Affordable Living Planned for Orenco Station

One of the country's most publicized New Urbanist developments is diversifying its housing stock, featuring some of the nation's first apartments to be built using Passive House standards, reports Casey Parks.
March 15, 2012, 12pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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In a sure sign that the diminishing costs of building green makes financial sense to developers, a new 57-unit affordable housing development planned for Orenco Station will be built to Passive House standards, reducing heating consumption by 90 percent. REACH Community Development is building the project, with assistance from a $750,000 grant from Washington County.

Using Passive House standards is part of an overall "affordable living" strategy that will make the new homes affordable to individuals making $25,000 a year. According to Parks, "Orenco Station's proximity to light rail and amenities such as a grocery store, coffee shop and restaurants means residents could spend less on transportation. Building to Passive House standards will save residents money in utility bills. REACH expects a 625-square-foot one-bedroom tenant will pay about $25 a month for electricity -- down from about $50 in a less sustainable space."

And the benefits of building to Passive House standards are not just financial. "[T]rends in Europe that show Passive House complexes offer better acoustics and air quality, see less turnover and lower maintenance costs."

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Published on Thursday, March 1, 2012 in The Oregonian
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