The Vera made sustainable design and construction practices a priority early on by pursuing the US Green Building Council’s LEED© for Homes Rating System. The Vera was designed, engineered and constructed with careful attention to its environmental impact, with a focus on reducing the use of energy and natural resources in the ongoing operation of the building.
Reducing your energy consumption provides the greatest opportunity to positively affect the environment. This is because the energy produced by power plants to fuel the building results in major greenhouse gas emissions – impacting air quality, wildlife, and climate. Also, saving energy means saving money on your electric bill!
Below are some of the development’s sustainable and energy-efficient features:
- The Vera is located in downtown Portland with nearby retail amenities and a diversity of public transportation options including the Portland Street Car. In addition, the project provides ample bike parking for its residents.
- Energy Efficiency Measures for the building include LED Lighting, Lighting Controls, Daylighting, Air tightness, Increased insulation, Energy Star appliances and low-e double paned windows. Together these measures result in a reduction in energy use by roughly 18% compared to a code building.
- Low flow fixtures for showers, sinks, and toilets result in a water use reduction of 25% compared to a baseline. This equates to roughly 1.5 million gallons saved annually just for indoor water fixtures.
- The landscaping uses native plants and has an efficient irrigation (drip systems, rain sensors) to reduce outdoor water use. Large planters contain layers of soil and gravel that are designed to retain, absorb and filter stormwater.
- Thermal comfort controls are provided in living areas and bedrooms to provide occupants with controllability and comfort. Separate controls can also reduce energy.
- Proper sealing reduces air infiltration, smells, and sound between units. Units were tested to confirm that proper sealing was in place.
- The paints, adhesives, sealants, and flooring used in the VERA are low- or no VOC which means they don’t off-gas supporting health indoor air. Walk-off mats at the building entrance removes particulates that accumulate on shoes and good filtration on HVAC systems also increase indoor air quality.
- Other sustainable material related highlights include high recycled content in concrete foundations and insulation as well as locally produced wood doors.
- The project diverted 88% of construction waste from landfills, a little over 100 tons! Other sustainable construction practices included keeping dust out of ducts during construction and flushing out the units with fresh air prior to move-in.