Green housing initiatives are taking off across the nation, with the Pacific Northwest leading the way in energy-efficient design. One vacation home in Portland, Oregon represents this trend perfectly, sending just as much energy back into the grid as it consumes, all while welcoming a steady stream of new guests.

Portland's Eco-Friendly O2 Haus

Yes, the “O2 Haus” encompasses design elements that not only make it cozy and inviting as a vacation rental, but also net-zero in energy consumption. That’s not an easy feat to accomplish — especially when you consider the massive amounts of energy that other vacation homes burn through while heating, cooling, and supporting the overall electronic load.

The charming front entrance to Portland's ultra-sustainable O2 Haus

Heated mostly by the sun and energy produced by daily household activities, the O2 Haus system is backed up with solar panels to gather power for the limited energy that it does consume. A heat-recovery system collects heat, filters the air, and disperses it equally throughout the home to offer a comfortable environment in every room without any hot or cold pockets, while a highly-efficient heat pump accommodates the water heating needs.

The house is built on a concrete slab installed over nine inches of EPS foam insulation (R-36). Inside, the walls are framed with 2 x 8s and packed with blown-in cellulose, though they are also insulated on the outside with four inches of rigid polyisocyanurate foam insulation (R-52). Triple-pane windows add to the insulation value for maximum efficiency, with remote-powered exterior shades further helping with temperature management. Custom exterior doors with Vacuum Insulated Panels complete the framework for this ultra-efficient space, which boasts an impressively low heating load of only 4,500 Btu/h.

Inside Portland's ultra-sustainable O2 Haus vacation rental.
Inside Portland's ultra-sustainable O2 Haus vacation rental.

Natural materials fill the house to further support the sustainable design. All its counters are quartz, while flooring materials include reclaimed hardwood and concrete. Tile backsplashes and translucent glass cabinets add to the organic aesthetic.

The kitchen inside the ultra-sustainable O2 Haus vacation rental.

All of these thoughtful earth-friendly systems enhance the upscale home without sacrificing an ounce of comfort. The O2 Haus also houses three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a single-car garage, and 1,650 square feet to maneuver. The landscaped front yard features a paver stone patio surrounded by a thoughtful design incorporating native, drought-resistant plants that are watered by a rain chain. Other features include a sunset balcony, a lofted dining and living room, a modern kitchen with an induction stove, heated towel racks, a charcoal barbecue, broadband Wi-Fi, and a private backyard.

Designed by PDX Living, the Portland house sold before it was even built, and it now offers a private room for rent through AirBnB, making it the perfect solution for the sustainable traveler. The nightly rate averages $65 and includes access to the shared spaces in the house and a light breakfast.

The bathroom inside the ultra-sustainable O2 Haus vacation rental.
The kitchen inside the ultra-sustainable O2 Haus vacation rental.

Thanks to its reclaimed materials and solid floorplan, the O2 Haus has earned Passive House certification as one of the most energy-efficient homes in the world, having been recognized by a slew of publications for the achievement.

“The 7 Best Airbnb Rentals in Portland, Oregon” — Travel+Leisure

“10 Amazing New Homes” — Portland Monthly

“The Houses That Could Save the World” — Politico

“Net-Zero Success Story” — Solar Oregon

“15 EcoFriendly Airbnbs for under $150” — GlobeIn

“Best Portland Airbnb Rentals” — News Ledge

“Houses that Matter: Inside a Bold New Era of Portland Architecture” — Portland Monthly

“It’s Easy Being Green” — Airbnb Pick