Lake Samish Lookout

Lake Samish Lookout

We could not have asked for a more perfect site to build on than Lake Samish Lookout. Besides the striking views all around, the lot is mostly flat and already came with utilities stubbed on site. There were also no trees harmed in the building of this home. In all, the lot created a very cost-effective build which made all parties happy!

Lake Samish Lookout was designed to use space efficiently and effectively while optimizing the stunning easterly views of Lake Samish and natural southern lighting. The house includes 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms and an upside-down layout with a spacious, open kitchen, dining and living room on the second floor looking over the lake and surrounding forest. From the second floor living space, you can effortlessly access the 240 sqft deck for the full panoramic views. Whether it be outdoor cooking and dining, lounging, or working with a view, the spacious deck adds a complementary flex space to the small footprint home for bigger living. In total, this Net-Zero house measures 1500 sqft and was completed the summer of 2022. 

Lake Samish Lookout was built using our standard TC Legend envelope and mechanical systems but with Fujitsu 18RL heat pump with one head on each floor. On the Southwest sloping metal roof, sits an 8.1kW photovoltaic array, allowing the house to produce an excess of electricity to power both the house and an electric vehicle, qualifying the house as a Net-Positive home. The aesthetic wooden arbor in the northeast corner of the house coveys the roof’s stormwater to an unusual up-slope infiltration trench required by the site topography. 

With a 0.41 air changes per hour, the envelop sealing exceeds Passivehaus standards. We expect the home to receive at least a 4 Star Built Green rating and has received Department of Energy’s Zero Energy Ready Home rating, Energy Star certification and EPA’s Indoor AirPLUS certification. 

Lead carpenter Jeff did a superb job managing the construction on this cozy abode, with photographer John Trax commenting that this was the cleanest construction site he has ever seen. On site just about every day for the last 2 months of the build, Jeff made sure the house was finished to the highest standards!

Forest Hill House

Forest Hill House

The Forest Hill house was commissioned by a night-shift worker with a love of house plants & the land upon which he was raised. The lot, bequeathed by grandma, faces due south with a big sky view, interrupted only by a distant fir; ideal for passive solar harvest, active photovoltaic (PV) harvest, and vegetable harvest!

Built over the winter of 2020/ 2021, Jeff tells me the build was all straightforward, except grinding down the interior slab-on-grade after the stick-frame walls were built. The grinder is a frustratingly twitchy machine, time consuming, and no one’s favorite job. The result however is a beautiful concrete floor with the aggregate cut-through, showing patina from the bull-float & the cream in the concrete. This floor will endure through many years of very hard wear.

Equally durable materials are used to clad the SIP roof & walls; NuDura metal roofing & Hardie fiber-cement lap siding combine to protect the insulating SIPs foam panels. The siding was hung in-house by TC and the fellas did a fabulous job of precisely stacking the board-joints, setting up a very pleasing pattern in the siding.

To clad the small 6” ICF (Insulated concrete form) upstand, TC uses colored 26 gauge metal to protect the insulating foam from impact & abrasion.

The highly insulated energy-shell enables this home to be heated with 12Btu/ hour (max) Fujitsu minisplit. This is an all-electric, net zero house, ready for the future. Including the coming storms….

Battery power is a hot topic these days, with grid managers planning for greater grid efficiency by storing off-peak grid surplus in privately owned battery systems.

TC Installed the 5Kw LG lithium-ion house battery on the exterior north wall. Integrated with the PV, the battery allows the PV produced electricity to be stored, ensuring this all-electric house works even when the power goes down.

Neos House

Neos House

The Neos house is a 4 bedroom family house. 2614 square feet. Completed in spring 2021.

Designed as a multi-generational home with one full bathroom & one full bedroom on the 1st floor, if the piano-room & the rec-room were enclosed with walls we’d have a 7-bedroom home. Enough for a substantial family to live together.

Pointing south, the view looks towards the huge garden.

The garden spills into the dining area through sliding doors. The folks who commissioned this home are gardeners, with kids, who will be drawn towards the natural world as a way to thrive.

The weather briefly nips at you as you walk from the front door to the garage under the covered walkway, creating a connection with the day’s weather and the world outside the energy-shell.

The SIPs installation was subcontracted because this is a Bellevue job & the TC crew have northern families & want to be home at night if possible. Issac taught a Peruvian framing crew how to sling the SIPs and the job ran fast & smoothly using advanced SIPs details required by the Bellevue jurisdiction.

Despite one design mistake (the mechanicals are in the unheated garage), this house is an exercise in textbook design for cost & energy performance.

