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SolTerra is creating some of the most green, livable spaces in the world.

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Our press team loves working with journalists around the world to share compelling, unique stories. If you’re a member of the media and would like to talk, please get in touch with the appropriate team or send an email to press@solterra.com

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About Us

SolTerra is a fast-growing award-winning design+build and services firm reconnecting people with nature. We are a progressive, disruptive and adventurous group of talented individuals creating some of the most sustainable, livable, and innovative buildings in the world. The company is making a difference with a growing portfolio of some of the most forward thinking mixed-use buildings in the Pacific Northwest – all targeting LEED Platinum certification.

Originally founded by Brian Heather in 2008 as a residential solar, living wall and green roofing company, SolTerra is now also buying, designing and building mixed-use sustainable structures in Portland and Seattle. The company is disrupting the typical way properties are developed by integrating the entire development process. First, the company buys the land; then in-house architects design mixed-use sustainable structures with unique features, incorporating solar power, living walls and green roofs in its creations. SolTerra employs in-house contractors for construction (concrete, mechanical, electrical & plumbing) and once completed, SolTerra owns and operates the buildings.

SolTerra Systems, a division of SolTerra, is a leader in residential solar sales and customer service, and an established green roof and living wall designer and installer as well. SolTerra received its first patent for VeraWall, an indoor and outdoor modular living wall system based on hydroponic technology. This patent positions the company to set the national standard for designing and building eco-friendly living walls. SolTerra has also launched its own concrete division to allow greater design flexibility and longer lasting, more efficient structures made of insulated concrete form (ICF).

SolTerra’s mission is not only to create environmentally friendly, quality, and affordable spaces and buildings, but to demonstrate that renewable energy and sustainable construction are both feasible and beneficial to individuals and society alike. We create better communities in urban environments and reduce the impact humans have on the environment. We strive to make ecological dreams a reality by changing the world, one building at a time.

In the News

 
09/21/2016
This Seattle Company Wants to Reinvent the Way Cities Work (and It Just Might Succeed)

This Seattle-based Inc. 5000 company goes way beyond solar power.

 
09/19/2016
Sustainable Portland Project Saves Residents 73% On Utility Bills

2016 MFE Awards, Green, Merit: The Woodlawn

 
08/03/2016
Gardening - A sustainable life re-connecting with Nature - BG Life...

Sasha Frate of Face the Current recently visited forward-thinking, award-winning SolTerra for BG Life Magazine, to talk about how living walls (also known as vertical gardens) are making an eco-friendly impact by increasing property value, easing stress and fatigue, improving air quality...

 
07/01/2016
The Cultivated Facade

Facades are a building’s most visible element, and adding plants offers entirely new dimensions of texture, symbolism, and seasonal dynamism.


 
05/18/2016
Oregon Business - 100 Best GreenSnapshot: SolTerra

Oregon Business reveals 8th annual 100 Best Green Workplace rankings. SolTerra one the top candidates.

 
03/18/2016
From Sun to Dirt - and Beyond

Solar panel installer SolTerra becomes developer of cool buildings that target style-conscious green apartment dwellers

 
03/03/2016
Newsmakers 2016: SolTerra

Founder Brian Heather describes his Portland-based business as a design-build firm, but thats just scratching the surface of what the company does.

 
02/29/2016
Living Walls - Not Your Average Houseplant

Whether do-it-yourself or with the help of a botanical company, you can turn a wall of your house into a vertical garden,


 
01/28/2016
Gig Harbor grocery boom includes national experiment

Gig Harbor grocery shoppers are about to see their choices expand, all while participating in an industry experiment that could carry nationwide implications.

 
12/27/2015
DJCs 2016 Newsmakers announced

The Daily Journal of Commerce has announced its list of Newsmakers for 2016.

 
12/23/2015
Solterra is Aiming for Platinum with 60-Unit Complex called Pike

SolTerra, a builder-developer based in Seattle, has just broken ground on its first project here: Pike.

