We've featured Dwell Development a number of times for its forward-thinking, green homes. Now, however, it has upped the ante with the completion of a 42-home sustainable micro-community. The houses at New Rainier Vista all boast unique designs and have been built with the potential for net zero-energy living.

Working with Julian Weber Architects, Dwell says the aims of the project was to create a small society of like-minded residents who value community, sustainability and modern design. Located in the US city of Seattle, the homes are arranged in "micro-blocks and clusters of four" and are centered around a community garden and informal outdoor gathering areas that seek to foster community.

The project began in 2010 as a partnership with the Seattle Housing Authority. Dwell had committed to constructing 15 homes with green building techniques and high performance technology, but interest and demand in the project meant the firm ended up delivering additional homes over a five year period.

As is typically the case with Dwell-designed houses, all 42 New Rainier Vista homes are designed and ready for net zero energy living – that is to say, they are built with the potential to generate as much electricity as they need to run. The houses are also 5-Star Built Green certified, an environmental construction standard that takes into account the use of materials, energy efficiency, water use and indoor air quality.

Among the sustainability features of the houses have rooftops that are ready for PV panels to be installed, double-framed walls for improved insulation, triple-glazed windows, tankless water heaters and heat recovery ventilation systems. The community's "pedestrian-friendly" location close to a train station encourages green travel.

Two houses in the community are clad in cork, which acts both as exterior insulation and as an interesting finish. One of those houses is certified as Net Energy Positive (HERS -1) and, according to Dwell, is Seattle's first net positive home, while another house in the community, it says, is Dwell's first Passive House.

Among the other features from which residents benefit are in-floor radiant heating, and keyless front door entry. Floors, countertops and tiling, meanwhile, make use of reclaimed and recycled materials, which are both a green option and a striking design feature.

The last New Rainier Vista home was completed and sold earlier this year.

The video below provides a look at the New Rainier Vista development.

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