Going Green at Columbia Heights

This story is being reprinted with permission from Peace Health. 

Back in August, Mercy Housing Northwest and Peace Health celebrated the grand opening of Columbia Heights in Vancouver, WA.

Columbia Heights offers 69 affordable homes for families in Vancouver, Washington. The property features a spacious community room with a kitchen, computer lab, and outdoor recreation space with walking paths, seating areas, and a playground. Two-thirds of the apartment homes are two and three-bedroom apartments, helping meet the critical need for affordable, family-sized housing in Southwest Washington.

Beyond being a wonderful and beautiful place to raise a family, Columbia Heights is a green community. All affordable housing projects in Washington must be built to meet Evergreen Sustainable Building Standards (ESDS). Columbia Heights exceeds those standards in many areas.

“We want our communities to be welcoming, healing places that are comfortable for people of all ages and abilities. Prioritizing indoor air quality and eliminating greenhouse gas emissions is a small but important step we can take to advance our mission to transform lives through housing,” explains Chris Bendix, Mercy Housing Northwest Project Developer. “With more extreme weather events happing regularly, it’s important that we do everything we can to build resilient communities, and that work starts with how we build.”

Below are some ways in which Columbia Heights meets the strictest green building standards.

  • The community is 100% electric and uses no natural gas
  • The entire complex uses low-power LEDs in all fixtures and lights
  • The roof of the building features an 80kW solar array that fully powers the community laundry room, staff offices, IT, fire alarms, and parking lot lighting
  • All appliances are Water-Sense certified and all apartments have low-flow toilets and showers
  • Each apartment has an air system that keeps air moving to help prevent stale air that can lead to molds, mildews, and stuffy odors.
  • Landscaping features native plants, natural materials such as stone and wood-framed windowsills, wood handrails, and banisters