Sponsored Content

Passive House Design Sets a Sustainability Benchmark in Southwest Portland

Terwilliger Plaza’s new Member-driven development taps into the heart of the city’s green-first culture.

Presented by Terwilliger Plaza May 21, 2021

The abundance of plant life at Parkview adds to its Passive House design, its green roof drawing heat away from the building creating a symbiotic relationship with the rooftop solar panels.

When the community of Terwilliger Plaza began planning the newest addition to their campus, their vision was clear: Parkview at Terwilliger Plaza would be among the most environmentally friendly buildings in the region. Designed with modern Passive House© principles—a tough, sustainable design program with rigorous and testable standards—Parkview, an independent living community for active adults, will be a beacon of sustainability in Portland once complete.

The benefits of Passive House are built into the construction of the building itself and go far beyond certifications given by LEED, often considered to be the industry standard of sustainable building design and construction. Passive House design seeks to maximize a building’s energy efficiency while maintaining a measurable comfort level. Demanding 50-100% more insulation in walls and roofs than standard construction, the structure is designed for outstanding thermal performance.

Peter Houseknecht, from distinguished Portland-based LRS Architects and lead architect for Parkview, describes the construction as “like a thermos,” keeping the building either warm or cold depending on the needs of its occupants at various times of the year.

Parkview at Terwilliger Plaza will feature 127 units in its location near the South end of downtown Portland. It is scheduled to be complete in 2023.

The spaces created by Passive House are remarkably quiet and thermally consistent. The key to the system is a series of high-performance fans that assist in temperature regulation and fresh air circulation always ensuring high-quality air. The whisper-quiet air circulation technology promises that homes and common spaces are constantly supplied with temperature-regulated air from outdoors. In other words, residents are always comfortable, with little to no energy use.

“What better way to mitigate energy use than to reduce the need for it in the first place?” Houseknecht states. “Conservation is the foundation of sustainability.”

High-end tilt and turn windows are shaded to prevent sunlight on the glazing. Their triple-pane design has robust insulation and ventilation properties, reducing the need for energy use in heating and cooling. 

The building employs many other extensive energy-saving technologies including rooftop solar panels and symbiotic green roof design, triple-paned tilt and turn windows, and fixed exterior sunshades that have been adjusted to accommodate the outward direction of the window. The space is finished with LED lighting, high efficiency appliances, a sunroom on every floor, and extensive green space and gardens.

This dedication to sustainability is a significant investment and aligns with the progressive ethos of the Terwilliger community. Governed by a Board of Directors that is led by a Member majority, and engages a representative self-governance style of leadership, this commitment to sustainable building practices is Member endorsed.

Refined community spaces beautifully incorporate Passive House features such as airtight construction for outstanding thermal performance and smart ventilation technologies.

According to Bob Johnson, Terwilliger Plaza’s President and CEO, “Upon completion, Parkview will set a new standard for independent living. The collective dedication to the future vision and forward momentum of Terwilliger Plaza by our community and Board of Directors is extraordinary.”

“Our Members recognize their responsibility not only as stewards of our community, but of the city and the environment,” remarked Bret Cope, Terwilliger Plaza’s Chief Operating Officer. “It is important to them that their legacy is a gift of sustainability and beauty to Portland.”  

Parkview at Terwilliger Plaza recently broke ground near close-in Southwest Portland and is slated to be completed in 2023. A limited number of charter memberships are available now for early adopters. Individuals interested in membership must be at least 62 years old upon occupancy.

Visit parkview.terwilligerplaza.com or call 503-809-8667 for more information.