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Planning Commission gets first-hand look at net zero home and kicks off dialogue around 'green development'

PMG PHOTO: SAM STITES - LO City Councilor John LaMotte (left) Eric Antonini (center), Planning Commission Chair Rob Heap (center-right) and Commissioner Randy Arthur (right) tour through Antoninis net zero energy home.

Members of the Lake Oswego Planning Commission and LO Sustainability Network were treated Tuesday evening to a tour and discussion with Eric Antonini, homeowner and builder of Lake Oswego's first home built to net zero energy standards.

Antonini finished his 3,200 square foot, five-bedroom four-bathroom Bryant neighborhood home in 2018.

He served as project manager, designer and even laborer throughout the process. Antonini wasn't experienced in any of those areas, but he had a lot of help and training from organizations like Green Hammer, one of the areas few design/build firms that focus on sustainable development of homes and buildings. What he came up with was a masterfully designed and executed, air-tight home powered by the and uses less energy than creates — earning it a n Earth Advantage Platinum zero energy rating.

PMG PHOTO: SAM STITES - Eric Antonini shows the LO Planning Commission his heat recovery ventilation system which keeps his home at a constant 70 degrees no matter the season and recirculates all the air in his house once every hour.

To achieve that, Antonini incorporated a 34-panel, 11.3 Kw solar array, as well as R-23 dense packed blown cellulose insulation and YakiSugi siding, high performance triple-pane windows, low-energy appliances, a heat pump and heat recovery ventilation system, a conditioned short basement and long list of other sustainable building materials that keep moisture at bay and allow this house to operate with a nearly invisible carbon footprint.

PMG FILE PHOTO - The Antonini family poses for a photo outside their net zero energy home in Lake Oswego's Bryant Neighborhood.

Planning Commission Chair Rob Heape was on-hand for the tour and found Antonini's home quite intriguing. Although there are only about 5,000 net zero homes in the United States, much of the industry is heading in this direction of putting sustainability first.

"It's a serious development trend that I believe is going to rise here in the Portland area," Heape said. "I think it is very important for us as a community to get more familiar with building in this way from a sustainable energy perspective."

For Antonini, building this home was his passion. He relishes any opportunity to tell people about his journey to net zero.

PMG FILE PHOTO - Eric Antonini's home is not only carbon neutral, but beautifully designed incorporating modern architecture with sustainable materials.

"It was a great experience. I was really surprised and impressed with how engaged everyone was," he said. "They asked really smart questions and I did my best to answer them as a novice green builder."

To help usher the conversation along, Antonini also invited friend and green-building expert Alex Boetzel who serves as director of operations and sustainability at Green Hammer.

For approximately two hours, Antonini and Boetzel toured the group around the home, answered questions about best practices and materials, talked about what design code challenges arise in the construction of a net zero home, as well as shared tips and tricks that make a successful green home.

PMG PHOTO: SAM STITES - Alex Boetzel (right) talks about passive house and net zero house standards. Boetzel is director of operations and sustainability at Green Hammer, a Portland-based design/build firm that focsues on making homes that are net zero energy and passive house.

"This was a great opportunity for the planning commission to really get familiar with a net zero development," Heape said. "I think what the commission is really interested in is understanding a net zero development and how the code applies, could it help or hurt, you know, be problematic for a net zero home."

One of the things Heape was most interested in is the cost it takes to get a home to net zero energy. While Antonini's home is on the more luxury end — it's currently for sale and listed by Windermere Realty Trust's Kelsey Williams for $1.47 million — there's many facets of this development that could be applied to home renovations or even new development of multi-family dwellings such as townhomes.

PMG PHOTO: SAM STITES - LO Sustainability Network members Duke and Jan Castle, Planning Commissioners Bill Ward and Randy Arthur listen as Antonini explains how his home wicks moisture and retains heat sustainably.

"I think we gained a good insight of how new development is done, and I'd be interested to see how this can be implemented in existing homes to address some of the concerns from a cost perspective," Heape said.

Heape might not have to wait very long to see how sustainable redevelopment of a home is done — Antonini is planning to purchase a new home and begin his next project of upgrading and renovating it to net zero standards. He plans to keep his family in Lake Oswego and likely the same neighborhood, meaning that his children would likely attend the renovated Lakeridge Middle School — which itself is planned to be net zero ready when it's completed summer 2020. The goal, according to LO Sustainability Network co-founder Duke Castle, is that fundraising efforts will allow for the purchase of solar panels to install at the school in order to make it full net zero capable.

Contact Lake Oswego Review reporter Sam Stites at 503-479-2375 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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