Here is a glimpse of the design and layout of the house.

Main Floor

Second Floor


13 thoughts on “Design

  1. I love the direction you guys went when designing this house, and that you for sharing. Just finished reading a great article from your local paper and wish I could come down to see your open house on the 10th. I hope to go down the same road once my current house sells!

    • Hi Nathan,

      Thanks for your note. Sorry you can’t make it to the open house. Good luck with building your house. Let us know if we can help answer any questions that come up along the way.

    • Hi Adrian,

      Thanks for the feedback. Yes, the roof has room for 9.4 kw of PV, but we only installed 6.3 kw, enough to achieve net-zero. The extra room is there for if we ever decide to get an electric car, which the remaining PV should be able to power about 6-9,000 miles per year.


  2. Congratulations! You guys did a great job with this house. I just saw the article on Komo News.
    I got even more surprised to find out your final cost included the property as well.
    If it’s not a problem, can you share how the loan situation worked out. Were you able to get one single loan for property and house? I’d love to build something similar but I’m afraid of the hidden costs it might appear along the way.

    • Hi Giselle,

      Thank you for the congratulations. The loan worked out well in the end. Actually, we just got back from the notary where we signed all the paperwork for our final loan closing.

      We went with a loan package from Wells Fargo, which included both the construction loan and the permanent loan together with one set of closing costs. At the time, they were about the only bank, besides BECU, that was offering such loans, and BECU’s terms didn’t seem to be as good. There may be more banks offering construction loans now.

      If you’re curious about building and financing costs, we’d be happy to talk to you offline. Overall, the agreed-upon construction costs came in slightly under budget, but we added some strictly optional upgrades along the way, like the reclaimed fir floors in the upstairs. We paid cash for those, and the amount we borrowed turned out to be less than what the bank had projected. We attribute our success at staying on budget largely to our contractor, who didn’t try to up-sell us all the time, and we tried to remain as thrifty as we could throughout construction.


  3. Looks like you’ve done a great design!

    Can you post a regular power usage of your house (PV generated, usage, sold back to P.S. Energy)? I, like others, am very curious to see real-world PV power use here in the NW and on-going data points would be hugely useful.

    • Thanks for your interest.

      We’ve had some billing issues with Seattle City Light, which they say they are sorting out now. We’ll try to post some usage numbers as soon as we can get accurate info.

    • Hi Morgan,

      Thanks for your interest. The heat and hot water come from an electric air-to-water heat pump (Unico Unichiller). This keeps a tank of water at 115 degrees F. When the thermostat calls for heat, a pump sends the hot water through pipes embedded in the concrete floor. This 115 water is also used to preheat the domestic hot water for showers and sinks etc. A standard resistance electric water heater gets it up to a more comfortable hot temperature.

      I hope that answers your question. Let me know if you want more detail.


  4. Congrats on living in the future Eric! I am very proud to refer to your success in the NW as I’m just across town. I always thought one needed to live in the SW for this type of thing. Was there thought on the proportion of house to size of family to the ability to achieve net zero energy usage? I have four kids along with horses and I am wondering if it’s effective to strive for NZ with such a large consumption footprint.

    Thank you,

    • Hi Jeff,

      Thanks for getting in touch. We, too, were excited to find out that net-zero building works in the Pacific NW. I have definitely heard of other net-zero houses that were 3,000SF+ and in even colder climates. I think it’s just a matter of proper lot orientation and having enough south-facing roof space to fit sufficient solar panels. (Of course you’ll need to design a tight building envelope, etc.).


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