Maine Home + Design
By Melissa Coleman
The first affordable multifamily building in Maine to achieve LEED Platinum certification, Avesta’s Oak Street Lofts were designed and built by CWS Architects and Wright-Ryan Construction, with sustainability consulting by Thornton Tomasetti. The 37 artist-friendly apartments benefit from a solar preheat system for up to 85 percent of the building’s hot water, high-efficiency condensing boilers, energy recovery ventilators that return 76 percent of the energy in the exhaust airstream, a tight thermal envelope, panelized wood wall framing to minimize waste, and locally sourced wood.
Q: What are the energy costs compared to similar Avesta buildings?
A: The apartments are twice as efficient as a standard apartment. In the first year of occupancy, heat and electricity costs per apartment were just $46 a month, compared with $92 a month for a typical apartment. That’s a $20,424 annual savings for the entire building.
Q: What did you learn during the LEED certification process?
A: We learned that location matters. LEED gives a lot of points for housing density and proximity to transportation and services. City transit lines make over 250 stops a day within a half mile of the building, and there are numerous restaurants, shops, and public services within walking or biking distance.
Q: What features attracted the most notice?
A: We’ve received national attention for demonstrating that energy-efficient design not only lowers operating costs and creates a more durable building but also doesn’t have to significantly increase construction costs.