Issaquah Net-Zero Energy Homes

The City of Issaquah recently selected David Vandervort Architects for their net zero energy home demonstration project in Issaquah Highlands. Noland Homes plans to begin construction in Summer 2008.

The goal for these homes is that over the course of a year, their net energy use will be zero. The expectation is that energy consumption during the cooler periods of the year will be offset by excess energy produced by photovoltaic panels during sunny months.

Even though the Pacific Northwest has a relatively mild climate, the lack of sun during so much of the year is a serious challenge for achieving net zero energy use. Net zero is probably easier to achieve in colder but sunnier climates, as in Colorado. Below is a proposed net zero development in Boulder that is similar in form and scale to the Issaquah project:

In any case, a cloudy climate doesn’t seem to have discouraged those across the pond, see for example BedZED, or the “Lighthouse” net-zero home shown below:

As awareness of energy and global warming grows, net-zero energy is certain to become an increasingly common goal. It is surprising, given the City of Seattle’s focus on green building, that Issaquah has gotten the jump on the region’s first net-zero project. Word on the street is that Seattle will launch a net-zero project in the near future.