Earth Month Project Feature: Solis

With its enhanced building envelope, Solis, located in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, is targeting Passive House certification, one of the most rigorous certifications for energy efficiency. Solis is multi-family housing building comprised of apartment units paired with a lush garden spaces that, upon completion, will become the largest certified Passive House building in the state. In honor of Earth Month, we’re celebrating three of the project’s most innovative sustainable features.

project stats

  • 45 apartmen units in a mix of studios, 1-, and 2-bedroom units
  • 3,258 sf of retail
  • Targeting a site EUI of 18
  • Slated for completion in early 2020

1. Design excellence meets sustainable performance

Passive House design focuses on an enhanced building envelope – specifically continuous insulation and airtight construction. Our obsession with the air barrier has yielded a final design that is exceptionally energy efficient and comfortable for occupants. Passive House principles were embraced wholeheartedly from the beginning of the project, and each and every design decision points directly back to the robust energy model. One of Solis’ more unique elements is the staircase and elevator, which reside on the exterior of the building. By taking these elements outside the conditioned envelope, the amount of area that requires heating and cooling is reduced. This saves energy and alleviates the pressure challenges of moving large quantities of air within an airtight building. Smart envelope detailing also plays a significant role; corners and edges are critical.

2. Going beyond energy savings

As its name would suggest, Solis takes advantage of solar panels installed in the ground floor canopy, allowing for a portion of the building’s energy to be generated on site. While the solar panels absorb the sun’s energy, the exterior window shading blocks unwanted solar heat gain, helping to keep the temperatures balanced indoors at comfortable levels. Future tenants will find that an energy efficient home has an impact beyond the environment: the high-performance building envelope, LED lighting, low-flow fixtures and triple-pane windows translate to big cost savings for homeowners.

3. Resiliency for an unknown future

As the world turns, designing for adaptability and change is the opportunity that lies before us – and all architects. Global temperatures are rising and this has a ripple effect on other spheres of living. Solis will be equipped with air conditioning but given the enhanced building envelope, residents aren’t likely to need it very often. Heat recovery ventilators (HRVs) are strategically integrated to provide fresh, filtered air to residents at all times. Combined with airtight construction that keeps pollutants out, this creates the cleanest interior environment possible, setting a precedent for healthier homes in a region now prone to wildfire smoke during summer months.

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