The client did a stellar job of following design advice & the crew lovingly built the house, sealing the envelope to 0.6 air changes per hour, Passivehaus standard. The result is an economical house that has won a Department of Energy Grand Prize, attained 5-star Build Green certification and is certified Net Zero.

The envelope & mechanical systems are all drawn from the 2020 TC system: 6.5” walls, 10.25” SIP roof, 4” R20 foam under the slab, R24 ICF’s, Chilltrix CX34 heatpump with (1) fancoil upstairs, Zehnder 350 HRV with comfopost heat/ cool delivery. Vinyltek triple pane windows & Thermatru front door.

All the stormwater from the roof is infiltrated back into the onsite soils via a huge infiltration trench. Additionally, the excavation soils all remained onsite to reduce soils trucking. The clients took responsibility for seeding the exposed construction soils, choosing to plant a complex cover crop in place of the usual grass. The cover crop can be tilled back into the soils to impart nitrogen & other nutrients when a new planting regime is decided upon.

The house in a garden is a traditional family way of life and TC is proud to have built a modern, dense & flexible version of this ideal, updated to make all its own power to address the demands of the climate-change world.

House in a Hollow

House in a Hollow

The house-in-a-hollow isn’t really in a hollow, it’s on a knoll, above protected wetlands, northeast of Bellingham. The hollow is formed by the trees, which were preserved to shield the house from overheating, and to conserve the flora of the native wetlands.

Measuring 1950 square feet, this Department-of-Energy certified Net Zero clerestory design has a central kitchen and a 1st floor aging-in-place floorplan. Designed for an Alaskan couple whose love of the outdoors demanded a house that fully engaged with the landscape, plenty of daylight is admitted & access to outdoor living is easy.

Most of the house is downstairs, leaving (2) bedrooms, a full bathroom and a rec-room upstairs for family visits, grandchildren to play Lego, perhaps an office if needed, old friends to take up residence…

Advances in TC’s mechanical systems determined that the radiant tubes embedded in the 4” concrete slab will serve as a back-up heating system to handle abrupt cold snaps, with the day-to-day heat & cool being delivered via the Zehnder Comfopost, a heating/ cooling coil that sits in the ventilation delivery ducts. The Comfopost coil is driven by the Chilltrix CX34 heatpump, along with a further fancoil heat/ cool unit located in the 2nd floor rec-room.

The energy-shell is formed using the system: 6.5” SIPs walls, 10.25” SIPs roof,’ with 4” slab-on-grade concrete-mass insulated from below with 4” of R20 foam. The openings are plugged with Vinytek triple pane Boreal windows & Thermatrue fiberglass doors.

TC Legend built this net-zero house through the winter of 2020/ 2021. The SIPs roof panels swung in on a crane through the blowing snow, Ted now reporting feeling has returned to his fingers, 6 months later! The owners planted over 630 native trees and shrubs in the chilling March rain, and the crew scooped up the mud and maintained the new 700’ driveway to this remote & beautiful lot: A gem in the Pacific Northwest.

Saint Claire Powerhouse

Saint Claire Powerhouse

This 1,900 square-foot 3 bedroom clerestory home, with an additional 672-square-foot attached garage located outside the SIPs shell, was built in 2016 in western Washington.

Because the master bedroom and bathroom were required to be located on the first floor, the clerestory design allowed us to locate two additional bedrooms and a bath on a minimal second floor, while leaving the glorious and spacious SIPs vaulted ceiling within the main living & kitchen spaces.

The play of light from the second-floor clerestory windows penetrates deeply into the main living spaces, eliminating glare at the large south windows and providing unusually even and dynamic day-lighting within the kitchen and living room. The occupants feel connected to the sweep of the sun, clouds, and weather patterns outside.

This is a near-perfect lot for a solar-panel net-zero home, identified by the clear solar exposure to the south, with no trees or buildings between the building and the sun.

 

SPECS/FEATURES

  • Department of Energy Net-Zero certified
  • Chilltrix CX34 air-to-water heat pump
  • 100% on-site storm water infiltration via 30-foot dispersion trench
  • 10.8 kW of solar panel installed
  • 6.5” R-29 SIPs walls
  • 10.25” R-49 SIPs roof
  • 4” R-20 foam under 4” concrete slab-on-grade for thermal mass
  • 5.5” foam (total) R-23.8 insulated concrete form (ICF) perimeter stem walls
  • Vinyltek Boreal series triple-pane windows (U values from 0.14 to 0.16)
  • 1:1.6 aspect ratio floor plan, with the long side facing south
  • Minimal east and west glazing