What if a home could improve the environment around it? That’s the question architect Michelle Lanker of Lanker Design LLC and her husband Bill Bloxom put to the test when they designed their new getaway—a floating home docked on Washington’s Lake Union that’s not only net-zero and certified LEED Platinum, but also improves water quality and biodiversity. Dubbed Houseboat H, this stunning sustainable home boasts a bevy of eco-friendly elements – from material choices and renewable energy sources to its use of floating islands to create new aquatic habitats.
Sustainability and symbiosis are at the heart of Houseboat H. Powered by solar and designed for minimal energy use, this net-zero home floats above a series of floating islands specially designed to improve water quality. Buoyant planters made of recycled plastic house native plants that form root systems to purify the water and encourage fish habitats. The growing aquatic habitats can be observed from a large window in the basement float of the home.
In addition to the recycled plastics in the planters, thoughtful material choice can be seen throughout the home, most notably in the old-growth cedar logs used in the interior that were salvaged from Michelle and Bill’s original, century-old houseboat destroyed in a fire. Durable materials were carefully selected, like the plastic laminate for the cabinets and counters as well as the cement fiberboard for exterior cladding. The use of cedar and bamboo in the home lend a sense of warmth to the light-filled interior.
Natural lighting and beautiful Seattle skyline views are welcomed indoors through large triple-glazed windows that often span floor to ceiling. The NanaWall WA67 opening glass walls fully open up to blur the line between the indoors and out. To minimize energy loss, the walls and roof are filled with spray foam insulation at maximum insulation thicknesses. A small green roof also aids in insulation. A 5.43-kW solar array attached to the standing seam metal roof powers the home’s LED fixtures, low-energy appliances, and water heater (with a 80 gallon storage tank) for the hydronic radiant floor system. A heat exchanger is also installed to collect heat from the lake.
Images via Lanker Design LLC