On February 12 amid gale rain gusts, The Oaks, Portland’s first-ever net zero energy senior neighborhood, celebrated an Open House with much fanfare and excitement.
More than 100 residents, staff and community partners, including Milwaukie Mayor Mark Gamba and members of the North Clackamas Chamber of Commerce gathered in the Performing Arts Center to toast the completion of The Oaks. Green Hammer President Stephen Aiguier and Vassar Byrd lauded each other’s vision and leadership in undertaking such an innovative and forward-thinking project. Guests enjoyed mingling and “high energy” refreshments from Harvest Grill during the short program before heading down to the neighborhood for their first look inside one of The Oaks homes.
The Oaks includes 12 craftsman-style homes built to meet Passive House principles that support health and energy efficiency. It is the Passive House principles, such as an ultra-airtight building envelope, triple-paned windows and sustainable building materials that make The Oaks net zero energy. The Oaks is expected to achieve a 65 percent reduction in total building energy use relative to existing comparable buildings, and remaining energy needs will be met by a 74-kilowatt rooftop solar system. Residents will likely have low-to-no energy costs while enjoying comfortable, quiet homes with fresh, filtered air. Each home also features durable, high-quality finishes, modern, energy-efficient appliances and perks such as bicycle storage.
The Oaks will welcome new residents beginning February 21, making the Open House a rare opportunity for current residents, staff and local community members to see what zero energy homes look like on the inside.