Tillamook Row is a green community with five buildings.
Tillamook Row is a green community with five buildings.

The two brothers who run Portland, Ore.–based BCMC Properties were tasked by their parents and four of their friends to build a small housing community where they could age in place. The duo found a piece of land in Northeast Portland’s rapidly changing Eliot Conservation District, but it was a large lot that could house more than the five desired units.

The BCMC team made a pitch to develop the property with the five owner-occupied units plus an 11 additional units that would be listed as rentals. Thus, Tillamook Row was born, a 16-unit community of five buildings that includes a 2,000-square-foot Common House and a mix of owner and renter units with front porches and balconies oriented around a central courtyard.

With both the developer and client interested in building and living sustainability, local design-build firm Green Hammer—known for its work with green building practices—agreed to construct the project and strive for it to be the city’s first net-zero multifamily community.

Going Green
Designed in accordance with Passive House standards, Tillamook Row’s community buildings will achieve net-zero energy, meaning the total amount of energy used on an annual basis is equal to the amount of renewable energy created on-site. “The developer is very focused on sustainability and climate change … [and] they are interested in showing other developers that this kind of a development can work,” says Erica Dunn, director of design at Green Hammer.

As a result, the following green features were included in Tillamook Row’s construction:

• Solar panels are located on all south-facing roofs, and they produce 82 kilowatts of energy annually. • Triple-paned windows block out external sound and limit the amount of hot and cold air that usually transfers through windows.
• A super-insulated, airtight building envelope, including thick insulation in the walls, roofs, and underneath the slab on grade, reduces the heating and cooling loads by nearly 90%, according to the builder.
• Energy-efficient heating and cooling systems also help to reduce high energy demand. Plus, each unit continuously supplies filtered air to bedrooms and living spaces and extracts it from bathrooms and kitchens through heat recovery ventilators. • Transcritical hot-water heat pumps cut water energy use in half. This type of heat pump uses CO2 as the refrigerant, which also reduces the global warming potential of the system.
• Energy Star–rated appliances and LED light fixtures help reduce energy demand.

Due to the community’s dependence on the solar array, a battery backup system in the Common House stores power generated from the solar panels, allowing the building to serve as a resiliency center for the neighborhood in case of a power outage. —Symone Garvett

This story was excerpted from ProSale’s sister publication Builder.