Building Occupants Must Work Together to Be Net Zero


This is an interesting project. A project in Portland, Oregon — Eco Flats — will rely on its occupants to keep it at net zero (meaning, zero electricity use from the grid). The 20,000-square-foot mixed-use development (that’s a mouthful, eh?) “will use a common hydronic heating system and 3,000 square feet of photovoltaic and thermal collector panels to heat and power the building.  The 18 apartment dwellers will have to work collectively to keep their energy use down so as not to draw from the grid,” Dawn Killough of Green Building Elements writes.

Monitors in the entrances will be it easy for residents to track their energy and water use. And the energy and water use of individual residents will be posted! Peer pressure if I ever heard of it. This project is part of the Energy Trust of Oregon’s Path to Net Zero pilot program. More from Dawn:

The Trust offers financial incentives for projects that reduce their energy use by 50 percent over Oregon code requirements.  Eco Flats is the only project in the program that is attempting net zero in a building with residential units.  According to the Energy Trust, it is the first of its kind in the nation.

The building also won’t have (automobile) parking. If you want to go green, you have to green your transport. Each unit will get a secure bicycle parking space and a bicycle maintenance area will be created for resident use. The commercial part of the building, which will contain a restaurant, retail space, and a courtyard, is not aiming to be net zero, but it is aiming for LEED certification.

Photo via SiteWorks