2016 MFE AwardsGreen, MeritThe WoodlawnSolTerra
SolTerra Woodlawn

This small project tucked away in northeast Portland is setting an example for the future of modern, trendy, and sustainable multifamily developments. SolTerra, a relatively new company to the multifamily space, built, designed, and developed The Woodlawn with the goal of being the most energy and water efficient project in Portland. The 18-unit building was constructed with locally sourced wood, including more than 3,000 square feet of reclaimed barn wood used as exterior siding.

Project Details

Location: Portland, Ore.
Developer, Architect, and Builder: SolTerra
Opened: 2/19/2015
Number of units: 18
Unit mix: one- and two-bedrooms, commercial unit, and live-work units
Rents: $1,600 to $2,400

To reduce electricity, The Woodlawn features high-efficiency heat-pump water heaters, heat-pump mini-splits for space heating and cooling, double-pane low-E windows, R-31 exterior walls, Energy Star appliances, LED lighting, and low-flow plumbing fixtures. A thousand square feet of “living walls” cover the exterior, with an additional 4,500 square feet of drought-tolerant vegetation planted on the roof. All of this landscaping is watered via a high-efficiency irrigation system and a 9,000-gallon rainwater cistern at the heart of the development. SolTerra also installed a solar canopy above the retail space.

The LEED Platinum–certified project vastly exceeded expectations, says SolTerra, using 53% less energy and 57% less water than a typical low-rise apartment building. With that result, tenants pay an average utility bill of $45 a month—a 73% savings compared with the average Portland household.

The Woodlawn’s green features and energy savings were enough to wow the judges, so the building’s tasteful and trendy design and unique unit mix were icing on the cake. SolTerra’s in-house architects mastered a true Oregonian feel with the exterior wood and living walls, large windows for lots of daylight, balconies and other outdoor living spaces, and exposed concrete floors inside the units.

The Woodlawn contains 16 residential units; two live/work units, which offer upstairs living with ground-level store fronts; and a commercial unit that’s currently housing Bushwacker Cider, a craft cidery and bottle shop.