The Pearl Place II affordable multi-unit building, designed by the nonprofit organization Avesta Housing and Thornton Tomasetti Inc., has been awarded the LEED Platinum certification. Pearl Place II is located in the Bayside neighborhood of Portland, Maine. Avesta is one of the largest non-profit developers and has been developing high standard, affordable housing in the New England area for the past 10 years. For the Pearl Place II project they partnered with Thornton Tomasetti, who acted as the LEED for Homes Provider and sustainability consultant,. He advised on the energy efficiency modeling, including choosing appropriate window glazing type, insulation systems, heat recovery ventilation systems and solar hot water systems which led to the project ultimately receiving the LEED Platinum certification.

The housing community measures 55,978 square-feet and consists of 54 units. The 1-bedroom units have a living area of 630-723 sq. ft., the 2-bedroom units measure 769-1045 sq. ft. and the 3-bedroom apartments are 1035-1126 sq. ft. The rents range from $665 to $1089, while there is also a limit on maximum income of the occupants, which ranges from $32,000 to $53,000 and depends on the size of the household.



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The building was designed by PDT Architects and built by the Wright-Ryan Construction firm. Receiving the LEED Platinum status was based on the project’s energy efficient improvements to the lighting and HVAC systems, which amounted to a 21 percent reduction in energy costs compared to the ASHRAE 90.1-2007 requirements.

The builders maximized production efficiency by implementing a panelized construction system. They also used mostly green-certified materials, including local framing and masonry, as well as locally extracted concrete and lumber. Low or no-VOC paints and adhesives were used and only high-efficiency fixtures and appliances were installed. The contractor also took care of on-site sorting of construction waste and managed to divert 85% of construction waste from landfills, distributing the waste to appropriate local recycling facilities.

Furthermore, the building is fitted with boilers that achieve 92% efficiency, while fresh air is supplied by an energy recovery ventilation system. Apart from providing the necessary power, the rooftop solar panel array also heats around 65% of the domestic hot water used in the building.

Pearl Place II is located only a half mile away from Portland’s public transportation terminal, which offers over 250 transit rides per day. The housing community also has easy access to the city parks, trails, and Portland’s Back Cove. Pearl Place II has a Walk Score and Bike Score of 94 and provides safe bike storage space. Many grocery stores, the post office, the Portland Public Library, as well as the city’s downtown area are all within walking distance of the community housing.