LEED Platinum Home: Ellis Residence

LEED Platinum Home: Ellis Residence

Lauren Zerbey
Apr 19, 2011

One advantage to building a green home from the ground up is that it can be an inspiring case study for every aspect of sustainable design. From renewable materials and zero-VOC paint to geothermal heating systems and rainwater catchment, the Ellis Residence does just that. Located on Bainbridge Island, it is also the first home in Washington State (outside of Seattle) to earn LEED Platinum certification.

Designed by Seattle architecture firm Coates Design and built by Smallwood Design & Construction, the home is a perfect melding of modern design and sustainability. It also boasts an impressive list of features, including:


  • Vegetated roof
  • Native landscaping
  • The majority of an existing cabin was deconstructed prior to construction.


  • Low flow toilets and fixtures
  • Rainwater cisterns


  • Efficient Appliances
  • Closed cell spray foam insulation combined with batt insulation (a hybrid approach for an air-tight and insulated envelope that costs less than a fully foamed cavity)
  • Triple glazed wood frame windows
  • Geothermal
  • Photovoltaic solar
  • Solar hot water
  • Advanced heat recovery techniques

These measures resulted in a 70% energy reduction compared to a similar house of typical construction.


  • 75% of construction waste and recyclable material diverted from landfill
  • FSC wood framing and sheathing
  • FSC hardwood siding
  • Recyclable metal panel siding
  • CMU Block (which also acts as a thermal mass)
  • Interior stairs and trim from reclaimed fir trees from neighboring site.
  • Cork flooring


  • Zero-VOC paints
  • Low-VOC stains

(Images: Roger Turk of Northernlight Photography via Jetson Green)

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