The center demonstrates the potential for
existing building stock to be renovated in a way
that outperforms conventional new construction, saves money, preserves history and inspires
beauty and creativity.
Through aggregate metering, excess electricity
generated by Painter Hall’s 20.2-k W photovoltaic
system pumps well water through the community’s geothermal loop.
Copyright © 2010 by the American Solar Energy Society Inc. All rights reserved.
Challenges — and opportunities —
Structurally, Painters Hall had a lot going for
it: It was strong and, without interior support columns, had a large uninterrupted floor plan. The
trusses were well-built, and the building’s existing orientation, roof pitch and solar exposure
made it an excellent candidate for solar energy.
With a tilt and orientation factor of 98 percent
and only a touch of shade from nearby 200-year-
old oak trees, annual solar access was calculated
at 93 percent. The building’s 1,900-square-foot
(177-square-meter) south-facing roof had the
potential to produce three times the energy
Painters Hall needed to be net-zero, even in
Oregon’s cloudy Willamette Valley.
The project had its challenges, though. In
terms of energy efficiency, the building was a
worst-case scenario. Its foundation and walls
were made of solid concrete without insulation,
and the building’s single-pane steel casement
windows, many of which would not fully close,
had no thermal breaks.
Fortunately, the development team at Pringle Creek has some experience overcoming
challenges to achieving sustainability. Designed
around nature, people and innovation, Pringle
Creek’s highly efficient LEED-certified homes
share 12 acres of open space, woods, trails,
orchards and gardens, creating a neighborhood
that is beautiful and healthy to live in. Numerous initiatives and innovations — from green
roofs and district ground-source geothermal to
the largest porous green street system in North
America — have earned the neighborhood
several awards, including recognition as the
National Association of Home Builders’ Green
Land Development of the Year and a spot on
Natural Home Magazine’s list of America’s Top
10 Green-Built Neighborhoods.
Beginning in 2009 and led by architect and
master planner James Meyer, principal at Opsis
Architecture ( opsisarch.com) in Portland, Ore.,
the team’s first step in renovating Painters Hall
was to identify which elements could be saved.
The building’s interior was gutted. Materials that
could be reused, such as the garage door, dimen-
To achieve net-zero-energy, the team focused
on deep-energy conservation strategies, recognizing that a kilowatt-hour (k Wh) saved is far
Residents share 12 acres of open space, through
parks and naturalized areas such as this quiet
pathway along Pringle Creek.
96 Sanyo HIT-210N Solar Modules
4 PV Powered 4800 Inverters;
20,160 watts DC STC
Panel Orientation: Tilt = 26 degrees;
Azimuth = 205 degrees
Solar Access: Annual 93 percent;
Summer (May-Oct) 96 percent;
Winter (Nov-Apr) 85 percent
Total Solar Resource Fraction (TSFR):
Tilt & Orientation Factor (TOF): 98 percent
Developer: Sustainable Development
Architect: Opsis Architecture,
Builder: Spectra Construction
Solar Installer: Tanner Creek Energy,
sional lumber and pieces of concrete, were set
aside. Metal casement windows were cut out,
and rusted plumbing, old electrical components
and asphalt roofing shingles were removed. Ultimately, 90 percent of the demolition waste was
diverted from landfills.
After the gutting, the building’s shell was all
that remained: trusses, roof sheathing, concrete
walls and foundation. Drawing from a stockpile
of metal, wood and concrete saved from other
buildings deconstructed on site, local green
builder Phil Klaus of Spectra Construction
began to give new uses to old materials. The front
porch decking was built of salvaged old growth
timbers. The trellis, door pulls, bike racks and
conference table came from old steam pipe and
stanchions. The café bar, table tops and furniture were made from hazard trees milled on site.
Acoustical ceiling slats and trellis shading were
made from tongue and groove fir pulled from the
building next door.