Getting to Zero with Europe’s Passive House Expert

Posted by nk on November 16, 2015

We recently assembled the region’s high-performance building leaders – developers, architects, decision makers, and energy experts – during our Getting to Zero event, a presentation by Sebastian Moreno-Vacca, Europe’s foremost Passive House expert responsible for making his hometown of Brussels the most energy efficient city in the world. Under his council the city met 2030 energy neutral goals 15 years early.

Nearly 100 people joined us at The Kitchen by Delicatus in Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square, where Sebastian shared insights on how Brussels implemented mandatory Passive House building code standards in 2015 without compromising great design or its economy. In 2007, Brussels embarked on moving past its sub-standard building practices and set out to build “Exemplary Buildings”– very low energy, economical, and beautiful. Since then the number of these buildings grew and the market was transformed, transitioning Passive House from a novelty, to a building code mandate.

Through the application of simple strategies including better building code and more financial incentives for Passive House and net zero projects, Seattle can also make energy neutral building the new normal.

Here are a few photos from the event.

Getting to Zero Team

G2Z post image

Do you want to attend our next Passive House event? Sign up for our newsletter to receive information and an invitation.

Park Passive Opens Doors for International Passive House Days

Posted by nk on November 10, 2015

Park Passive, Seattle’s first certified Passive House, will be open to the general public on Friday, November 13th as part of International Passive House Days, a worldwide open house event taking place this weekend. Affordable, comfortable, environmentally friendly—the Passive House embodies the best in sustainable construction. Typically, buildings meeting the Passive House Standard use 80 to 90 percent less energy for heating and cooling, savings far greater than any other building standard delivers.

All tours are free. Visitors may come anytime during the listed hours unless otherwise noted.

Tour Information:
Location: 211 E. Lee Street in Seattle’s Madison Park neighborhood
Contact: Rosa Folla
Note: Visitors are asked to remove shoes at the door.
Open: Friday, Nov. 13th, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.


Join us for Getting To Zero on October 30th

Posted by nk on October 20, 2015

NK Architects invites you for an evening with Sebastian Moreno-Vacca, of A2M Architects, to learn how Brussels met 2030 energy goals in 2015 without compromising its economy or great design.

When: October 30th, 5:00 pm
Where: NK’s offices at 310 1st Ave S in Pioneer Square
Why: Get inspired by proven high-performance design strategies!

RSVP to Leah Libow

nk_getting-to-zero_d3-email (3)

View Haus 5 Receives PHIUS Completion Award

Posted by nk on October 13, 2015

We’re excited that View Haus 5, Seattle’s first Passive House-constructed townhomes placed first in the Passive House Institute US (PHIUS) Completion Awards. Developed by Cascade Built, NK’s resident Passive House expert, Joe Giampietro, served as the project’s Passive House Consultant and was at the annual conference to accept the award. Net-zero ready, View Haus 5 sets the bar for future high-performance projects of its kind. The future-proof project delivers healthy indoor air, thermal comfort and quiet in the city’s urban core. View Haus 5 was designed by b9 Architects.


The PHIUS Completion Award recognizes the best certified Passive House projects in the US, exemplifying passive building practices, and accelerating adoption of passive building in the North American marketplace.

Follow us on LinkedIn for more client news.

NK’s CEO shares strategies for designing a high-performance project that pencils

Posted by nk on September 30, 2015

Built Green Conf

With Seattle poised to add more than 50,000 new housing units in the next 10 years, there’s no better time than now to build to Net Zero-ready (NZE). This is a topic that we’ve addressed in previous conversations and recently presented to builders, developers, and fellow architects at the 2015 Built Green conference in Seattle.

During his presentation, Tim demonstrated how focusing on occupant health and comfort by integrating proven high-performance upgrades such as heat recovery ventilation (HRV), added insulation, passive energy, and smarter building techniques, drive lower vacancy rates, and increase profit margins and project value. This effectively future-proofs against functional and economic obsolescence, increasing the stability and predictability of the project’s ROI, and its ultimate feasibility.

These strategies are proven with the success of Seattle’s recent NZE-ready projects, including Cascade Built’s View Haus 5 passive house-constructed townhomes, and Dwell Development’s Built Green Emerald Star single-family home.

Together we can move the needle further in 2016. Follow us on LinkedIn for more NZE insights.


Project Spotlight: Stream 403

Posted by nk on September 15, 2015

NK’s design for Stream 403 embraces a modern yet contextual aesthetic complementing the neighborhood with an attractive mix of durable brick and natural cedar accents. Developed by the award winning, Stream Real Estate, LLC, the apartment project will feature 47-units in the center of Capitol Hill. With 7-stories and 37,715 sf, Stream 403 will be comprised of open, bright studios and 1-bedrooms with large windows and rare private outdoor spaces for each unit. Residents will enjoy magnificent views from the rooftop deck, year-round indoor/outdoor entertainment space at the ground-level and accessibility to downtown, South Lake Union and Capitol Hill’s future light rail station.

