We have been intrigued by the growing interest in prefabricated new homes and were excited when we were approached about building a Stillwater Dwellings home. Stillwater Dwelling homes feature dramatic natural lighting, beautiful finishes and thoughtful, right-sized floor plans.
- Architect: Stillwater Dwellings
- General contractor: Chuckanut Builders
- Custom cabinets: Smith and Vallee Woodworks
The design phase of this project was well underway when we joined the project. Chuckanut Builders is very often involved with projects from the initial planning phases, a style of project delivery called ‘integrated design.’ This provides an opportunity for us to guide conversations about buildability, affordability and building performance while the project is still malleable.
In this case, the wall systems were already designed but the mechanical systems, building envelope details and interior finishes were still in progress. This allowed us to facilitate some important conversations about building performance, which helped move the project in a greener direction, but it also meant that some important decisions had already been made that limited the opportunities for a deeper green building envelope. Regardless, the building performance details that were incorporated into this project resulted in a home that is more comfortable, durable, healthy and efficient.
Key details green building details
- High-performance weather resistive barrier to increase the home’s durability
- Advanced mechanical system with a heat recovery ventilator (HRV)
- Mini-split heat pump for heating and cooling
- Heat pump hot water tank
- Extensive solar panel array
The rigid design specifications provided by Stillwater Dwellings called for the use of spray foam insulation, which has high embodied energy and isn’t recyclable, but has great air-sealing abilities. While the use of spray foam isn’t Chuckanut’s normal operating procedure, in combination with the addition of dense-packed cellulose and standard air-sealing details, the foam insulation ensured that the home is well insulated and comfortable.
In the green building world people often highlight the comfort, durability, health and efficiency of high-performance homes. More recently, resilience has been added to that list, a nod to climate change and the growing need to buffer our homes against it. This project hits all of these points. The details of the mechanical systems and the building envelope harmonize with the overall design to make a durable building that will withstand the elements in style.
Photos by Chris DiNottia.