Why We Build Sustainable Homes

By Anthony Maschmedt |
This article first appeared in Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty’s 2023 Forecast Report. To get your digital or print copy of this comprehensive look at the Pacific Northwest’s ever-changing residential real estate landscape click here.
Anthony Maschmedt | Principal | Dwell Development

As the founder of Dwell Development, I often get asked “why” we build sustainable homes.

It’s a big question with some important answers. We focus on sustainability because we know it’s the right way to build and know it is what everyone should be focused on. Climate change impacts all of us and is a key factor in how and why we build the way we do. Not only are the homes we build good for the Earth, but they are also good for the people who live in them. We create homes for one’s well-being and the health of our planet. Living sustainably is as much about the greater good as it is about a homeowner’s health, comfort, and livability.


In the 1960s, architects in the United States created a building concept known as Passive House. Unfortunately, this method of building failed due to the lack of knowledge surrounding the importance of ventilation. Germany picked up where the Americans left off and revitalized the approach. Acknowledging if you build it tight you must ventilate it right was the missing component. From this Passivhaus was born. At Dwell Development these ideals are the foundation of all of the homes we design and build. We call it, “powered by Passive House”.

At Dwell, all our homes are certified 5-Star Built Green. Built Green is a certification program associated with the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties. It is more of a holistic approach. It not only focuses on heat loss and energy savings— but it is also about water conservation, material selection, fresh air, renewable energy, and comfort.

By creating and building an air-tight home with heat recovery ventilation, high-performance windows, and massive amounts of insulation, the benefits are apparent when done systematically. The home consumes an average of 50% less energy and the homeowner benefits because they can save as much as 50% on their energy bills even before the addition of solar.

With the addition of a smart home management system, you have a recipe for not only green, healthy living, but a system that allows you to keep tabs on all aspects of your home, so you know everything is working correctly and efficiently. At Dwell, we’re partial to Kirio, which was developed by one of our earliest homeowners. At the end of the day, we add all these innovative systems to your home, but if you’re not managing correctly, you may be losing out on the benefits they offer.


For folks that are not in the market for a new sustainable home for whatever reason, there are plenty of practices and systems that you can implement in your current home to live your healthiest, most sustainable life. Following the Passive House philosophy, making your home as airtight as possible will increase its efficiency. Replacing old leaky windows with double or triple-pane windows, adding more insulation, and swapping out high-water-use plumbing fixtures with WaterSense fixtures and toilets can contribute to a home’s sustainability and ultimately save money.

As the impact of climate change on the world around us creates unpredictable weather—a wildfire season that stretches into the fall, more winter storms, and heat waves previously atypical in the Pacific Northwest—sustainability needs to be on everyone’s mind. At Dwell, we believe it’s not just about making responsible decisions during the building process, it’s about creating a home that is sustainable for your best-lived life today, and in the future.


  • HRV – Heat Recovery Ventilator
    Like a whole-house fan, the HRV constantly pulls stale air out and brings fresh air in, and the cold air from outside passes the warm air on its way in, so it’s preheated. Works great in tandem with Air Purification Systems.
  • Air Purification Systems
    Especially important systems in our battle against fires/ smoke/COVID-19/allergies.
  • Tesla Power Walls
    Use your Solar Panels to charge the battery in your garage.
  • Solar Panels
    In Washington, the power that you create that goes unused by your house is sold back to the grid and credited to your heating bill. You build credit during the warm months, which helps keep your bill low during winter months.
  • Low VOC Paint/Non-Toxic Building Materials
    Many building materials include added formaldehyde or VOCs in them, which can make you sick. Choose building materials wisely.

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