Uptown apartment project earns LEED Silver

Cascadia Development Partners apartment project is first in Clark County to achieve LEED certification

The Uptown apartments
The Uptown apartment project in downtown Vancouver is the first apartment project in Clark County to receive LEED certification. Photo by Joanna Yorke/VBJ

In an effort to be more environmentally responsible to the community and the residents of The Uptown apartments in downtown Vancouver, the folks at Cascadia Development Partners, LLC felt it necessary to pursue a LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification.

After implementing several specific measures to achieve LEED certification for the project, The Uptown achieved LEED Silver certification on May 14. And, based on research of other LEED projects in Clark County, it appears that The Uptown is the first and only midrise multifamily project in Clark County, and the first apartment project in Clark County to be LEED certified, said Morgan Jackson, development coordinator for Cascadia.

“We didn’t know (we would be the only ones) when we pursued the LEED certification for the project,” said David Copenhaver, president of Cascadia Development Partners. “We pursued the certification for the tenants; we knew it would be an attractive marketing tool and also kind of a community enhancement project. We thought it was important to pursue a LEED project; it was kind of surprising to find out we’re the only ones.”

The Uptown was completed and delivered to the rental market in Clark County in mid February of this year. The Uptown is a six-story, mixed-use project that includes 167 rental dwelling units, 8,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and underground parking. The project spans one city block in the heart of the Uptown district of downtown Vancouver at Main Street and McLoughlin.

Copenhaver said The Uptown offers several different floor plans, including studios; one bedroom, one bathroom; one bedroom with a den and a bathroom; and two bedrooms, one bathroom.

In order to achieve the LEED Silver certification, Jackson said they took numerous specific measures with the project, including:

  • Prohibition of tropical woods, unless FSC-certified or reclaimed
  • Responsible construction practices with local contractors and local production
  • Non-toxic pest control measures
  • Use of water-efficient drip irrigation and usage of plants native to the area
  • Placing of 54 secure, covered bike storage spaces onsite
  • LED lighting and energy efficient plumbing fixtures throughout
  • ENERGY STAR appliances
  • Centrally located water heating system
  • 15. 8 percent energy cost savings compared with ASHRAE 90.1-2007 through efficient thermal enclosure
  • 53 percent demolition waste diverted from the landfill
  • Smoking prohibited throughout the building
  • Situated in a highly walk-able environment with a variety of amenities within close proximity
  • Low emissions
  • Continued energy efficiency operations training

“Several of our residents have talked about how low their utility costs have been,” Jackson said.

Projects pursuing LEED certification earn points across several categories, including energy use and air quality. Based on the number of points achieved, a project then earns one of the four LEED rating levels: Certified, Silver, Gold or Platinum.

“Each level gets more difficult to achieve,” Copenhaver said. “Silver is a strong LEED certification, and it did cost us some extra money to achieve that. That level of certification helps with marketability and community enhancement, and we wanted the residents to feel happy and comfortable living there.”

According to The Uptown project page on the Cascadia Development Partners website, the total project cost was $42 million. Copenhaver said that part of being sustainable with the project included using local companies and teams to complete the project. Cascadia worked with LSW Architects and Robertson & Olson Construction on The Uptown project, just to name a few of the local companies that collaborated.

Copenhaver said they haven’t determined yet if Cascadia will pursue more LEED certifications for current projects the company is working on.

“We’re contemplating that,” Copenhaver said. “We haven’t made a decision yet on The Esther or The Quinn (two other projects that Cascadia currently has in the works). We hope that other properties will pursue environmentally conscious projects inside the downtown corridor.”

For more specifics on The Uptown apartments such as rental rates, availability and floor plans, visit https://www.theuptownapartments.com/.

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Joanna Yorke is the managing editor of the Vancouver Business Journal. She has worked in the journalism field since 2010 after graduating from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University in Pullman. Yorke worked at The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground for six years and then worked at and helped start ClarkCountyToday.com.