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Passive townhouses in Capitol Hill win national award for green building

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The 10-home complex is open, sustainable, and social

Cascade Built

A Capitol Hill passive townhouse project finished last year has been recognized for creativity, sustainability, and innovation. SolHaus, a 10-home project finished last year by Cascade Built and b9 Architects, won a Green Building Home of the Year award last week for Best Urban Infill Project.

Passive houses require very little energy for heating and cooling, using non-mechanical design features to heat and cool the home.

Cascade Built

The sustainability is appealing to nature-lovers—so naturally, the homes have a great relationship to the outdoor world. Huge windows let in plenty of light, and features like open stairways carry it throughout the home.

William Wright Photography

Wide balconies and rooftop decks leave plenty of individual outdoor space while still building up.

The project eschews the normal townhouse, central-driveway structure for a below-grade communal parking structure, so the central area between the homes can be used as communal social space instead of a course-correction field for individual garages.

The central, outdoor hub still features garage doors, but more as an airy portal to the outdoor space.

SolHaus also sets itself apart from similar projects by creating ten, unique homes instead of four mirror images. Built into a hillside, the project let the environment dictate individual home floorplans for the two- and three-bedroom townhomes.

The homes sold out incredibly quickly before opening last year.

Cascade Built also built Seattle’s first Passive Academy-certified house in Madison Park, although others in the Seattle area have been using passive principles for quite some time.