Pringle Creek Cottage, the first of 179 sustainable homes in Salem, Ore.’s Pringle Creek Community, is one of only five certified LEED Platinum homes in the country. That feat, and the fact that the home was completed within four months, doesn’t strike architect James Meyer as particularly unusual.

“This isn’t scary stuff,” says Meyer. “You can build a very green production house. Within the boundaries of that, you can decide how green you want [it to be]. But a baseline sustainability can indeed be found in a 1,400-square-foot production house.”

Simple in form (and therefore easy to build and easy to insulate), the home achieves significant energy savings through natural lighting and ventilation, a geothermal heat pump system, and solar roof panels. Because every design element had the potential to ­affect the energy efficiency of the home, design strategies had to have multiple benefits. “There’s more daylight in the house, the air is fresher, it’s healthier, and it’s more comfortable,” says Meyer. “This is not about compromising."

CATEGORY: Production/Semi-custom, less than 2,000 square feet
ENTRANT/ARCHITECT: Opsis Architecture, Portland, Ore.
BUILDER: Bilyeu Homes, Salem, Ore.
DEVELOPER: Sustainable Development, Salem

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Portland, OR, Salem, OR.