Water conservation is priority at zHome, WaterSense honoree

March 6, 2012

The carbon-neutral zHome townhouses in the Issaquah Highlands receive most attention for steps to reduce energy use.

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Innovation in Issaquah honor is latest milestone for zHome

February 28, 2012

The accolades started to accumulate for the carbon-neutral community zHome before construction concluded.

The latest honor — recognition in the Innovation in Issaquah contest as the top public-private partnership — highlights the collaboration among academic, business and government interests to complete the 10-unit townhouse project.

The community in the Issaquah Highlands uses zero net energy and 70 percent less water than a traditional home. The community opened in September 2011 as the inaugural carbon-neutral and zero-energy multifamily community in the United States.

“We live in a really exceptional city,” zHome Project Manager Brad Liljequist said. “Projects like this cannot happen without a mayor and a City Council that also have vision. I’ve worked in a lot of different cities around the Northwest, and Issaquah is truly exceptional when it comes to our city’s leadership.”

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Eastside Fire & Rescue Station 72 mixes red and ‘green’

October 11, 2011

Solar panels line the rooftop of Eastside Fire & Rescue Station 72. Contributed

Station 72 is designed to lessen impact on environment

The red accents on Eastside Fire & Rescue Station 72 offer a traditional package for the “green” features embedded throughout the building.

Station 72 is the most energy efficient fire station on the planet. The city and EFR spearheaded a project to create a next-generation facility as a showcase for “green” innovations in Issaquah and a model for other fire departments.

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Mitsubishi rolls out electric vehicle at zHome

October 11, 2011

Mitsubishi is rolling out the i, billed as the most-affordable electric vehicle on the U.S. market, Oct. 15-16 at a “green” venue — zHome, a carbon-neutral community in Issaquah.

The team behind zHome and Mitsubishi partnered to offer zHome attendees a chance to test-drive the car. The i is rated for a miles-per-gallon equivalent of 112.

Enthusiasts can see the i from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 15 and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 16.

Mitsubishi loaned a Japanese model of the vehicle to zHome Project Manager Brad Liljequist during the summer.

“It was quiet, quick and surprisingly roomy given its small size,” he wrote in a post to the zHome blog.

In addition to kicking the tires on the i, attendees can also tour zHome. The site is along Northeast High Street, just east of YWCA Family Village at Issaquah and the Issaquah Highlands Park & Ride.

The “green” complex features electric-vehicle charging stations.

The i is also scheduled to appear at Best Buy, 6000 E. Lake Sammamish Parkway S.E., from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 22.

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City, King County leaders flip switch on zHome in Issaquah Highlands

September 14, 2011

King County Executive Dow Constantine (center, at lectern) prepares to address the crowd at the opening of zHome in the Issaquah Highlands on Wednesday. Contributed

NEW — 4:45 p.m. Sept. 14, 2011

Issaquah and King County leaders gathered Wednesday morning to flip the switch on zHome, the first zero-energy, carbon neutral multifamily community in the United States.

Built to use zero net energy and 70 percent less water than a traditional home, the city, county and other partners collaborated to open the 10-townhouse complex in the Issaquah Highlands. The project is meant to serve as a model for incorporating “green” elements into mainstream homebuilding.

County Executive Dow Constantine joined Mayor Ava Frisinger to open the facility in a ceremony in the zHome courtyard.

“This pioneering project sets a new standard for how homes can — and should — be built in our region and country,” Frisinger said in a statement. “Our vision is that zHome’s innovative approach will catalyze the market for much greener building materials and technologies, as well as inspire the next generation of homebuilders through examples that are replicable and market rate.”

The project included aggressive benchmarks to set a different standard in “green” homebuilding. The zHome team said the project used almost 80 percent Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood, low-toxicity materials and salmon-friendly practices at the site.

The photovoltaic panels on the rooftops capture sunlight in the summer and create energy for the units and the regional grid. In the winter, as the units pull power from the grid, the energy use evens out to zero.

The city spearheaded the project, alongside King County, Built Green — a nonprofit program focused on sustainable construction — highlands developer Port Blakely Communities, Puget Sound Energy and the Washington State University Energy Program. Ichijo USA, a subsidiary of a large Japanese homebuilder, and local builder Matt Howland built the units.

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City plugs in energy-saving zHome, leader in ‘green’ living

September 13, 2011

Family spends night at zero-energy townhouse to test innovations

Some of the 10 carbon-neutral townhomes of the zHome community glow in the setting sun along Northeast High Street in the Issaquah Highlands. By Greg Farrar

The steeply angled roofs and street-side rain garden attract attention to the townhouses along Northeast High Street.

The effect is deliberate, because the 10-townhouse complex, called zHome, is designed to encourage people to explore and rethink notions about “green” living. The project is the first carbon-neutral and zero-energy multifamily community in the United States.

