Turning The Tables on Climate Change with Zack Semke

Posted by nk on May 23, 2016

Last week we gathered the region’s ultra-green building leaders – developers, architects, decision makers, and energy experts – during our Turning the Tables on Climate Change event. Over 100 people joined us at The Kitchen by Delicatus in Seattle’s Pioneer Square where Zack Semke of Hammer & Hand presented Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Jevons, a thought-provoking, humorous refutation of The Jevons Paradox – claiming that energy efficiency leads to more energy use, not less.

Zack used undeniable examples including the Black Swan events theory of unexpected change – one we are now seeing with the rise in renewable energy production and the drop in energy prices –  calling on us all to make a greater impact with low energy solutions, including renewable energy sources and Passive House design strategies.

Various firms also presented a sneak peek at the region’s first multi-family Passive House projects. Still in design – these groundbreaking projects exemplify that building to the highest energy standards possible is viable – even in today’s high-priced real estate and construction market.

Here are a few photos from the event. Visit our Facebook page for more!

The evening’s presenters including Zack Semke, Tim Weyand, and project presenters from NK Architects, Weber Thompson,  and HKP Architects.

Zack Semke presenting Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Jevons

NK staff including Brittany Porter, Alyse Zimmer, Chris Jones, and Emily Evenson

NK’s Joe Giampeitro with Skander Spies of McKinstry

NK’s Tim Weyand with Rhoda Lawrence of Bola Architecture + Planning


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Construction Starts on Crown Hill Mixed-Use

Posted by nk on May 13, 2016

Construction has begun on our latest mixed-use apartment project in Seattle’s growing Crown Hill neighborhood. Developed by ConAm, the 150,000 sf, 4-story project will offer occupants increased energy efficiency and walkability. Designed to connect Crown Hill’s urban village and adjacent Greenwood neighborhood, the project will provide an enhanced pedestrian experience with bright retail spaces, ground-level terraces, and an open public plaza, carefully preserving the residential neighborhood feeling.

Expected to be completed this winter, residents will enjoy an array of amenities with a fitness center and abundant outdoor spaces including an interior courtyard, rooftop deck with views, and unit-specific patios and balconies.

Crown Hill 16

Read more about the project here.

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Join us for Turning the Tables on Climate Change

Posted by nk on May 4, 2016

Turning the Tables Event Image

Join us for an evening featuring Zack Semke of Hammer & Hand, presenting Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Jevons, a refutation of The Jevons Paradox and a call-to-arms to fight climate change.

Plus, we’ll be featuring on-the-boards multi-family Passive House projects by various local firms, demonstrating our region’s adoption of Passive House. This building standard offers increased occupant comfort and better health, reduced energy use and carbon emissions, and buildings that reflect our next generation’s socially conscious values.

Thursday, May 19th, 5:30-8:30 PM

The Kitchen by Delicatus
309 1st Ave S
In Pioneer Square

Attendance is free.

Please RSVP to LeahL@nkarch.com.

Space is limited.

Passive House Round up

Posted by nk on April 28, 2016

The delight and livability of Passive House is in the spotlight this month with projects from the U.S. to Central Africa making news. In particular, the Financial Times discusses how implementing the building standard can turn the tables on climate change not only reducing energy dependence but creating cooler, more comfortable living environments reducing the need for air conditioning as temperatures rise. Read this and other our choices  top Passive House stories on the web this month.

Financial Times: Divine Insulation: Passivehaus Architecture

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The planned shared Dutch and Belgian embassy in Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Image credit: A2M Architects

 “The combination of a world that is warming up and a population that wants to cool down poses an architectural quandary: how to design buildings that can maintain a comfortable temperature without consuming quantities of energy that contribute to further climate change.”

Sunset Magazine: Top 6 benefits of A Passive House

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San Francisco Passive House. Image credit: Sunset Magazine

“Since a passive home has a killer ventilation system, it filters out pollen quickly—a major bonus for anyone with allergies. The airtight building also lets far less dust in (and filters out what ends up in the air), meaning less time spent cleaning.”

