Wright On Sustainability

Passive House Planning & Permaculture Design

  • May 9


    This is a planning competition, similar in concept to the design exercise for consultant certification, but with a real-world prospect:  three replacement elementary schools (Fairview, Troutdale, and Wilkes) for the Reynolds School District in Portland Oregon. (Bond issue to fund the project is on the ballot for May 19.) The goal here is to produce something that could be used to pitch the idea to the District, of making passive house energy performance a design goal for the project.  More background info below.



    Entries may address 1, 2, or all 3 schools.


    Required performance

    Space conditioning

    Heating – supply air heating sufficient (appropriate for project in zone 4C).

    Cooling – no 1st round requirement, but it factors in the judging.

    Total energy

    Source energy limit 120 kWh/m2.yr, per either PHIUS+ 2015 rules or (pre-PER) PHI rules.


    Minimum $500, winner takes all.



    Practitioners doing business in Oregon and Washington may enter.

    Submission deadline

    Friday May 15, close of day Pacific time.


    Submission format – required elements

    Sketchup model(s)

    Energy model(s) in

    PHPP 2007 IP (June 2010), or

    WUFI Passive (static), or

    PHPP v8 IP

    Brief Envelope narrative

    Brief Mechanical narrative



    Graham Wright, plus whoever else puts up $500 prize money.


    Evaluation criteria




    Each juror gets 10 points to allocate.  Top point-getter wins.



    The Facilities Master Plan Committee of the Reynolds School district recommends that the Fairview, Troutdale, and Wilkes elementary schools be replaced on their current properties.


    The Reynolds School Board members unanimously authorized the placement of the bond measure on the May 19, 2015 ballot.  In addition to some other remodeling and security upgrades, the bond issue would replace three schools:


    • Fairview, Troutdale (88 years old each) and Wilkes Elementary (101 years old)
    • Build to Current Seismic Codes
    • Increase School Capacity to Accommodate Growth.


    Of the $125 million bond project, the school replacements amount to $82,880,404

    IMG_2052 (1)

    Geo-located Sketchup files for each school have been placed in the folder with this document, setting the view to overhead will show the Google Earth view of the footprint of the current building to scale, along with a bit of the surrounding area.


    For Fairview and Wilkes it is possible to get a pretty good idea of the elevation views of the current buildings from Google street view.  This isn’t available for Troutdale so I scouted it and made a 3-d Sketchup approximating the existing buildings.


    More information about the District’s long-term thinking may be available in the Facilities Master Plan here:




    Each of the 3 schools has also recorded a short “Facility Condition” video interview with the facilities manager, showing the state of their crumbling, leaky, asbestos-ridden building.






    Additional information about the schools can be viewed on the Oregonian web site:




    In particular, the enrollment/occupancy seems relevant to planning, which I make out to be as follows.  (Only Wilkes notes faculty & staff on their website, but could probably be taken as representative.)  Note that they are looking to double the capacity, plus a skosh.


    School Address Enrollment/capacity New capacity Cost estimate
    Troutdale 648 SE Harlow St, Troutdale OR 370 / 394 450 $ 23,911,328
    Fairview 225 Main St, Fairview OR 400 / 515 570 $ 32,613,570
    Wilkes 17020 NE Wilkes Rd, Portland OR 451 / 462 (+18 teachers + 26 staff) 527 $ 26,355,306


    That’s about what I’ve got to get you started.