When you consider Portland, Oregon, as a model of sustainability, one thing that always stands out is its well established biking community. Bike friendly roads dot the city, with several major roadways in particular acting as major commuting arteries for Portland’s cyclists each day. It is on one of these roadways that developer JeanPierre Velliet has opened EcoFlats, a very green focused apartment building that is geared towards the lifestyle of those who cycle on by.
EcoFlats, which just recently became available for rentals, is Velliet’s vision of what a green building should be: built in an urban renewal area, designed to net zero energy standards, sporting solar panels on the roof and making use of an array of green building technologies. To find out more about EcoFlats, we recently visited with him on site as construction was being completed.
EarthTechling (ET): What is your background when it comes to sustainable development?
JeanPierre Velliet: I have spent most of my adult life in the mode of resourceful sustainable design build. I was formerly trained in sculpture, but even there I was and continue to only work with found objects. My company Siteworks was begun on a bicycle with a trailer, crafting Japanese tea houses and landscape hardscape, to support my art habit. I grew from that and later connected larger design concepts to building, first in homes and eventually in the commercial world. When LEED came to town I began to figure out with everyone how to put these projects together, and I completed an early development project for Kevin Cavenaugh here in Portland named “Ode to Roses”.
The last 10 years have mostly been spent in the commercial world focusing on green retail design for Portland companies Like Nau, Lizard Lounge, Keetsa, and several sustainably minded restaurants/ breweries like Hopworks, Genoa, Accanto, Andina, Taqueria Nueve, as well as office structures like Urban Works, and several more in the works.
ET: Talk a little about the EcoFlats development. What makes it particularly interesting?
Velliet: EcoFlats is a low energy consuming project that connects people to simple guilt free, transportation oriented living. The central location allows that most needs are reachable by bike, while Zip Cars are available out front at a discount to inhabitants. One person can accomplish more for their environment by living in this way. EcoFlats as a building that consumes 65% less energy, plus renewables. I like that the technology is socially engineered, and that ideally the population works together as a community towards positive goals of even less energy consumption. EcoFlats increases the quality of life through design, and tames the individual’s draw on our resources.