Project completion: 2020
Client(s): Inspire Fremont
Design Team NW Wind & Solar – PV Design Build
Installed: 97.6kW Grid Tied Rooftop PV Array
Modules: (244) LG Neon 400watt Modules
Inverter (3) SolarEdge Inverters with DC Optimizers
Racking: Sunmodo
Features: Net Zero – Living Building Challenge

Seattle already is home to the world's most efficient commercial office building, the Bullitt Center, and soon the doors will open on Inspire a "net-positive" apartment building that is expected to produce more electricity than it uses. The team took on Inspire to show the development industry — which is known for its herd mentality — that it's possible to earn a good return even when deploying pricey systems. "It was very important to us to not sacrifice development yield while being able to deliver this very sustainable building," said Brett Phillips, an executive at Unico Sustainability and member of the family that has owned the Inspire property for decades.

Inspire at the Russell W. Young Building

3825 Bridge Way N. | 42 studio and one-bedroom apartments

Developers: Russell’s Fifth Avenue and Shilshole Development
Architect: Public47 Architects
Contractor: Shilshole Development
Sustainable design: Unico Sustainability
Mechanical/plumbing: Karen Kiest Landscape Architects, WSP
Electrical design: SAFE Consulting Services
Structural design: Bykonen Carter Quinn
Solar energy installer: NW Wind & Solar
HVAC contractor: Cascade Comfort Systems

100 kW on-site solar energy system expected to generate 105 percent of electricity High-efficiency plumbing systems to cut water demand by 43 percent Extra insulation, LED lighting and Energy Star appliances and regenerative elevator make Inspire 54 percent more efficient than other new buildings Elevator will be tucked out of the way so tenants use the natural light-filled stairway Organized as Russell's Fifth Avenue Inc., the family is jointly developing the five-story building with Seattle-based Shilshole Development.

Inspire at the Russell W. Young Building is the full project name. Young, who was Phillips' step-grandfather, came West in a Model T from Ohio in 1925 with $100 and landed in Seattle. He became the Seattle Times' executive vice president of advertising, and on the side started real estate investment company Russell's Fifth Avenue, which bought the Inspire property and built a one-story office building there in the 1950s.

Inspire is scheduled to open in October, and apartments will average 407 square feet with asking rents of about $4 a square foot, said Shilshole co-founder and Director of Finance and Development Mike Yukevich, who thinks some tenants will be drawn in by Inspire's green features.

A project like this requires buy-in, and to motivate tenants, Inspire will have a lobby dashboard that shows how much energy the building is producing and the rate of consumption. Yukevich said the team may break down use by floor to spur competition.

"The biggest thing is TV use," Phillips said. Building managers can't monitor television watching but can control the kinds of TVs used, so apartments will come with LCD flatscreen sets.

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