BRIGHT-MINDED HOME – September 2013

BRIGHT-MINDED HOME – September 2013
By Melissa Coleman

Q+A with Development Officer Greg Payne of Avesta Housing’s Oak Street Lofts

The first affordable multifamily building in Maine to achieve LEED Platinum certification, Avesta’s Oak Street Lofts were designed and built by CWS Architects and Wright-Ryan Construction, with sustainability consulting by Thornton Tomasetti. The 37 artist-friendly apartments benefit from a solar preheat system for up to 85 percent of the building’s hot water, high-efficiency condensing boilers, energy recovery ventilators that return 76 percent of the energy in the exhaust airstream, a tight thermal envelope, panelized wood wall framing to minimize waste, and locally sourced wood.

Q: What are the energy costs compared to similar Avesta buildings?

A: The apartments are twice as efficient as a standard apartment. In the first year of occupancy, heat and electricity costs per apartment were just $46 a month, compared with $92 a month for a typical apartment. That’s a $20,424 annual savings for the entire building.

Q: What did you learn during the LEED certification process?

A: We learned that location matters. LEED gives a lot of points for housing density and proximity to transportation and services. City transit lines make over 250 stops a day within a half mile of the building, and there are numerous restaurants, shops, and public services within walking or biking distance.

Q: What features attracted the most notice?

A: We’ve received national attention for demonstrating that energy-efficient design not only lowers operating costs and creates a more durable building but also doesn’t have to significantly increase construction costs.

Q: What’s next?


A: We’d like to explore rooftop gardening or urban green space.  

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