Affordable housing project wins Passive House Institute Awards

Affordable housing project wins Passive House Institute Awards

Photo courtesy of Ankrom Moisan Architects

Orchards at Orenco, the largest certified multi-family Passive House building in North America, received two of the highest honors in the 2015 Passive House Institute U S Building Project Competition.

The project won both the Best Overall Project and the Best Affordable Housing Project awards. The first ever North American Passive Building Competition recognized projects and project teams that exemplify best passive practices to accelerate adoption of passive building in the U S marketplace. Developments from across the country competed in the single-family, multi-family, affordable and commercial/institutional categories. Projects were rated on measures of performance, difficulty, cost-effectiveness, design, craftsmanship, and health (i.e. use of non-toxic materials).

Opened in June 2015, Orchards at Orenco is the largest certified multi-family Passive House building in North America. Its outstanding transit-oriented location on the MAX light rail line in Hillsboro, Oregon, provides easy access to multiple community amenities including hospitals, airports, shopping and large area employers. The development contains 57 units of housing including 40 one-bedroom and 17 two-bedroom units. The building will achieve nearly 90% energy reduction in heating and 60-70% for overall energy use compared to a comparable USGBC LEED building.

Orchards at Orenco is bringing affordable, sustainable living to low-income workers. The beneficiaries include households earning incomes of 50% Median Family Income or less, $36,750 for a family of four. Rents range from $611-$733/month. Eight of the units have project-based Department of Housing and Urban Development Section 8 vouchers. The project is fully leased.

The L shaped building features PVC-fiberglass triple-paned windows, 12” of insulation in the roof, walls with 10” stud cavities, a heat recovery system, 4” inch of foam under the ground floor slab, and a building positioned with shading devices that allow winter sun but block it in the summer. REACH assembled an outstanding Portland-based team of design, development and construction firms including Walsh Construction Co. (general contractor); Ankrom Moisan Architects (architects of record); William Wilson Architects (architect of design); Housing Development Center (construction manager); Green Hammer, Inc. (Passive House consultants); Housing Authority of Washington County (limited partner); and PHIUS (Passive House Institute of the United States). The $14.5 million project was financed with funding from Wells Fargo, the Community Housing Fund, Meyer Memorial Trust, Network for Oregon Affordable Housing (NOAH), Oregon Housing and Community Services, NeighborWorks® America, and the Washington County Office of Community Development.

“This competition was a fitting way to celebrate our 10th Annual North American Passive House Conference," said Katrin Klingenberg, Executive Director of PHIUS. "And Orchards at Orenco is a perfect illustration of how far passive building has come in that time."

“These awards are an outstanding achievement for REACH and our development team,” says CEO Dan Valliere. “A project of this magnitude has never been accomplished anywhere in North America. Our team brought innovation and new thinking to the table. It’s a testament to the vision and hard work of REACH and all of our partners.”

Orchards at Orenco is featured in the North American’s Passive House Network (NAPHN), Net Zero Energy Buildings: Passive House + Renewables (p 62) and has also received the Portland’s Business Journal’s Sustainable Project of the Year Award.

Read more about Passive House buildings.


Topics: Building Green, Certification / LEED, Passive House, Sustainable Communities


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