Construction and real estate
Homebuilders' Confidence Strongest in More Than 7 Years
Rate on 30-Year Mortgage Falls to 4.37%
Home Sales Slow in June
Sales of New Homes Rise to 5-Year High as Prices Soar
Average Rate on 30-Year Mortgage Slips to 4.31%
Renters Now Able to Afford More, Report Says
Today's Housing Market Making It Extra Tough on First-Time Homebuyers
Pending Sales of U.S. Homes Slip From 6-Year High
Home Prices Heat Up in May as Pace of Gains Cools
Demand for Mortgages Falls as Rates Remain Unchanged
Mortgage Rates Tick Up, Despite Fed Assurances on Stimulus
Good News for Homeowners: Fewer Foreclosures in June
Improving Market Pushes Home Prices Higher in June
Mortgage Rates Could Rise Should Fannie, Freddie Shut Down
Towns Where Housing Markets Are Turning Around
Freddie Mac 2Q Earnings Surge as Housing Market Improves
Homebuyers Get a Break as Mortgage Rates Edge Down
Tech Rebound Lifts Silicon Valley Home Prices to New Heights
Home Foreclosures on Track to End 2013 at 6-Year Low
Homebuyers in Luck as Mortgage Rates Remain Steady
Housing Recovery's Next Hot Spots
House of the Week: Los Angeles’ Petal House
Former Maroon 5 Drummer Ryan Dusick Buys Tarzana Home
Versace Mansion Goes to Bankruptcy Auction
Luxury Meets Sustainability in Seattle’s First Certified ‘Passive House’ Zillow
It might be time to start keeping up with the Jonses — or the Ritchies if you live in Seattle. The family of four just moved into their newly constructed home in Madison Park. The design is sleek and unconventional, but the real kicker is the utility bill. As Seattle’s first certified “Passive House,” the home uses about 75 percent less overall energy than a house built to today’s code standards.

“There’s this myth that if you’re going to live in an energy-efficient home, it won’t have windows and you’ll have to wear a sweater all the time,” said Cascade Built founder Sloan Ritchie, who built and now lives in the home. “That’s not true at all. The fact that it’s super energy efficient doesn’t preclude it from being luxurious.”

The 4-bedroom, 3-bath home has a heat pump, water heater and 24-hour ventilation — systems you typically don’t see combined in one house — but instead of remaining exposed, they’re tucked neatly away. What remains is a spacious main floor with a kitchen and living space framed by sliding glass doors. Upstairs, a kids’ playroom and yoga studio are illuminated by a skylight from Poland. A third-floor master suite has a private terrace leading to an urban-style rooftop deck and garden.

But according to one of the lead designers, Marie Ljubojevic of NK Architects, the home’s look and feel were secondary.

“The house dictated to us how it was going to be designed,” she explained. “Jennifer [Ritchie] didn’t want the house to look like every other house going up in Seattle — every other modernish house. … It was going to be simple from the start because there’s a lot going on whether you can see it or not.”

Perhaps indicative of the name “Passive House,” the home has a lot going on behind the scenes. In order to be certified by the Passive House Academy and Passivhaus Institut, every detail must be just right in order to reduce the home’s heating load by up to 90 percent. The Ritchies met this rigorous standard by making the house airtight, adding more insulation and using better windows and doors than traditionally used in North America.

“The biggest challenge was adhering to all the rules,” Ljubojevic said. “None of the details we had in our design library could be used.”

For example, every time a wall turns a corner, there’s less thermal efficiency, and the Ritchies were restricted to a small lot, making it challenging to implement an open floor plan. Meanwhile, the high-performance windows had to be shipped from Lithuania and moved in with a crane, as they are extremely heavy with triple-paned glass and two layers of glaze.

These challenges didn’t deter Ritchie’s team from completing the house in less a year, though. They even found time to incorporate the home’s roots into the fabric of the new construction, salvaging wood from a tree on the property to build the stairway and a vanity.

