2017 Green Building Grants and Program Related Investments

The Foundation’s green building work will use the expertise, network, and resources it has developed around energy efficiency policy and seize on the improved conditions its grantees and partners have helped to create, starting in two large-scale bioregions of the United States: Cascadia (Oregon, Washington, and Idaho) and Sonora (New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah and Colorado).


Cascade Built – $55,788 (Grant)
To provide solar hot water heating for Pax Futura, a multi-family 35-unit Passive House certified green building project in the Columbia City neighborhood in Seattle; designated to be a first-of-its-kind, the building will be 20,190 square feet, with 50% of the units are offered at 65% of Area Median Income (AMI), through no formal affordability program and without any subsidy; Pax Futura will consume up to 90% less energy to heat and cool the units than standard buildings and use durable materials and construction techniques that will last for future generations; the project will also be Built Smart emphasizing resource conservation, employing pared down mechanical systems, superior insulation, no VOC finishes, and natural bio-retention planters to manage storm water onsite; the solar hot water heating project will use an innovative solar collector system optimized to produce 80% of the annual hot water load supplemented with an air-to-water heat pump; this hybrid system will provide all the energy needed for hot water in the building, including laundry, showers, and dishwashing, and will require no energy input from the electrical grid.

Framework Project – $200,000 (Grant)
To fund the affordable housing component of the nation’s first wood high-rise building in Portland, Oregon partnering with Home Forward Development Enterprises; designed as a demonstration project to be the first of its kind using cross-laminated timber (CLT) with over 50% of the wood sourced from Oregon; the project will provide affordable housing in a mixed-use format during a housing emergency in the City of Portland; Framework seeks to establish a model for sustainable urban ecology and environmental responsibility through an energy-efficient building that uses carbon-sequestering mass timber products including CLT as its structural system; as a catalyst for the wood products industry, Framework encourages economic opportunity in rural America; locally in Oregon the project supports social justice through affordable housing and office space for certified B-corporations.


International Center for Appropriate & Sustainable Technology (ICAST) – $100,000 (Grant) and
Triple Bottom Line Fund (TBL) – $100,000 (Program Related Investment)
To identify service provider partners who are interested in providing solar and other renewable energy (RE) solutions to the Multi-Family Affordable Housing (MFAH) market but facing financing hurdles; to identify both equity and debt investor partners who are interested in providing the investments needed for the small scale solar and other RE solutions to the MFAH market; to facilitate partnerships, online convening, and charrettes regarding the development for an online platform that matches solar or other RE projects in need of financing, to equity and debt investors interested in the small scale RE projects for MFAH; to collect and analyze best practices and lessons learned to create a scalable solar and other RE financing model that can lead to an online platform that matches projects with investors; to develop a simple and replicable template for RE installations that minimizes the transaction costs for the MFAH market; to establish proof of concept of debt financing through TBL Fund for financing deep green retrofits including solar and other RE solutions; to design, develop and launch online videos that educate tenants on the importance of energy and water efficiency and trains them on how they individually can make triple-bottom line impacts by changing their behaviors to be more efficient in the use of scarce resources such as water and energy; to design and develop an online app, launch the app, and market it to MFAH properties and tenants.

Cascadia & Sonora

ConnectDER – $150,000 (Recoverable Grant)
To develop and deploy an innovative and versatile “meter collar” which supports home solar system connection to the grid in under ten minutes, eliminating the need for complex and dangerous electrical engineering work, and saving substantial installation costs; a smart version of the collar also enhances grid stability by allowing utilities to efficiently monitor and control the output of the distributed energy resource; to provide rooftop solar to low-income households who are not served by existing market vendors; to dramatically reduce the upfront cost of distributed energy resources and accelerate the deployment of solar, providing greater access to on-site renewable generation in support of green buildings.

WattTime – $100,000 (Program Related Investment)
To bring a new innovative technology for reducing building carbon emissions and water consumption referred to as “automated emissions reduction” or AER, is software that reprograms Internet-connected (“smart”) devices so that they automatically shift energy use to moments which produce less pollution, in particular CO2 emissions, and consume less water; the AER software can be applied to nearly any Internet-connected device that consumes electricity, the vast majority of which are in buildings; by integrating AER into the energy-management algorithms of their products, manufacturers of such devices can reduce the carbon footprint of their entire product lines with a single software update; AER is based on proprietary technology already developed by WattTime, which automatically detects moments of surplus clean energy and routes this information to smart energy-consuming devices (batteries, thermostats, etc.) in software language which influences that device to respond accordingly; the project seeks to raise awareness among builders in the Cascadia and Sonora regions that AER technology now exists and can quickly and easily reduce their emissions and water consumption at no cost.

Map of EMEF green building impact area