These are the photovoltaic (PV) panels on top of Portland’s Casey Condominiums, the nation’s first residential building to achieve a LEED Platinum rating. It looks like a lot of PV, but it actually only expected to provide about 2.5% of the building’s total energy use. The 23 kW of panels cover roughly 2,300 square feet, and the PV Watts calculator estimates that they would produce about 24,000 kWh per year in Portland — that’s a little more than two typical U.S. households (11,000 kWh/year).
Overall, the Casey is expected to consume half the energy of a code-compliant building, which means there’s a lot more going on to reduce energy use than just the just PV.
The negative impact of an envelope comprised of about 50% window openings was minimized with the use of high-performance, low-e coated glazing. HVAC is a water-source heat pump system that is designed to move heat from warmer to cooler units when temperature differentials exist. The HVAC system also exchanges heat with the domestic hot water system to reduce energy use in both systems. The units and the trash room are equipped with a heat recovery ventilation systems that use the heat in exhausted air to heat incoming air. And of course all the lighting and appliances are the most efficient available.
The Casey, developed by Portland-based Gerding Edlen and completed in 2007, is easily a more advanced residential high-rise than anything yet built in Seattle. Sorry Mosler Lofts, 5th and Madison, and Olive8. And it may well be that Gerding Edlen’s Bellevue Towers is destined to lead the current pack in the Puget Sound region.
Oh, and Gerding Edlin has a followup to the Casey in the works: a 22-story office/residential tower at 12th and Washington (rendering below) that will incorporate solar hot water and wind turbines. Who is Seattle’s Gerding Edlin?