“Buildings account for some 50 percent of our electricity use and nearly 40 percent of our overall energy use,” Ritchie explained. “My hope is that over the next 10 years, this kind of building will be required by code.”

In the meantime, Seattle’s first Passive House, known locally as Park Passive, will serve as a prime example of vibrant urban living and environmental sustainability.
Shakira’s Miami Home for Sale
Update: $2M Price Jump on Ellen & Portia’s Thousand Oaks Ranch
House of the Week: Babe Ruth’s ‘Home Plate Farm’ in Sudbury, MA
Pamela Anderson’s Malibu Home Returns to the Rental Market
Investing in Real Estate With Cash? Why You Might Want to Reconsider
Steve McQueen’s Former Idaho Ranch for Sale
Is Homeownership Still the American Dream?
5 August ‘Must Do’ Projects From Bob Vila
For Rent: ‘Superbad’ Producer Evan Goldberg’s Home
Mark Hoppus Renting Out Beverly Hills Home While Living in London
Luxury Meets Sustainability in Seattle’s First Certified ‘Passive House’ Zillow
‘Workaholics’ Star Blake Anderson Buys Rob Dyrdek’s Hollywood Hills Home
For Sale: ‘Jeopardy!’ Host Alex Trebek’s Former Home
Flip the Switch on Better Kitchen Lighting
For Sale: Bel-Air Home Leased by Latin Music Star Luis Miguel
Oh Yeah. Iconic ‘Ferris Bueller’ Home Back on the Market
House of the Week: DC Mansion Occupied by President Calvin Coolidge
Dallas Cowboys’ Orlando Scandrick Lists Hollywood Hills Home
Live Like a QB: Kurt Warner’s Former Home for Rent
Steven Hilton Relists Malibu Home for $2.695 Million
Robert Redford’s Former Malibu Home Hits the Market for $15 Million
Celebrity Hairstylist Sally Hershberger’s Beverly Hills Home for Sale
Buy Taylor Swift’s Childhood Home in PA for $799,500
Choosing the Best Refrigerator for Your Home
House of the Week: Nabisco Ovens Turned Penthouse
‘Star Trek’ Commander and ‘General Hospital’ Star Buy in Woodland Hills
No Painting Allowed! 6 Tricks for Adding Color When Living With White Walls
Turnkey mansion for sale, Bentley and toilet brushes included
‘Sons of Anarchy’ Star Buys Woodland Hills Home
What Really Influences Your Credit Score?
Why This May Not Be the Best Time to Buy a Home … For You
Country Star Ronnie Dunn Buys in Nashville
Sold: Goldie Hawn & Kurt Russell’s Malibu Home
David Spade’s Malibu Home Sells for $10.225 Million
Shoe Designer Vince Camuto Lists Historic Hamptons Estate
‘Flipping Out’ Designer Jeff Lewis Lists Los Feliz Home
Michael Jackson Producer Brian Malouf Lists Sherman Oaks Home
Most Expensive House in Orange County Hits Market at $65 Million
Richard Gere Lists $65 Million Hamptons Estate
Ryan Reynolds Relists Hollywood Hills Home
Malcolm Forbes’ NJ Estate Listed for $3.4 Million
‘Without a Trace’ Star Enrique Murciano Sells Home
Tennis Great John McEnroe Buys Another Malibu Home
Producer Antonio ‘L.A.’ Reid Lists Hamptons Estate for $18.9 Million
House of the Week: Former Jail Turned Residence for Sale
Housing by the Numbers
Report: Miami Heat’s Shane Battier Buys Coral Gables Home for $3.2 Million
Chicago Property Once Part of Original Playboy Mansion for Sale
How to Fix a Running Toilet
Home of Michael Clarke Duncan Listed for $1.299 Million
What Is a Home Warranty, and Do You Need One?
Linkin Park’s Joe Hahn Relists Brentwood Home