Our Urban Downs model home is complete and ready to tour! We went to the next level when designing this home to really showcase how sustainable building practices, smart design, and green technology come together to create a healthy, high performing, and accessible home.
The single-level Gladstone floorplan features 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, an office/den and a 3-car garage with room for a shop. An abundance of windows, 10 and 11-foot ceilings, and spacious hallways create a light and airy feel. The open kitchen, great room, and dedicated dining nook make this an excellent layout for entertaining – especially when combined with the butler’s pantry with a built-in wine fridge. Outside, the large covered patio hosts a built-in quick connect gas BBQ for making the most of warm evenings.
Aside from being third-party verified at the Emerald level to the National Green Building Standard (NGBS), this home is also breaking new ground by being the first home in the state to earn the NGBS Green+ badge for WELLNESS, and the first home ever to earn the UNIVERSAL DESIGN badge. These badges, recognized by Home Innovation Research Labs, allow homeowners to take their homes above and beyond in one of six categories of green.
The UNIVERSAL DESIGN badge supports the concept of “aging in place”. Throughout the home you’ll notice many age-in-place design features like wider doorways, curbless entries, and barrier-free showers. Our goal was to build a home that allows its inhabitants to age gracefully without remodeling. Features like no steps from the driveway to the backyard, an ADA compliant guest bath, and wood blocks installed in the walls for future installation of grab bars help to achieve that.
The WELLNESS badge is earned by implementing features that influence human health. This involves more than reducing harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) through thoughtfully chosen building products. It’s a more holistic approach to improving the home environment in terms of humidity, moisture, light, sound, and access to nature. In this home you’ll find an HVAC system with Merv 13 air filters (endorsed by the CDC as a supplementary method to reduce COVID-19 exposure), a heat-recovery ventilator (HRV), and a timed fan in the garage that pulls exhaust and other chemicals outside. Increased insulation in the walls and an owner’s suite set away from busiest streets also serve as a sound barrier.
Outside of NGBS badges, our model home has a Department of Energy Zero Energy Ready certification to comply with the new energy code. It comes with amenities like an electric car charging station, LED lighting, and forethought design for future solar panel installation. It also holds an EPA Indoor airPlus certification, which complements the NGBS Wellness badge by looking at equipment, materials, sealants, adhesives and other building products, which all have to perform at low or no VOCs for healthier air. The marmoleum flooring in the guest bathroom is a great example. Made of jute, wood flour, and linseed rosin, marmoleum is 97% natural and biodegradable, while still having a 25-40 year lifetime.
While we didn’t pursue the EPA water conservation certification for this build, we did incorporate elements in line with the program, like recirculation loops, a tankless water heater, and low flow fixtures, which provide a better use of water and cost savings beyond a home built only to code.
Our Gladstone model home is open for tours by appointment 7 days a week in the Urban Downs community in Ridgefield, WA. Take the virtual tour here, or come see for yourself what a true green-built home is like!