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In Depth Case Studies

Capitol Hill House

This photo shows the front view of the house.

Photo credit: Michael Moore


  • Location: Seattle, WA
  • Building type(s): Single-family residential
  • 10% new construction, 90% renovation of a 1912 building, last renovated in 1980
  • 4,200 ft2 (390 m2)
  • Project scope: 2-story building
  • Urban setting
  • Completed July 2003
  • Rating: Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties Built Green --Level: 3 Stars

This project was a remodel of an existing house. The only addition, the penthouse structure, accesses the new roof terrace. The existing house was a gray box with a flat roof, set within a rather traditional, urban, residential neighborhood. The owners wanted to retain its "modern" look, while turning it from drab to beautiful. At the same time, they wanted their house project to be a laboratory for sustainability and "smart house" technology.

Environmental Aspects

This project's most visible green feature is the array of photovoltaic panels and solar-hot-water collectors mounted atop the penthouse roof. The PVs can produce 3,200 kWh of electricity per year, and, with the help of assorted energy-saving strategies throughout the house, they provide a significant portion of the owners' energy needs.

Other notable components of the project include: "smart" whole-house systems monitoring, hydronic radiant-floor heating, rainscreen siding, wastewater heat recovery, rainwater collection for reuse, bamboo flooring, and efficient lighting, appliances, and systems.

Owner & Occupancy

  • Owned and occupied by Ophir Ronen and Io Salant, Individual(s)
  • Typically occupied by 3 people, 128 hours per person per week; and 6 visitors per week, 2 hours per visitor per week

Building Programs

Indoor Spaces:

Living quarters (100%)

Outdoor Spaces:

Garden—decorative (40%), Garden—productive (40%), Parking (10%), Pedestrian/non-motorized vehicle path (10%)


Integrated team, Performance measurement and verification, Transportation benefits, Indigenous vegetation, Water harvesting, Efficient fixtures and appliances, Efficient irrigation, Drought-tolerant landscaping, Glazing, Airtightness, Lighting control and daylight harvesting, Efficient lighting, On-site renewable electricity, Benign materials, Salvaged materials, Recycled materials, Occupant recycling, Connection to outdoors, Daylighting, Natural ventilation, Thermal comfort, Low-emitting materials, Indoor air quality monitoring

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