Blue and Green – Lake Samish home combines love of the water and love of the environment…

The home of Carlos Dinares and Julie Dykema towers just off the shore of Lake Samish. The three-story home recently participated in the 10th annual Imagine This! Home & Landscape Tour, which features natural, eco-friendly homes, businesses and landscapes around Bellingham. The home integrated many green building features to help it earn a LEED for Homes Gold certification and Energy Star certification. The low-impact home was created to fit the lifestlye and vision of the owners by Bellingham Bay Builders, Cirrus Design Group, Bourne Engineering and O’Brien and Company.

Dave Brogan, one of the partners at Bellingham Bay Builders, and homeowner Dinares shared the sentiment of building a strong home that would last. Brogan says the goal of green building and living is to preserve the natural process through respectful site management, lower operating cost through energy-efficient equipment, keep a low carbon footprint, reduce toxins and pollutants for a healthier living environment, and minimize waste.

One way to promote green building is to construct a home that is durable and low-maintenance, Brogan says. This will help the owner keep the operating cost low because they will not have to rebuild or fix issues as often. “I feel like we did something different, something great,” Dinares says. The concept of the home started with location. As a world-class rowing instructor, Dinares wanted to be extremely close to Lake Samish. Having great access to the lake has been rewarding thus far, as a few of the athletes who have trained at the home are participating in the 2012 Olympic Games in London. The footprint of the home was determined by the length and number of boats Dinares fit into the training center in the lower level of the home.

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and Energy Star certifications required the home meet certain standards. Energy Star focuses on the overall quality of the envelope, including how much air leakage occurs, lighting and appliance efficiency, and the thermal losses from windows and doors, Brogan says. LEED for Homes Gold focuses not only on the same principals Energy Star does, but it also focuses on the quality of the life within the home and a greater focus on the building process.

One such measure is a blower door test, performed to help determine how tightly a home is sealed. If a home isn’t sealed properly, energy efficiency in the home decreases. The current building code for a new home is seven air changes per hour at the pressure rate of 50 Pascals. The home of Dinares and Dykema tested a just .9 air changes per hour.

In order to keep air fresh in the home, a heat recovery ventilator brings fresh air in, circulates and helps transfer the heat a 78 percent efficiency rate. The home also features an on-demand water heater, which holds an efficiency rating of 98 percent.

Other features within the home are a nod to environmentally aware living. The deck is constructed of Forest Stewardship Council-certified, highly durable tropical hardwood known as tigerwood, a class of mahogany. The interior and exterior beams are made from recycled Douglas fir, as are the stairs. The home also features energy-efficient radiant heating built into the concrete floors.

The space inside doesn’t feel like any other home, Dinares says. Downstairs people can be training, but when he is upstairs Dinares can still enjoy privacy, he says. The private rooms, such as bedrooms, are small to lend more space and create an open feel in the shared living areas.

“I am enjoying people seeing the house. Everyone who sees it enjoys it,” Dinares says. “When we see it from the lake, we’re proud of our house.”


August/September 2012 Bellingham Alive/North Sound Life

"I am enjoying people seeing the house. Everyone who sees it enjoys it,” Dinares says. “When we see it from the lake, we’re proud of our house."