Portland couple hits zero-energy goal

The 4.7--killowatt Trekhaus array was designed by SolarCity.
Courtesy SolarCity

The 4.7--killowatt Trekhaus array was designed by SolarCity. 

While most of us are still pondering New Year's resolutions, Ella Wong and Randy Hayslip have already hit the goal they set for themselves with their newly constructed Portland home: They generated more energy than they used in 2012.

In December, 2011, the couple moved into their newly constructed townhouse-style home, which was built to the ultra-green Passive House standard. (Check out our coverage of the home's construction in September, 2011.)

In April, they worked with SolarCity to design and install a 20-panel solar system that would work with the building's efficient white roofing membrane. The design of the system allows for airflow around the panels, which also improves their operating efficiency.

The panels were only generating power for seven and a half months of the year — but Wong and Hayslip still met their zero-energy goal.

"We didn't expect it, but it's great," Wong said.

Working under Portland General Electric policy, the couple elected to donate their excess electricity to low-income housing.

Portland State University has been using Trekhaus, a two-townhouse complex in Southeast Portland's Sunnyside neighborhood, as a living laboratory to study building efficiency.

According to the project's blog, O2Haus, a new project from PDX Living, the design/build team behind Trekhaus, featuring two side-by-side townhome units will be available for sale this spring with a starting price of $369,000.


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