The project will be designed to LEED Silver certification. Construction is scheduled to begin in spring 2016. Visit our project page for more on our on the boards projects.


NK Welcomes Four New Team Members

Posted by nk on August 11, 2015

NK is excited to welcome Jennifer Bushnell, Senior Project Manager; Rosa Folla, Project Architect; Alec Gardner, Staff Architect, and Alyse Zimmer, Staff Architect, to our team!

Jennifer Bushnell joined NK with 18 years of experience in architecture and interior design. She has an innate interest in project process, land use building codes and construction administration, and has served as Project Manager on many marquee projects including the Bellevue Hilton Garden Inn in downtown Bellevue, and a high-rise hotel in South Lake Union. Jennifer is enthusiastic about the outdoors, spending time with her family and working towards her pilot’s license.


Bringing 17 years of architecture experience, Rosa Folla joined NK to further focus her work on high-performance design including Passive House for single and multifamily projects. She is a Certified Passive House Consultant and a license architect in both Washington and Italy. She has served as Project Architect for notable Seattle projects, including a single-family Passive House home in Queen Anne. Rosa received her undergraduate and Master’s degrees in architecture and urban design from the University “Federico II” in Naples, Italy. Outside of the office, Rosa enjoys the outdoors, spending time with her family, and traveling abroad.

Rosa F

Alec Gardner graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a Master’s degree in architecture and earned a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Asian studies from the University of Puget Sound. His graduate thesis on open source architecture was recognized with the university’s Distinguished Research Award. Alec volunteers his time to Sawhorse Revolution assisting local high school students in the design and building of microhouses for the homeless encampments of Seattle. He also volunteers with Plan Común developing urban strategies that challenge established norms.


Alyse Zimmer joined NK with five years of experience in high-performance architecture and interior design. Her primary interests involve promoting sustainable communities and the nature of Seattle’s land use code to embrace changing density requirements. Drawing inspiration from Seattle’s architectural variety, her infill design work was recognized in the 2014 and 2015 Professional Builder Magazine Design Awards. She is an avid athlete and enjoys playing volleyball, soccer, and tennis.


Get to know the rest of our team on our People page.

Lowrise Zone Code Changes Passed in Seattle

Posted by nk on July 28, 2015

On July 6th the Seattle City Council passed a number of revisions to the lowrise zone land use code, including adding Passive House as a way to achieve floor area ratio (FAR) bonuses. NK Architects’ Brandon Nicholson and Joe Giampietro influenced the vote through their diligent advocacy of Passive House, educating council members on how this practical, cost effective building standard leads to significant energy savings, as well as increased project value and occupant health. These incentives will serve as a catalyst for additional high-performance design zoning legislation locally and regionally. As a leader in Passive House design and certification, NK can help you achieve a FAR bonus in your next lowrise zone project.

11th and Republican PH Multifamily Rendering

Follow us on LinkedIn for more industry insights.

Passive House Incentives Proposed in Seattle

Posted by nk on July 3, 2015

On July 6th Seattle’s City Council will vote on important building code revisions effecting high performance and multifamily development in the city’s lowrise zones. The proposed changes address issues that impact neighborhood density and building energy performance including Passive House incentives, setback requirements, and height restrictions on row houses and apartments. Amendments to these revisions were proposed by Council Member, Tom Rasmussen, which sought to restrict the city’s growth and long-term energy goals by imposing unreasonable requirements. NK’s Founding Principal, Brandon Nicholson, was onsite to influence a committee vote on these updates, which turned down many of Rasmussen’s revisions. You can review a full summary of the proposed amendments here.

If you own property in Seattle’s lowrise zones and disagree with these new restrictions, we encourage you to call Planning, Use and Sustainability Committee Chair, Mike O’Brien at 206-684-8800.

Isola Greenwood

The NK-designed 4-story Isola Greenwood apartments, a 32-unit mixed-use lowrise project expected to be completed in 2016.

Follow us on LinkedIn and we’ll keep you up-to-date on the latest on this and other regional high performance building and architecture news.



NK Chosen to Design Dwell 61st

Posted by nk on June 30, 2015

NK was chosen to design Dwell-NW’s newest project in Seattle’s thriving Ballard neighborhood. Dwell 61st is designed to Built Green 5-Star certification and clad in a mix of reclaimed barn wood and modern materials. The  2-building project is comprised of two 2,003 sf 3bd/2ba duplex units and one 1,390 sf 1bd/1ba + flex space single family home. Residents will enjoy generous private outdoor spaces with terraces and courtyards, an easy walk to Ballard’s many shops and restaurants, daylighting with large windows and bio-retention planters for water savings. Dwell 61st is expected to be completed in spring 2016.

Follow us on LinkedIn for more project updates and industry insights.