 
10/29/2015
SolTerra president shows PPUNC Green Redesign for 60-unit Pike Building

SolTerra president and cofounder Brian Heather last Tuesday walked the Pike-Pine Urban Neighborhood Council through the many green changes made to Pike, a 60-unit mixed-use apartment building slated for construction on East Pike Street near Belmont Avenue.


 
09/30/2015
Green light given for green building project

Plans for SolTerra's Woods apartment building at 3205 N. Williams Ave. were approved by the Portland Design Commission last week. The building will have a green roof, a rainwater collection system and a 60-foot living wall.

 
09/29/2015
Creative, sustainably minded apartments approved in North Portland

Just a few months after breaking ground on its Portland headquarters in the Central Eastside Industrial District, Seattle design-build firm SolTerra has gotten the go-ahead for a multi-family project in North Portland.

 
09/23/2015
Contractors Corner Podcast: A tea house in the sky, chatting with SolTerra

From a tea house in the sky, to an underground moss museum, Founder and CEO of SolTerra Brian Heather uses story ideas like these to make sustainability visible in his company’s projects. Listen to learn more about the Washington solar company.

 
09/17/2015
Washington's Fastest-Growing Private Companies are hiring

Today we reveal the final 24 companies that comprise Puget Sound Business Journal's 2015 Fastest-Growing Private Companies in Washington List.


 
09/01/2015
Some Entrepreneurs View New Ventures as Children - 425 Business

Running multiple startups takes a lot of dedication and commitment, not unlike raising kids. Entrepreneurs share their view on their similarities.

 
08/13/2015
SolTerra building LEED platinum-designed apartment projects

Earlier this summer, SolTerra began construction for a new LEED Platinum-designed apartment building – Atlas in Newcastle, Washington. The company is a fast-growing design+build firm focused on reconnecting people with nature. SolTerra is creating some of the most sustainable, livable, and innovative mixed-use buildings in the Pacific Northwest. “We are creating cost-effective living spaces for

 
07/29/2015
SolTerra Doubles LEED Platinum-Designed Apartments

SolTerra is doubling the number of multifamily LEED Platinum-designed apartments in the US Pacific Northwest.

 
07/29/2015
Gridiron Condos Breaking Ground; SolTerra Bringing LEED Platinum Apartments to Newscastle

Image: Gridiron from Hewitt STADIUM DISTRICT -- Nobody likes the long walk home after a Seahawks or Mariners game and that's why the Gridiron Condos along Occidental Avenue South...


 
06/19/2015
Work under way on SolTerra Portland Office

SolTerra, in keeping with its tradition of building the most energy-efficient buildings possible, has begun construction of its new headquarters in Portland, at Southeast Ninth Avenue and Division Street.

 
05/28/2015
Design-build firm adding 35,000-square-foot headquarters to Central Eastside - Portland Business Journal

SolTerra breaks ground this week on a five-story building near Southeast Division.

 
05/26/2015
Putting Nature on Display - The Oregonian

SolTerra breaking ground on a five-story, 35,000-square-foot headquarters on Southeast Division Street.

 
04/14/2015
Oregon Officials and Businesses Give Support For Pro-Solar Legislation - GoLocalPDX

Environment Oregon release letter signed by over 100 businesses and 40 local elected officials across Oregon in favor of pro-solar legislation in Salem.


 
02/25/2015
North Williams apartments; development roundup - OregonLive.com

We're tracking proposed and in-the-works development across the metro area.

 
05/30/2013
Smart 25 Award Winners Announced - Globe Newswire

B2B CFO and Morgan Stanley Wealth Management recently announcedthe 2013 "Smart 25 Award" winners. The winners were honored at aformal awards ceremony and dinner reception that took place atDisneyland's Stage 17 on April 26. Now in its second year, theSmart 25 Awards program honors privately-held, growth-drivenbusinesses across the nation for their contributions to the USeconomy.

 
09/14/2012
Brian Heather: 2012 40 Under 40 Honoree - Puget Sound Business Journal

For homes built or upgraded with green efficiencies, its often said that the initial investment is the majority of the cost, while the rest flows e ...

