Designer: Michael McNamara
Contractor: Ravenhill Construction, Inc.
This single-family residence is located on a rocky bluff overlooking Haro Strait on San Juan Island.The design combines low impact site development with energy efficiency, water conservation and sustainable materials use.
Shoreline Processes Credits
Being a bedrock bluff, the shoreline is naturally erosion resistant, and the house was set back from the top of the bluff enough (35 feet) to meet geotechnical requirements, making shoreline protection structures unnecessary. As a consequence, the shoreline and its associated physical features are left largely undisturbed.
Shoreline Habitat Credits
Native vegetation was retained or replanted throughout the property, and particularly within the riparian buffer (the area within 35’ of the Ordinary High Water Mark). Many large trees and several snags were preserved. No overwater structures are installed, saving both riparian habitat and shoreline processes.
Water Quality Credits
The builders went to great length to restrict site disturbance to the footprint of the buildings and driveway, retaining natural soils and native vegetation over 70% of the site area. Impervious surfaces (roof, pavement, etc.) cover only 22.7% of the site area, and the installation of a green roof and pervious paving reduced this to an “effective” impervious surface area of only 10%. To meet LEED specifications, the landscaping (mostly native plantings) is managed without the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers.
Shoreline Stewardship Credits
Besides participating extensively in the GSH program as a pilot and training site, the project provides public information about its features on its website naturalbalancehouse.com. As previously mentioned, this home has been certified under Energy Star, BuiltGreen and LEED.