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Commited to Net Zero Energy

At Green Hammer we focus on building zero energy—sometimes called net zero energy—homes or buildings that have the capacity to produce as much or more energy than they consume over the course of a year. Zero energy homes and zero energy buildings use significantly less energy than those built to standard building practices in the United States. The first step toward achieving net zero energy goals is using energy-efficient design and construction methods to reduce heating and cooling demand. A zero energy building has a high-performance building envelope—air-tight, well-insulated, and absent of thermal bridges. High-performance windows and doors complete the envelope and prevent energy loss. 

Zero energy buildings reduce energy and fossil fuel use by incorporating natural lighting and energy-efficient technology such as LED light fixtures, ENERGY STAR appliances and extremely energy-efficient hot water heaters. Mechanical systems are carefully designed to be right-sized and as energy-efficient as possible. Our zero energy homes and buildings are equipped with heat recovery ventilation systems, which ensure superior indoor air quality and optimum comfort all year long. 

Our net zero energy homes’ remaining power needs are met with onsite renewable energy, usually rooftop solar systems. Typically, zero energy homes are still connected to the power grid. This allows them to draw energy from the grid when their panels are not producing enough and contribute clean energy to the grid when they produce an excess of power. Increasingly, zero energy homes are being equipped with battery storage, which allows buildings to store renewable power for use later. 


Net Zero Energy Homes Are Durable, Comfortable and Efficient 

There are numerous examples of net zero energy buildings in most climates and building types around the country—from residential to commercial to schools to medical buildings. With their superior indoor air quality and thermal comfort, net zero energy buildings are healthier buildings in which to work, live and study. They are more affordable to operate and more durable in the long-term. Because they are super energy efficient and can produce their own energy, zero energy buildings are one of the most cost-effective ways to address climate change

Net Zero Energy Communities in Portland Oregon

As one of 10 firms in the United States to meet the requirements of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) 2030 Commitment, Green Hammer has designed and built numerous net zero energy homes and communities in Portland Oregon. Ankeny Row is a zero energy community in Portland that produces, on average, 18% more electricity than it consumes over the course of a year. Our 16-unit Tillamook Row cohousing project and 12-unit Rose Villa senior living project, completed in 2018 and early 2019 respectively, are both on track to meet zero energy goals as well.  

World’s First Net Zero Energy and Net Zero Water Winery

Green Hammer designed and built Oregon’s first Living Building Challenge-certified commercial building at Cowhorn Vineyard & Garden in Jacksonville, Oregon. The Tasting Room at Cowhorn produces all of its own energy through energy efficiency measures and rooftop solar panels. It also meets the other stringent requirements of the Living Building Challenge, including healthy building materials and a water system that mimics the Earth’s closed-loop water system. 


Water Conservation and Net Zero Water Buildings  

Water is essential to life, and it is finite. As green architects and green home builders in Portland Oregon, water conservation might seem unnecessary. But as water supply and wastewater treatment facilities age, we have a responsibility to reduce water use in all buildings we design and build. 

Net zero water buildings supply all of their own water and treat all wastewater on-site. Net zero water is a requirement of the Living Building Challenge.  At Cowhorn Vineyard and Garden, we achieved Water Petal Certification under the Living Building Challenge standard through a combination of water conservation measures and by treating all wastewater and stormwater onesite through bioswales and drywells. To reduce its water consumption, the tasting room utilizes low-flow water fixtures and native and drought-resistant landscaping. Cowhorn has a closed-loop water system, meaing all water is supplied through an on-site well and none of its stormwater enters the municipal stormwater system or is purposefully discharged into the river. 

We have helped numerous clients achieve net zero water goals or incorporate water conservation in to their projects. Read about Green Hammer clients Bob and Julie Granger, who live in a net zero water home in Portland. Or watch this video about Tillamook Row in Portland, which has three, large rain cisterns which store 3,600 gallons of water—enough to irrigate the community garden and much of the property's drought-resistant landscaping year-round.

Leading the Nation in the AIA 2030 Commitment 

Green Hammer has long been focused on achieving carbon neutrality. Every project, whether commercial or residential, designed and built by Green Hammer, aims to produce as much or more energy than they consume. Through incorporating Passive House strategies and key tenents of the Living Building Challenge, our projects demonstrate that zero energy buildings are possible today. Through incorporating deep energy efficiency measures as well as on-site renewable energy, Green Hammer is leading the nation in meeting the goals of the AIA 2030 Commitment as we move towards carbon neutrality.

Design-build a healthier future.