Sunlight Solar Breaks Ground on New Net Zero Energy Headquarters in Bend’s Up-and-Coming Central District

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(Rendering | Courtesy of Stemach Design & Architecture)

Long-term Bend-based solar electric company Sunlight Solar Energy (SSE) has broken ground on its new net zero energy headquarters at 150 NE Hawthorne Avenue in the Bend Central District (BCD). SSE is a solar electric, EV charging and battery back-up design and installation company with five offices nationwide in Oregon, Colorado, Massachusetts and Connecticut.

“I have always loved the central Bend area,” said Paul Israel, president of Sunlight Solar Energy. “It is the nexus between the east and west sides of town and has easy access to downtown Bend.” Israel said he is particularly excited about this location because the Bend City Council has just passed a $180 million transportation bond measure that will go to the voters on the May ballot.  The bond — if passed — includes measures for the Bend Central District. “Sunlight Solar has an interest in seeing the Bend Central District flourish, and we see this as an excellent opportunity,” he said. “We have folks coming from both sides of town to work here, and it also opens up potential for leasable space from businesses on both sides.”

Moey Newbold, coordinator for the grassroots BCD Initiative, said, “Everyone is so excited for positive changes to take place in the BCD, and I couldn’t be more pleased that Sunlight Solar is developing a key property on Hawthorne Avenue. “With its long Bend history and cutting-edge energy vision for the future of Bend, Sunlight Solar is the perfect developer to be a pioneer in creating a vibrant mixed-use neighborhood in this severely under-loved area.” Newbold’s efforts are to build momentum and support for the Bend Central District’s transformation into a vibrant, healthy and resilient mixed-use neighborhood (BCD Initiative, www.BCDinitiative.org).

“The City of Bend is developing an improvement plan to make the area get better for walkers and bikers. What’s missing now is a safe and comfortable way to cross the US 97 Parkway and railroad to Downtown,” said Newbold. “The Citywide Transportation System Planning process and the Core Area committee have identified improvements to Midtown Crossings (at Franklin and Greenwood avenues) and a new connection at Hawthorne Avenue as key infrastructure needed to bridge east and west Bend.

The new 14,000-square-foot, two-story Sunlight Solar building will serve as the company’s home and will also house leasable office spaces. Sunlight Solar will occupy about half of the building, and the rest will be available for lease. “We have spaces ranging from 500 to 5,000 square feet. It is build-to-suit and excellent for progressive commercial businesses such as engineering and professional firms and those who like to bike to work,” said Israel.

The expected completion date is summer 2020. The building will be powered by at least 30,000 watts of solar electric panels, which are estimated to produce 100 percent of the yearly electricity used by the building. The energy-efficient design will surpass state energy codes and be built to net zero guidelines. (Generally speaking, a zero-energy building produces enough renewable energy to meet its own annual energy consumption requirements, thereby reducing the use of nonrenewable energy in the building sector.) The facility will also house multiple electric vehicle charging spaces. The building will showcase the latest in energy-efficiency design, including insulation of the foundation, passive solar design, solar awnings, triple-glazed windows and high-efficiency heating and cooling systems that will surpass current state code.

“Sunlight Solar is leading the way for Bend’s future,” said Newbold. “It is the first new construction to be built under the Bend Central District’s urban code overlay, and the design will improve the built environment by orienting the front door to the street with parking behind the building. That might not seem like a very big deal, but returning to the more traditional ‘Main Street’ style of development improves health outcomes and a community’s sense of place. We look forward to welcoming this locally owned, sustainable business to the neighborhood!”

“The City asked us to bring the building proud to the street, which reduces the need for cars,” said Israel. “We’re super excited, because if the pedestrian and bike lane that would go over the parkway is approved by voters, it will create a great pedestrian and bike corridor for everyone.” The construction of the Hawthorne/Midtown Crossing was included in the $180 million dollar bond that will go to the voters. “This could really create a wonderful community environment here in Central Bend,” added Israel. “We want people working and living in this area.” To enhance the sense of community in the area, Sunlight Solar will encourage biking and walking for its employees. Based on the National www.walkscore.com website, the site has a “75 or Very Walkable” score and an “85 Very Bikeable” score.

Property Developer and Owner of the neighboring commercial lot, Kurt Petrich of Petrich Properties, added, “The Sunlight Solar name has been an undisputed leader in the energy development of Bend from their original location at 4 NW Franklin — in the same neighborhood — to this new property. All of Bend needs more net-zero energy commercial buildings,” he said.

For more information contact Paul Israel at paul@sunlightsolar.com.

 

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