 adults and over 500 children. Partner families earn 30 percent to 60 percent of the median annual income for King County, receive no profit, no-interest mortgages and their payments are returned to a fund to build more homes. For more information visit www.seattle-habitat.org.
About the Northwest ENERGY STAR® Homes program
The Northwest ENERGY STAR Homes program is a regional initiative that Seattle City Light supports as part of its commitment to providing its community with the most energy-efficient homes that use less energy, provide comfortable, affordable and healthier living spaces. Northwest ENERGY STAR Homes are built using the guidelines set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and are at least 15% more efficient than homes built to current state building codes. To-date, over 20,000 homes have been certified throughout the Northwest through the Northwest ENERGY STAR Homes program. www.northwestenergystar.com
About The Miller Hull Partnership
The Miller Hull Partnership specializes in award-winning design for public and private buildings that actively engage their communities in Seattle and San Diego. Miller Hull’s built work spans a wide range of project types such as schools, interpretive, community and nature centers, museums, city halls and public administration buildings, libraries, higher education facilities, mixed-use buildings, laboratories, corporate offices, condominiums and small residences. The Miller Hull Partnership has received more than 200 design awards, and is the recipient of the National Firm Award from the American Institute of Architects. www.millerhull.com
About Seattle City Light
Seattle City Light is the tenth largest public electric utility in the United States. It has some of the lowest cost customer rates of any urban utility, providing reliable, renewable and environmentally responsible power to nearly one million Seattle area residents. City Light has been greenhouse gas neutral since 2005, the first electric utility in the nation to achieve that distinction. www.seattle.gov/light