Friday, January 28, 2011

More press for ecoFLATS! featured in Cascadia GBC's quarterly magazine Trim Tab

"The Path to Net Zero: Oregon's Story"
by Sara Feldman

ecoFlats, slated for occupancy in spring 2011, combines
eighteen apartment units with ground floor retail space
on North Williams Ave, within Portland’s Interstate
Urban Renewal Area. Developer Jean-Pierre Veillet,
owner of Portland design/build firm Siteworks, and
his partner Doug Shapiro set out to reinvent an underutilized
property as a model for sustainable, community-
orientated and affordable high-performance design.

On track to achieve a net-zero energy standard for the
residential portion of the building, the project encompasses
energy-saving and power-generating tactics,
including a common hydronic heating system, a 20
kilowatt solar electric array, an energy-efficient building
envelope, ample day-lighting and thermal collectors
to provide hot water for the entire building. The
apartments are also accessible from an exterior loggia,
which helps avoid the high heating and cooling costs
typically associated with internal circulation spaces.

While the building exemplifies sustainable living, one
looming variable keeps the partners up at night: the
future residents. Will they operate as a community
to do, as Veillet says, “what’s right,” in terms of meeting
the net-zero energy goal? Betting on peer pressure
to encourage responsible energy use, Veillet plans to
install a visual energy monitoring system inside the
main building entry. Each unit will be monitored individually
against a baseline energy goal, with every
unit’s usage visible to all. Along with the power of peer
pressure, the partners are considering an incentive system
to reward those who meet energy goals, as well as
individual energy consultations for those who want to
slash their energy use but are not sure how.

“If we truly want to decrease energy use, we have to
target buildings. But we can not just focus on machines
and technology, the individual has to participate,” says
Veillet. “It’s this social piece and getting people to work
together that will make the building a success. This
is a prototype for other designers and builders to get
people to participate in the pursuit of a common goal,
which is simple, guilt-free living.”

To view Trim Tab online, please click on the link below:

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