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Success Story

Orchards at Orenco, Hillsboro

Estimated annual bill savings: $58,000

Residents at Orchards at Orenco enjoy year-round comfort with extremely low energy bills—a big plus for working families making less than half the median income. When construction completed in 2015, REACH Community Development’s 57-unit affordable housing complex became the largest multifamily building in North America certified to Passive House standards, a rigorous building standard that results in ultra-low energy use.

Expert guidance and cash incentives from Energy Trust helped Orchards select and install energy-efficiency features like a super-insulated and airtight building shell, triple-pane windows and heat recovery ventilators that provide fresh air and capture heat from exhausted air. In addition to keeping apartments comfortable, these investments create tranquil living spaces by reducing outside noise. “When our windows are closed, we don’t even hear the MAX train that goes right by our building,” said residents Sylvia and Bob Barber.

“Local partners like Energy Trust are important in helping us fund innovations and push the envelope in construction practices,” said Ben Sturtz, housing development manager at REACH Community Development. “We believe Orchards will become a replicable industry model for building affordable passive housing.”

Learn more about cash incentives and technical assistance for new multifamily buildings »