construction begins on Indiana Street homes

KulshanCLT, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Whatcom County, has begun construction on four new super energy-efficient, permanently-affordable homes in the Birchwood neighborhood.

Working together with Habitat for Humanity, the goal is to demonstrate that sustainable features can be incorporated into affordably-priced homes. Using third-party verification of U.S. Green Building Council LEED for Homes and local BIAWC Built Green rating systems, the Indiana Street homes build on the success of KulshanCLT’s Madrona Street home to serve as a model of energy-efficiency and affordability for our community. The four homes will be sold at affordable prices to low-income first-time homebuyers.

KulshanCLT acquired the four lot Indiana Street homes building site which were at risk of foreclosure in 2009, using its own equity and Neighborhood Stabilization Funds from the City of Bellingham. Like the Madrona Street home across the street, this home site is ideally located adjacent to trails and parks, close to jobs, schools, transportation options and downtown Bellingham.

Following the building site acquisition, the Northwest Washington Chapter of the American Institute of Architects ran a design competition for the Indiana Street Homes. “The Northwest AIA is excited to be working with KulshanCLT and thanks the architects and interns for the volunteer hours they invested in the homes’ innovative designs,” said Fred Wagner AIA of Grinstad & Wagner. Wagner led the design team that reviewed and evaluated submissions and chose the successful designs donated by Stig Carlson AIA, in association with intern architect Bennett Hart; Landsem Architects AIA, in association with intern architect Dan Demeules; and Marcus Swed AIA, in association with intern architect Marc Griffin.

“Building energy efficient homes our homebuyers can afford is challenging but doable and increasingly affordable,” said Executive Director Dean Fearing. “The success of our Madrona Street home inspired us to invite Habitat for Humanity to be involved in these four new Indiana Street Homes, and make similar upfront investments in energy efficiency for their homebuyers. Together, we are raising the bar and aim for these homes to be both high performance and close to self-sustaining from an energy standpoint.”

Habitat for Humanity of Whatcom County (HFHWC) is building two of the four homes. This is the first new construction for the organization inside Bellingham city limits in 12 years, and the first Habitat affiliate in the western U.S. to build to ‘passive house’ standards, a super energy-efficient model pioneered in northern Europe over the last 20 years and incorporated into the Stig Carlson and Marcus Swed designs. “Energy modeling projects that energy costs will be less than $100 per year.” said John Moon, HFHWC Executive Director. “We’re eager to partner with KulshanCLT on these homes. Blending the best of our organizational cultures, we’ve come up with a near-perfect marriage to accomplish our mutual goals and continue the good work we started together in Whatcom County last year.”

Landsem Architects designed KulshanCLT’s homes and include attached accessory dwelling units (ADUs), creating two additional rental units affordable to households less than 50% area median income, and will be built by Emerald Builders.

“This is a special neighborhood,” said Birchwood neighbor and Bellingham City Councilman Jack Weiss at the August groundbreaking. “KulshanCLT’s ten scattered-site Birchwood homes and the new Madrona home across the street prove that affordable homes using the CLT model are a welcome addition and a good neighbor. Welcoming our new Habitat neighbors will make it even more special.”

Madrona Street Home

KulshanCLT’s has completed construction of our 100th home. The Cascade Joinery-designed, super energy-efficient home in the Birchwood neighborhood utilizes cutting-edge construction techniques and community partnerships. Read more about the energy efficient features of the Madrona Home by downloading a copy of the Madrona Home Guide.Preliminary results indicate the home will qualify for LEED for homes, Platinum status, the highest residential rating possible. Community members eager to learn more about the Madrona Street Home can tour the home as part of Sustainable Connections Imagine This! Home & Garden Tour, June 23 and 24, 2012.


KulshanCLT is absolutely committed to the idea that we, as a community, must work together to create a food system is diverse, equitable and sustainable. With our Affordable Access to Land (ALF) program, we envisioned our role as being a facilitator, working with others to obtain land that is productive, affordable and sustainable in perpetuity for generations of farmers. KulshanCLT built the program for two years, raising awareness about the complex barriers to land access for farmers in Whatcom County, building partnerships, and seeking resources to invest in preserving farmland.  As of the end of the October 2011, KulshanCLT no longer had the financial resources necessary to continue the ALF program in its current form. Read more about the suspension of the ALF program here.

Habitat for Humanity Partnership

KulshanCLT is teaming up with Habitat for Humanity of Whatcom County to create more affordable homes for community members outside Bellingham. Read more here.

Matthei Place

Completed in 2008, KulshanCLT’s award-winning Matthei Place homes comprise 14 single-family smart-site homes on less than one acre in the Happy Valley neighborhood of Bellingham. Read more here.