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Tapping Nature - Best Eco-Integration - Portland, OR

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Dec 1, 2012 12:43:00 PM

THIS CUSTOM HOME outside Portland, Oregon, is one couple’s dream. It’s not a “purist” project in the sustainable sense, because the owners had specific tastes that had to be balanced with sustainability.


ROOFING: 60 mL greay TPO roofing

STRUCTURE: Advanced framing, strapped wall system to reduce thermal bridging of the exterior envelope


INSULATION: Closed-cell spray foam, rigid closed-cell polyiso foam boards for underslabs and roof, blown-in JM Spider


WINDOWS: Loewen triple-pane exterior windows

HEATING: Daikin Altherma air-to-water heat pump water heater

APPLIANCES: Inductive cook top, Energy Star kitchen appliances and clothes washer/dryer

FAUCETS & FIXTURES: TOTO dual-flush toilets, front-loading washer, Hansgrohe sink fixtures

CABINETS & TOPS: 100% FSC (mostly local) hardwoods, walnut and Douglas-fir, formaldehyde-free cores, Cambria countertops

CLEAN FINISHES: OSI GreenSeries low- and no-VOC caulks and sealants, 100% VOC-free paints and stains

PAVERS: 2'x2' concrete pavers on lower terrace

LIGHTING: mostly LED; some CFL, some linear flourescent

ALTERNATIVE ENERGY: 12.5 kW Sanyo HIT PV (220-watt solar modules), plumbed for electric car charging stations

More daylighting, for example, required more window glass. The home is roomy, at 4,209 conditioned sq. ft., although Don Young Rainwater Harvestingthe architect cleverly stacked the floors to minimize the building’s footprint on the site. Even with spray foam insulation and air infiltration tolerances of less than 1.8 ACH/50, the home isn’t quite energy neutral, with a HERS score of 9.0. It still produces about 3.6 tons of carbon per year, according to an Earth Advantage Institute analysis. A solar array with 12.5 kW capacity is almost enough to supply the home’s total electrical demands. The plan is to monitor a year of occupancy and adopt strategies that will further reduce the energy use—including possible addition of more PV or another renewable power source.

Tour It!

PROJECT: Skyline Drive Residence
LOCATION: Portland, OR

ARCHITECT: Nathan Good Architects

BUILDER: Don Young & Assoc.

LANDSCAPE: Cynthia Woodyard

INTERIOR: Lydia Peters

PHOTOS: Nathan Good

  • Don Young & Associates

    As much as 37 inches of rain falls annually here, but all of that rain is managed onsite, either stored for watering or slowed with a bioswale and retention pond. The rainwater system is designed to support future green roofs and site gardens.

  • Daikin Altherma heat pump
    The clients wanted a home that would require no electric lighting during the day, no matter how cloudy the sky, so the architect used ArchiCAD and physical models to arrive at a balance between window apertures and overall energy efficiency.
  • OSI GreenSeries
    By designing the home in a narrow shape along a north-south axis, the architect created more opportunities for south-facing solar glass. Just as importantly, the home is divided so that the main social areas to the home—kitchen, dining and living rooms—are located along the southern edge, with private and utilitarian spaces across the northern sides of the home.
  • JM Spider insulation

    Rainwater harvesting was the detail that pushed this home into the winner’s circle of our 2012 Green Home of the Year Awards, but that’s only a small part of its green story.

  • Cambria countertops
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