Super Energy Efficient Home Built With Reclaimed Materials

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When we think about sustainable homes, we tend to think about energy efficiency and mindful use of materials. A new home in Columbia City, Washington, can claim to not only be energy efficient but has made significant use of sustainable and recycled materials. “Reclaimed Modern” has near net zero energy consumption and was built using reclaimed metal, wood and concrete.

Designed by architecture firm Dwell Developments, Reclaimed Modern covers 3,140 sq ft (290 sq. m) and houses four bedrooms. It has a detached garage and rooftop deck from which there are views of Seattle, Columbia City and Lake Washington. Much of the building’s character, however, comes from the reclaimed materials of which it makes use. (Images by Dwell Architecture.)

Front Elevation from Street

“We have always used a lot of materials with high recycled content,” says the design project coordinator at Dwell Development. “But the idea of actually taking and reusing materials from old buildings slated for demolition was the next step – a natural evolution.”

Rear View of House

The materials used include metal and wood from a deconstructed barn in the Willamette Valley. Corrugated metal from the barn was used for cladding on the side of the house, as well as to create fencing in the garden. The barn wood, meanwhile, forms part of the overhang, or “soffit,” above the rooftop deck. The pathway leading up to the house is made out of repurposed concrete from a public sidewalk that was removed during construction.

The house has a 7.29 kW solar array installed on the roof and was built targeting a net zero level of energy consumption. With it only having only recently been occupied, there is no practical usage data available yet, but Dwell tells Gizmag that it came in just short of the target, with a HERS rating of 15.

Upper Floor Patio with Views To Seattle

The HERS index is a US rating of a house’s energy performance. A score of 150 means a house is 50 percent less energy efficient than a standard new home, while a score of 100 puts a house at the same level of efficiency as a standard new home. A score of 0, meanwhile, indicates that a house produces as much energy as it consumes … a net zero home.

Main Floor Patio

Elsewhere, the house makes use of Enviro-Dri coating on its exterior that helps to create a weather-resistant barrier and seals the building against moisture. Triple glazing helps to insulate the house and a blower door test for airtightness has also been carried out. This measures the number of times in an hour that indoor air is replaced at pressure and Reclaimed Modern’s result of result of 2.5 at 50 Pa indicates a high level of air tightness.

Front Entry with Vaulted Ceilings

Reclaimed Modern’s HERS score of 15 shows that it has an excellent level of energy efficiency. Dwell tells Gizmag that the building could be brought up to net zero level by adding another 4 kW of solar panels. Any electricity generated that isn’t used is sold back into the grid at a premium over the cost at which the owners buy their electricity, earning them a projected US$4,500 per year for the next four years plus.



View to the Dining Room from Kitchen

Dining Room

Dining Room View Back To Kitchen

Main Floor Living Room With Access To Patio

Entry and Stairwell To Upper Floor

Upper Landing

Upper Floor Family Room With Access To Patio

Another View

Upper Floor Patio

Guest Bedroom


Ensuite Shower

Upper Floor Patio and Solar Array

Looking Down at Patio

Exterior At Evening: Project Completed October 2014




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