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Lopez Community Land Trust: Salish Way Cottages

Lopez Community Land Trust has been a leader in creating affordable net zero housing since 2009, when their award-winning Common Ground community was built. These three Salish Way Cooperative cottages are next door to the original 11 homes and the land trust office.

They are 480 square foot cozy living spaces with a loft bedroom above, designed by Vandervort Architects. The build included work for two student interns, many volunteers, and the homeowner-to-be, and hit a soaring 871 points with 5-Star Net Zero certification.

Vital Stats

Section

Points

Location: Lopez Island
Star Level: 5-Star, NZE 
Checklist: Single-Family/Townhome
Verifier: Balderston Associates
Site and Water 184
Energy Efficiency 251
Health and Indoor Air Quality 139
Material Efficiency 125
  Total Score 871.2

 

Lopez Community Land Trust Salish Way Cottages Built Green 5-Star affordable cottages exterior

Built Green Highlights

Site and Water

These homes show a strong emphasis on craftsmanship and local, natural materials. The locally milled cedar ship lap siding and the classic, simple shapes are the first things you notice. The gently sloping site is fully stabilized with straw and chips and will be landscaped with natives and owner-built gardens. There is little or no concrete paving. 15,000 gallon rainwater cisterns are buried below the back lawns to serve gardens and toilet flushing. The gravel driveway sits beside a band of preserved native forest on the north side.

Energy Efficiency

The Salish Way cottages are certified Built Green 5-Star Net Zero, EnergyStar homes, Indoor AirPLUS, and with the Department of Energy Zero Energy Home programs. They are very well insulated from bottom to top, including blown-in cellulose insulation and innovative wall framing with insulated studs. The floor slabs on grade have a double layer of R10 foam insulation. Air sealing was carefully detailed, reaching 1.9 ACH50. The ductless heat pump is one of the most efficient models available and a heat pump water heater works with very low flow fixtures to keep energy use low. The apartment-style refrigerator uses 30% less energy than most fridges and works with butane, a climate-friendly refrigerant.

The Salish Way cottages are a little unusual as net zero homes go—you won’t see solar panels on the roof. That is because each home owns a dedicated share of Orcas Power and Light’s large community solar project on Decatur Island. For an affordable project, this made the cost significantly lower. Solar maintenance is done professionally by the utility. The panels are located offsite, but still owned by the home, so it is net zero!

Lopez Community Land Trust Salish Way Cottages Built Green 5-Star affordable cottages living room and loft
Lopez Community Land Trust Salish Way Cottages Built Green 5-Star affordable cottages front entry
Lopez Community Land Trust Salish Way Cottages Built Green 5-Star affordable cottages thermal imaging
 

Health, Indoor Air Quality, and Materials Efficiency

Health and happiness are important goals for LCLT. Natural materials and no added formaldehyde finish materials are emphasized in the design. The first level floors are the concrete slabs and the upstairs loft has natural linoleum flooring. Most importantly, these cottages do a lot to make you feel at home with a supportive community. Gardens and shared spaces wind through the whole development and neighbors share maintenance responsibilities, often at the ready to help or greet each other. The short walk to Lopez Village helps ensure a very livable community.

Lopez Community Land Trust Salish Way Cottages Built Green 5-Star affordable cottages bathroom
Lopez Community Land Trust Salish Way Cottages Built Green 5-Star affordable cottages mini split HVAC system

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