Ellis Residence (LEED Platinum certified)

Designed to Make a Difference

The entire house is oriented to capture sun and shade and designed to passively heat and cool itself. The home also has a wide range of features to increase energy productivity including geothermal heat, photovoltaic energy collection, solar hot water, thermal massing and heat-recovery technologies. Additional key features include: two 1,500-gallon rainwater collection cisterns, radiant floor heating, site-milled wood trim, triple-glazed windows and a vegetated roof.

A large east-west “spine” forms a central thermal mass core for the house. This massive wall reduces temperature swings and is oriented in conjunction with operable skylights to take advantage of cooling techniques. In addition, this wall sets up a division between private and public spaces. To the north, the private portion of the house is much more enclosed. To the south, the glassy public spaces have abundant natural light and views. To the east, the water side of the house, windows and doors open to allow the naturally cool breezes from the Sound to temper the interior spaces.

Coates also created spaces with multiple functions in order to achieve a smaller overall footprint. For example, the washer and dryer and clothing storage are built into the master bathroom casework and there’s an office tucked into a corner of the media room. The home’s roof became a vegetated garden patio providing a place to relax – and greater insulation. There are also sliding and bi-folding doors that transform smaller rooms into larger gathering spaces that can be easily connected to the outdoors. “Every room in the house serves at least two functions, and usually four or five,” said Coates.

Coates’ commitment to going green paid off: the 2,500 sf home uses 70% less energy than a typical comparably-sized home.

LEEDing the Way

The Ellis’ home shows that sustainability and a love of modern design aren’t mutually exclusive. “We wanted to prove that modern, gracious residential design could encompass local environmental concerns and state- of-the-art energy efficiency,” said Joanne Ellis. “Matthew and his team far exceeded our goals.”

The home serves as a model and educational tool for future sustainable residential projects. During construction and after they moved in, the Ellis’ hosted open houses to inspire others to embrace sustainability. Coates is a sought-after speaker and lecturer and the Ellis’ often join him to relate their experiences to a wider audience. “It became obvious early on that Joanne and Ed wanted to do more than just build green,” Coates recalled. “They are active role models for sustainable living.”

The Ellis’ are proud that their home raises the bar for environmental commitment in design and construction, but more importantly they hope it will inspire others to embrace sustainability in their own homes – and lives.

ellis entry
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This image captures the main entry to the home. All of the wood used for the bench on the left came from one large tree that was on-site. It was milled on-site and kiln-dried locally. A lot of this wood was also used on the inside as finish trim... so the tree never really left the site! Also in this image are LED lights and an off-the-shelf ground-face masonry block that i...More
“WALKWAY” — alva1234
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“Champagne color” — landpoor
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“Interesting” — petestella
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“wood siding on front exterior” — The Shenbaum Group, Inc.
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“Wall” — sarah1357
“wood kitchen” — tiffanytomcal
“soffit option” — 20hazel09
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The windows above the staircase allow sunlight to warm the thermal mass CMU wall during the winter months. photo credit: Lara Swimmer
“wood trim - cables” — green1onex
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This image showcases a rooftop garden with hardwood decking and concrete pavers that define a seating area.
“Fence” — kristy2154
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“Tiles” — Louise Ashcroft
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“Long thin vanity” — Laney Clancy
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This image features a Japanese soaking tub, or "ofuro." Ofuro tubs are deeper in comparison to the western bathtub, with sides that are square rather than sloped or rounded. The lights are compact fluorescent, and all of the wood paneling is Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) certified. The countertop is recycled quartz.
“Hanging lights” — Wendy Arendts_Schultz
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Ofuro handcrafted tub
“A Japanese soaking tub. If you do go for a tub, consider a Japanese-style soaking tub rather than a” — E Kuri14
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“Counter top” — englist123
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“lower windows. yellow school bus. feels like a field trip!” — wineona
“Built in place for 3-D sculpture or vase” — cathygoetsch
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“Fountain” — Louise Ashcroft
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“Architecture” — timrollins
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“Future project” — heymumphy
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“metal panels” — Dantes Ha
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“Materials” — Laney Clancy
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“House” — luis711
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“Garden sculpture” — Louise Ashcroft
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“This but with angled roof?” — luis711
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“Elevation” — jyotimotha
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“LIKE THIS TO ENCLOSE COVER OVER FRONT DOOR” — 20hazel09
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“Casa” — karlasm75
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“Lighting in soffit” — lyndap
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“green roof” — annaklak
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“ellis” — lalaloohoo
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“Uses the natural setting as the decor.” — curlygirl52
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“Esta” — Maria Elena Borrell
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“entrance” — annaklak
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“Guest house & garage” — luis711
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“modern contemporary surrounded natural habitat” — Harun Bujang
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