New York Times: The Passive House in New York City

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A Passive House retrofit in Brooklyn, NY. Image credit: New York Times

“…With the cost of meeting passive-construction standards apparently dropping, Passive House proponents see a role for the standards in the creation of affordable and low-income housing.”

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National Architecture Week

Posted by nk on April 14, 2016

It’s National Architecture Week and we have plenty to celebrate, including a showcase of Passive House designed projects across the region in this year’s Passive House Northwest book. We’re happy to be featured with our two award-winning Passive House projects: Park Passive, Seattle’s first certified Passive House, and View Haus 5, the city’s first certified Passive House townhome. These projects, along with others, including the acclaimed Orchards at Orenco, North America’s largest affordable Passive House by William Wilson and Ankrom Moisan Architects, demonstrate the industry-leading direction of Passive House in the Northwest.

See a few of the region’s on-the-boards projects in the book, and click here to read about Hudson, one of Seattle’s first multi-family Passive House projects.

Zero Hudson
Hudson in Columbia City, designed by NK Architects

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Smith & Burns Completed in Wallingford

Posted by nk on April 11, 2016

The recently completed Smith & Burns, a 150-unit urban mixed-use project in the Wallingford neighborhood pays homage to Seattle’s traditional character while connecting to the city’s new modern aesthetic with site-salvaged brick and wood finishes, bright commercial spaces, and vibrant public art displays.

Photo courtesy of Aaron Leitz

Clad in high-quality, durable materials with contextual massing, NK’s design responds to three unique streetscapes, seamlessly transitioning from commercial to residential districts.

Photo courtesy of Aaron Leitz

Developed by Mack Urban, the project is comprised of open studios, 1-bedrooms, and 2-bedrooms designed for young urban professionals who value walkability and sustainability. Pending LEED Silver certification, Smith & Burns was constructed using low-emitting building materials and finishes, high-efficiency plumbing fixtures, reclaimed barn wood, and sustainable carpeting. Other features include a 138-bike storage area, electric vehicle charging stations, and an easy walk to neighborhood cafes, shopping, and transit.

Photo courtesy of Aaron Leitz

Residents enjoy deluxe amenities with a library, fitness center, and hobby room, equipped with creative supplies, work tables, and a demonstration kitchen.

Photo courtesy of Aaron Leitz

Outdoor spaces abound, Smith & Burns offers a central courtyard, private patios for select units, and a large rooftop deck with entertainment spaces and dedicated hops gardens.

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Passive House Insights

Posted by nk on March 31, 2016

This month our team attended the PHnw7 conference in Portland where we garnered great insight into national trends and industry themes.

Notably, principal Joe Giampietro, and founder of Cascade Built, Sloan Ritchie, detailed the design and goals of Zero Hudson, one of Seattle’s first Passive House-constructed, net-zero mixed-use apartment projects. View the presentation here.

Zero Hudson
Zero Hudson, a multi-family Passive House project designed by NK Architects 

We were also inspired by Zack Semke’s, of Hammer & Hand, thought-provoking discussion on “Debunking the Jevons Paradox.”

The Jevons Paradox, built on the coal explosion of the 1800’s, says energy efficiency leads to more use of energy not less. Various climate denial thinkers have vigorously adopted this theory. Zack presented the counter argument in clear, humorous and undeniable examples that the average rebound is only 20%, making energy efficiency 80% effective.

Zack also walked us though the “Black Swan” events theory of unexpected change, one we are now seeing with renewable energy production and the drop in energy prices. The result of this unforeseen combination is that 75% of fossil fuels are becoming “Stranded Assets.” They have no profitable way of being extracted and processed when a barrel of oil is $50 or less.

The takeaway? “The times they are a changing,” and simple Passive House design strategies are here to lead the way.

