H20 Apartments provide 45 LEED for Homes Mid-Rise Gold Certified units of urban living in Lower Queen Anne to both market rate and workforce residents. This partially Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funded 6-story multifamily building includes ground floor retail space, live/work lofts, studios, one bedroom units, and bi-level two bedroom units. As architects, owners, and developers, Brandon Nicholson and Shanna Kovalchick of NK Architects committed to developing a building with a low Energy Utilization Index (EUI). One approach chosen to lower the EUI includes the use of exterior walkways instead of interior conditioned corridors, and H20 is one of the first midrise buildings built recently in the area that utilizes that strategy. Other energy-saving measures include ENERGY STAR appliances, energy efficient lighting, water efficient fixtures, and a high efficiency central hot water system. Additional notable green building features include a drought-tolerant green roof area with a spectacular view, stormwater detention within the courtyard, and healthy material choices to improve indoor air quality. The unique massing of the building and unit layouts provide more access to daylight and views than a typical double-sided corridor multifamily building. Residents can enjoy these building features all within walking distance to numerous community amenities and excellent transportation options.
O’Brien & Company was the LEED for Homes Provider and Green Rater on the project, providing assistance during design and construction and clarifying LEED for Homes Mid-Rise Pilot requirements and opportunities. Numerous hours of Trades Training were provided to the subcontractors and installed measures were verified with special attention to construction-phase details. The mixture of steel framing and wood framing provided many occasions for O’Brien verifiers to work with the contractor and subcontractors to optimize construction techniques for improved air sealing. By working closely with the owner, the ventilation flows after occupancy were fine tuned for optimal health and energy efficiency. Additionally, a customized tenant manual combined with working closely with the property management staff helped O’Brien provide clear details to tenants about the green building features and benefits. USGBC awarded H20 Apartments LEED Gold Certification in January 2014.