Net-Zero Re-Build, Portland, OR

Net-Zero Re-Build, Portland, OR

Portland eco-freindly house

Marcus's Passive Solar home with Solar PV

This family, originally from Switzerland, found a home in the neighbourhood they wanted, but the existing home didn’t meet their desire for an energy-efficient – net zero home.

Marcus and his family, bought the home about 10 years ago with the intention of renovating. Marcus originally started by taking the second floor walls down to the studs. His intention was to only replace the upstairs walls but unfortunate circumstances required a major rebuild, taking all walls down to the foundation.

Time and money were a factor in this eco-friendly renovation. As Marcus couldn’t afford to hire out, he did the majority of the work himself. His family lived in a rental while the home was being renovated.

The end result was a warm and modern Swiss-styled design. You feel warmth of the walls and wood in the home. This creates a really comfortable feeling in this modern 2 story home.

The home is well insulated and features Passive Solar elements, as well with a Solar Photo Voltaic, grid-tied system and on-demand hot water heating.

The homeowners tried to face the majority of their windows to the south, but opted to have additional windows to the north, as this is where their view and garden show best.

Portland eco-friendly dining room

Sunlight floods this eco-friendly dining room

Marcus used recycled products whenever he could. Not only did this keep products out of the landfill, but he saved money in the process. A great find was the double pane windows; aluminum outside and wood inside, sourced from the local Habitat for Humanity Restore.

All of the wood used in this eco-friendly home is FSC Certified and came from a local builder. As well, our homeowners made an effort to have a minimal waste and the waste they did have, was further recycled.

Custom designed cabinets with low VOC finish and a butcher block counter from a mis-sized clients home, complete the modern kitchen.

After we toured the home, Marcus took us around the neighbourhood. He showed us his neighbours eco-friendly efforts. Up to this point, we had never been in an area where there were so many Solar Photo Voltaic systems. It seems that these neighbours talk to each other, and when they do, it is about the efficiencies of their homes. This was truly a very green neighbourhood.

This was also the land of the Prius. I am sure we saw every colour of the Prius family during our visit to this neighbourhood. Although cycling is a favourite method of travel for this area of the US, if you have to drive, an energy efficient vehicle should be your choice.

This visit proved to us that a green renovation or build shouldn’t have to cost more than a typical home does. Green can be done on a small budget. Ask Marcus.

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