Additionally, Passive House incentives were widely discussed, specifically those in the Northeast making affordable housing projects even more cost-efficient. See this contribution from our CEO, Tim Weyand detailing how Seattle can follow suit.

And we were excited to learn about multi-family Passive House projects popping up across the country with these new developments under construction.

Next month NK’s Founding Principal, Brandon Nicholson; CEO, Tim Weyand, and Joe Giampietro will be traveling to the 20th International Passive House Conference in Darmstadt, Germany. Check back for their takeaways.

Follow us on LinkedIn for more Passive House insights.

Featured Projects from PHnw7

Posted by nk on March 16, 2016

This year’s Passive House Northwest conference, PHnw7, highlighted how developers are successfully applying high-performance Passive House design strategies to multifamily projects of all sizes. Of note, Kansas City’s groundbreaking 276-unit multifamily mixed-use project has garnered the attention of high profile real estate investors, serving as a needed example of Passive House feasibility in the U.S.

Second and Delaware Residences

KC pjct

Kansas City’s Second and Delaware Residents developed by Arnold Development Group

NK’s Passive House expert, Joe Giampietro, and founder of Cascade Built, Sloan Ritchie, shared insights on Zero Hudson, a 37-unit apartment project in Columbia City – slated to be one of Seattle’s first Passive House-constructed net-zero-ready multifamily projects. The presentation demonstrated how developers can build a financially successful high-performance market rate apartment project in one of the nation’s hottest multifamily real estate climates.

Zero Hudson

Zero Hudson

Cascade Built’s Zero Hudson apartment project designed by NK Architects

Two additional inspiring projects featured at this year’s conference included Cornell Tech Student Housing and Orchards at Orenco.

Cornell Tech Student Housing
 Cornell Tech

Cornell Tech 350-unit Passive House student housing in New York City designed by Handel Architects

Orchards at Orenco

Orchards at Orenco

A 57-unit Passive House apartment project in Hillsboro, OR designed by Ankrom Moisan Architects

Follow us on LinkedIn for more thoughts on PHnw7.

Passive House in the News

Posted by nk on February 29, 2016

Passive House design is gaining worldwide attention, especially here in the U.S. We’re rounding up the top Passive House stories on the web; here are our choices for February.

Photo by Aaron Leitz Photography

Ireland’s Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County now requires all new homes to meet the rigorous Passive House design standards – Gizmag featured our Park Passive project for its exemplary design and efficiency.

Greenpoint Passive House via Curbed New York

New York City is experiencing a Passive House boom with over 20 projects in the works. Curbed New York featured this 4-story apartment project in the city’s Greenpoint neighborhood.

Image courtesy of Kansas City Star

Kansas City’s first Passive House-constructed multi-family apartment project is under way. The 276-unit River Market development will provide a mix of market-rate and affordable housing.


Don’t forget to register for the annual Passive House Northwest conference, PHnw7,  taking place in Portland March 10th & 11th.  Our own Joe Giampietro, and founder of Cascade Built, Sloan Ritchie, will share insights during a presentation on Zero Hudson, one of Seattle’s first Passive House-constructed net zero ready apartment projects. Register today and plan to attend the session on March 11th.

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Join us at PHnw7 March 10th & 11th

Posted by nk on February 25, 2016

In a hot multifamily real estate market, do you know how to build a financially successful zero energy project? You too can make Passive House Pencil. Join us at this year’s Passive House NW conference in Portland to gain insights from NK’s Passive House expert, Joe Giampietro, and founder of Cascade Built, Sloan Ritchie, during a presentation on Zero Hudson, one of Seattle’s first Passive House-constructed net zero ready apartment projects. Register today and plan to attend the session on March 11th. Together we can make net zero the new normal.

What: PHnw7
When: March 10th & 11th
Where: Ambridge Event Center, Portland

PHnw image grouping