Kulshan Community Land Trust celebrates 100th home, energy-efficient construction March 7

Kulshan Community Land Trust will host a dedication of its newly constructed home, located at 2938 Madrona Street in the Birchwood neighborhood at 4:30 p.m. on  Wednesday, March 7. The dedication is free and open to all members of the community, and will be followed by an Open House from 5-7 p.m.

Members of the press are invited to join public officials, including Mayor Kelli Linville and Whatcom County Executive Jack Louws, plus representatives of the Cascade Joinery and KulshanCLT, members and friends for an official dedication to thank the many public and private entities and partners that contributed to the home’s success, and to welcome KulshanCLT’s 100th home to the Birchwood neighborhood.

The March 7 Open House will follow the dedication from 5-7 p.m. and is co-hosted by RE Sources Green Drinks. Community members are invited to stop by to share a beverage, tour the home, learn more about its “affordable, sustainable design, energy-saving features, and innovative construction techniques,” and meet the KulshanCLT Madrona homebuyers.

“The March 7 Dedication and Open House provides a great opportunity for community members to see why the Madrona Street Home is both a milestone for KulshanCLT and a model for our community,” said Executive Director Dean Fearing in a news release. “Throughout planning and construction of this home we were inspired to show that it was possible to build an energy efficient home our homebuyers could afford. Working together with The Cascade Joinery, Ecotech Energy Systems, The City of Bellingham, Whatcom County and other project partners, this home is a model of energy-efficiency, affordability and renewable energy and may qualify as our community’s first net-zero energy home.”

KulshanCLT acquired the Madrona Street building site in 2009 when KulshanCLT homebuyers purchased a scattered-site home on a double lot in the Birchwood neighborhood. Close to jobs, parks, transportation options, trails and downtown Bellingham, “it has all the right ingredients – smart-site location, a family-friendly neighborhood, and prospective homebuyers who are on board with the home’s innovative features.” The homes’ compact 1,120 square footprint has taken advantage of new developments in energy efficient construction methods and materials.  Its passive solar design, PV solar array, and reliance on energy conservation will help homeowners achieve additional cost savings and efficiencies.

“It will serve as a model for KulshanCLT to build more super-energy efficient homes, some in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Whatcom County,” event organizers said.

Using third party verification of U.S. Green Building Council LEED for Homes and local BIAWC Built Green rating systems, the Madrona Street home strives to be a model for the community, the organization said. The PV solar array, made possible by funding from an anonymous donor last fall, will bring the home one step closer to qualifying for LEED for Homes Gold or Platinum and Built-Green Five-Star rating. A Feb. 8 Open House for builders featured a blower-door test, showing that advanced framing and insulation techniques and materials contributed to test results eight times better than expected, and exceeding standards that help qualify the Madrona Street Home as a Net Zero Energy home.

KulshanCLT projects that homeowners may recoup their investment in up-front high performance building costs through annual energy cost savings in five years or less. The estimated purchase price for the homebuyers is $160,000. Homebuyer downpayment and mortgage, combined with permanent affordability investments, including Whatcom County Economic Development Investment funds, cover the full cost of construction.

KulshanCLT, a nonprofit community development membership organization, strengthens community by holding land in trust for permanently affordable homeownership and other community needs, including affordable access to land for farming, and by offering financial and educational services to people of limited means. Since 2002 the organization has partnered with 125 homebuyers to purchase homes of their own throughout Whatcom County. As of February 2012, there are currently 101 properties in the trust, including 24 resales.

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