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Issaquah leaders honor zHome builder

July 26, 2011

Akinobu Ohno (left), president of Ichijo USA, receives the framed Ichijo Day proclamation from Mayor Ava Frisinger on July 18, for the zHome project in the Issaquah Highlands. By Greg Farrar

The long-planned zHome project under construction in the Issaquah Highlands — residences designed to produce as much energy as occupants consume — is in line to open in mid-September.

City planners and longtime project backers attributed the milestone to builder Ichijo USA, a subsidiary of Japanese homebuilder Ichijo Co.

In a July 18 ceremony, Mayor Ava Frisinger and Issaquah leaders spotlighted the pan-Pacific partnership responsible for jolting zHome from concept to reality. The mayor proclaimed the day as Ichijo Day in Issaquah.

“During our early discussions about Ichijo, the more we learned about the community, the more excited we became,” she said during the ceremony. “Although we were located thousands of miles away, many of our goals and ambitions were the same.”

Ichijo USA President Akinobu Ohno offered a graceful bow and accepted the framed proclamation from Frisinger.

Construction on zHome is scheduled to conclude in late summer, and then crews plan to prepare the units for public open houses. The opening date is Sept. 14 during the Built Green Conference, a gathering for building industry professionals interested in eco-conscious practices.

Ichijo USA joined the project early last year in a joint venture between the company and developer Matt Howland.

Ichijo Co. builds energy-efficient residences across Japan — a bonus for Issaquah officials.

“They have been a critical part of zHome coming together. With the downturn, we had worked very hard to find alternative financing and hardly any new construction is getting financed these days,” zHome Project Manager Brad Liljequist said. “Ichijo as a partner, they were very critical to getting zHome moving forward.”

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Eastside Fire & Rescue station showcases ‘green’ innovations

June 14, 2011

City Council authorizes $47,000 art piece for building

Construction is almost complete on Eastside Fire & Rescue Station 72 — a showcase for “green” innovations adjacent to the Issaquah Transit Center — and firefighters should start settling into the sleek structure in August.

Workmen perform a job June 9 before pouring the concrete driveway in front of Eastside Fire & Rescue Station 72 on Northwest Maple Street a block east of state Route 900. By Greg Farrar

The facility is designed to replace the aging Station 72 less than a mile down Northwest Maple Street from the construction site. The city, architect and EFR designed the modern Station 72 to use as little energy and water as possible.

The building includes a system to pump heat from the ground, photovoltaic cells to catch sunlight and triple-paned windows to reduce heat loss — enough features to achieve the toughest standards from the U.S. Green Building Council.

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Innovative zHome community opens Sept. 14

May 31, 2011

The opening date is Sept. 14 for zHome, a groundbreaking cluster of carbon-neutral townhouses under construction in the Issaquah Highlands, the project manager announced May 3.

Construction is scheduled to conclude earlier, but the additional weeks should allow crews enough time to prepare the units for public open houses. The grand opening is scheduled on the same day as the Built Green Conference, a yearly gathering for building industry professionals interested in eco-conscious practices.

Plans call for tours to run from the conference at Pickering Barn to zHome in the highlands. Brad Liljequist, zHome project manager, announced the opening date.

The project is designed to produce as much electricity as residents consume — hence the zero-net energy name — and is meant to be a leader in energy and water conservation.

Construction crews also used a high percentage of salvaged, reclaimed and local materials to build zHome.

Construction on zHome started last April, after Howland Development Issaquah — a joint venture between Shoreline developer Howland Homes and Japanese homebuilder Ichijo Co. subsidiary Ichijo USA — teamed up to build and finance the project.

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Issaquah environmentalists receive Green Globe Awards

May 10, 2011

Every two years, King County awards its best environmentalists with the Green Globe Awards at the Earth Day Expo.

Of the 16 awards given to individuals, schools districts, cities and businesses that won the 2011 Green Globe Awards, three award-winners are from Issaquah — two people behind the Issaquah Zero Energy Village and Dr. Jessica Saepoff, a dentist with Natural Dental Health Associates in Issaquah.

County Executive Dow Constantine praised the finalists for their work toward helping “green” their communities.

“Award winners are leaders, innovators and are truly dedicated to making King County and the greater Puget Sound region such a tremendous place to live, work and play,” Constantine said in a news release. “I want to thank all of our winners for proving that commitment and dedication makes a positive difference in the community.”

Linda Hall, with the YWCA, and Brad Liljequist, with zHome Issaquah Zero Energy, both received the award for Community Leadership in Green Building.

Their projects, the YWCA Family Village at Issaquah and zHome, required years of planning, forethought and persistence on behalf of the YWCA and Issaquah to incorporate housing for Eastside working families.

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