Exemplary Buildings are Ultra-Efficient Affordable Housing that:
- maximize housing units produced,
- offer long-term life-cycle cost benefits, an improved quality of life for residents, and
- significantly reduce energy and water consumption—
first through state-of-the-art building design strategies and efficiency measures,
and then through on-site renewable energy generation.
We believe it’s possible to create healthy, safe housing that is both affordable and ultra-efficient. How? Through the use of performance standards and building practices that reduce the overall premium (the additional costs of implementing ultra-efficiency) to the point where the premium can be financed through the operational savings generated by ultra-efficiency.
Our vision is rooted in data. The design and expected outcomes of our program are based on several successful implementations of the exemplary buildings model elsewhere, particularly those in Pennsylvania and Brussels.
This program’s Exemplary Buildings will meet the Washington state mandate that residential and nonresidential construction permitted under the 2031 state energy code must achieve a 70 percent reduction in annual net energy consumption (compared to the 2006 state energy code) (RCW 19.27A.160). This approach will also put our sector on track to achieve the state’s broader goal of zero fossil‐fuel greenhouse gas emission homes and buildings by the year 2031 (RCW 19.27A.020).
“Exemplary” buildings must also be healthy. HDC has partnered with Healthy Building Network (HBN) to bring the HomeFree program to the Emerald Corridor. HomeFree is a national initiative developed by HBN to enable affordable housing developers, operators, designers, and contractors to improve human health by using less-toxic building materials. According to the US EPA, we spend up to 90 percent of our time indoors. Virtually all materials used in buildings–even “natural” materials such as wood, brick, and stone–are chemically processed. As a result, the people who live in, build, and maintain today’s buildings may be exposed to many different chemicals of concern. The Exemplary Buildings Program will use HomeFree’s Material & Chemical Index to guide our efforts to reduce exposure to toxic chemicals from building materials.