Orchards at Orenco is a highly efficient, transit-oriented workforce housing project in the Orenco Station neighborhood of Hillsboro for owner/developer REACH CDC. The 57-unit project, designed by Ankrom Moisan Architects, is the first phase of the Orchards at Orenco development, which over the course of three phases will total approximately 150 units.

Orchards is the largest building built to Passive House energy standards in North America and one of the first to offer these affordable, sustainable benefits to low-income workers. Tenants will receive unprecedented savings on their energy bills, achieving nearly 90% energy reduction for heat usage and 60-70% for overall energy use as compared to a code-compliant building.

Some key innovative features include:

* The roof has 12 inches of insulation, which is approximately quadruple the amount required by code. The light color reflects solar radiation and helps moderate the building’s temperature.

* The building is positioned with shading devices that allow winter sun but block it in the summer.

* The building contains a “heat recovery ventilator,” which uses stale air from kitchens and bathrooms (that would otherwise be wasted) to warm fresh incoming air supplied to bedrooms.

* PVC-fiberglass hybrid windows throughout have argon-filled triple glazing and are designed to close tighter than most common models.

* Walls have 10-inch stud cavities, compared to six-inch stud cavities in typical buildings.

* The building rests on a super-insulated envelope of four inches of foam under the ground floor slab.

“This award is an outstanding achievement for REACH and our development team,” says CEO Dan Valliere. “A project of this magnitude has never been accomplished anywhere in North America. Our team brought innovation and new thinking every day to the table. It’s a testament to the vision and hard work of REACH and all of our partners.”

Link to Orchards video by project architect Ankrom Moisan.

Sustainability Notes

The Orchards project has been conceived by its sponsor – REACH Community Development – to achieve Passive House certification, a highly rigorous energy efficiency standard. When complete in Spring 2015, Orchards at Orenco is slated to be the largest Passive House certified building in North America.