Portland's green building movement doesn't just apply to people with big bank accounts. Fortunately, Portland has many community development corporations and housing developers committed to providing healthy and efficient housing options to people with different income levels.
Green affordable housing comes in all shapes and sizes. You can rent an apartment or purchase a home at below market rates. Most include green measures that save energy and water, improve indoor air quality and manage stormwater on-site. As a result, green affordable housing is healthier and more efficient, leading to savings for the occupant every month. In addition, affordable housing is often located close to transit lines and bike paths, further reducing the need to own a car and cost for associated maintenance and fuel.
Portland’s many affordable green housing projects include the Sitka (www.thesitka.com) in Northwest Portland, which features low-energy traction elevators, efficient lighting, Energy Star appliances, more insulation than code requires and environmentally friendly materials. Rent ranges from $400 to $1,600, with income limits applying to most apartments.
Another project is Host Community Development's Helensview (www.hostdevelopment.com). Certified as one of the nation's first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) neighborhoods by the U.S. Green Building Council, it features natural gas fireplaces as the main heating source, Energy Star appliances, heat recovery ventilators, 25-percent recycled fiberglass insulation and low-VOC paint.
When searching for your next apartment or home, look for third-party certifications that ensure you are getting the most efficient and healthy home on the market. Common certifications include LEED, Earth Advantage and Energy Star. Also ask about how much your monthly energy and water bills will be to factor that in your budget. Finally, consider where the property is located. Is it close to where you work and can you potentially walk or bike to a food store and other necessities?
To find affordable green housing options in Portland, contact the Community Development Network (www.cdnportland.org) or Southeast Uplift (www.southeastuplift.org) for more information.
To learn more about third-party certification, visit the following websites:
• USGBC.ORG (www.usgbc.org)
• Earthadvantage.org (www.earthadvantage.org)
• EnergyStar.org (www.energystar.gov)
If you have any questions about green building or how to find green affordable housing, please call our regional hotline, 503-823-5431 or visit www.buildgreen411.com.