Seattle: home to the world's first Starbucks, grunge music, and Boeing's aircraft manufacturing facility. But you can hardly mention the Emerald City without someone bringing up its most distinguishing feature: its copious amounts of rain. On average, Seattle experiences 150 days of rain and 201 cloudy days per year, even though other cities like New York, Boston, and D.C. average more overall rainfall each year.
But we don't see Seattle's drizzly reputation as a bad thing (where would grunge be without a little rain?). Indeed, the city's Pacific Northwestern climate has influenced nearly all aspects of Seattle's culture—including its robust architectural heritage. While many historic structures in Seattle derive from the Queen Anne style (including an entire neighborhood named after it), more recently the city has evolved into a hub for high-performing sustainable architecture that takes its climate into special consideration.
Contemporary structures in Seattle often incorporate rain screens and rainwater collection systems as prolonged exposure to excessive moisture adversely causes structural components, finishes, and cladding materials to gradually succumb to deterioration. Additionally, many new homes in Seattle achieve high sustainability standards by using clean geothermal energy, making use of reclaimed materials, maximizing glazings for optimal natural light and ventilation, and ensuring airtight, efficient building envelopes. Seattle's contemporary homes not only respond to the prolonged rainy season, they lead the industry in climate-sensitive, environmentally-responsible building methods.