 
07/09/2010
Eco-roofs could keep solar panels cooler - Daily Journal of Commerce Oregon

As hot summer weather heats up Portland rooftops, Portland State University researchers are studying whether eco-roofs can increase the efficiency of solar panels through cooling.

Press Releases

SolTerra Recognized for Providing Jobs and Clean Energy in the Pacific Northwest

The Solar Power World Top 500 Solar Contractors List includes Seattle-based solar firm

SolTerra Wins National Award from US Green Building Council

The Woodlawn named Project of the Year in Annual Recognition of Projects and Developers Leading the Residential Market for Sustainable Development

Three Non-Profits Competing to Win Free Solar Energy in Rap Music Contest

Solar giveaway rap finalists include an Eastside homeless family center, organic farming group and the Duwamish Tribe.

SolTerra Donating a $25,000 Solar Energy System

Write a Rap Song to Win a Free Solar Installation from SolTerra - Deadline May 31st

Faq’s

What is SolTerra?

SolTerra is a sustainability-focused real estate development and services firm reconnecting people to nature. We envision a future in which everyone in the world is able to live a sustainable life, more connected to nature. The company is making a difference with a growing portfolio of some of the most forward thinking mixed-use buildings in the Pacific Northwest – all targeting LEED Platinum certification.

How did the company start?

SolTerra owns, designs, builds and manages sustainable mixed-use residential and commercial structures in the Pacific Northwest. SolTerra was originally founded by Brian Heather in 2008 as a residential solar, living wall and green roofing company. SolTerra Systems is known as one of the top green designers in the region.

Where is the company located?

We are headquartered in Seattle.

How is SolTerra able to build these high-efficient, sustainable apartments?

SolTerra builds sustainable structures efficiently. We achieve this through the combination of responsibility and control that is derived through our build and development model and the creation of proprietary software and innovative construction means and methods. SolTerra's construction team creates unique buildings in urban environments that enables people to connect with nature each and every day.

What is SolTerra Systems?

SolTerra Systems provides people with the most cost-effective solar installations, living walls and sustainable green roofs throughout Oregon and Washington. We are an award-winning, rapidly growing team of talented individuals. Several of our products, such as VeraWall, have patents or are patent-pending.

How does solar power work?

Solar panels collect sun rays and convert them to an electrical current. Solar electricity is what is called DC current and our homes are run off of AC current, so an inverter is needed to switch the DC to AC. After the inverter the electricity is connected through a breaker on the electrical panel in the home. If the home needs the electricity, it will be consumed on site. If there is excess, it will be fed back to the utility grid, the meter will run backwards, and the power goes back to the utility.

Why should I invest in solar power for my home?

There are many reasons to invest in solar! Solar is a sustainable form of electricity, as the sun does not have a limited capacity. It is a great technology to make use of otherwise unusable space ie- rooftops, awnings etc. It is a great way to gain independence from a utility and to hedge against future rate increases. Solar power also contributes to national energy independence. It is a great investment in your home and your community and has a positive impact. It also can be a great fuel source for an EV or plug in hybrid. The list goes on…

How much money will I save with a solar power system?

It depends on the size of your system. When SolTerra works with a home or business owner, we create customized proposals that will specifically show short term incentives and long term savings. There are different types of panel manufacturers and different incentive structures depending on location, so savings will vary on multiple factors. Our average solar installation will cover anywhere from 20% to 100% of an average home’s electric consumption.

How long does an installation take?

Solar panels are warranted for 25 years and have a life expectancy of 30 to 50 years. The inverter life expectancy depends on the inverter technology. Most inverters have 10 year warranties and as long as the inverter is a high quality manufacturer, life expectancy on the inverter is 10 – 15 years. There are several micro inverter technologies that offer 25 year warranties. For SolTerra, the specification of the inverter is custom to each customer as well.

Are all solar panels the same?

Definitely not! Many people compare the wattage of panels and assume that all 280 watt panels are equal. The quality of the solar cells, as well as the manufacturing process, is very important in solar panel output. In the end, our customers care about the kWh (kilowatt hour) production of their system, not the name plate rating, because the kWh’s are what equate to environmental and financial impact.

How long will my solar electric system last?

Solar panels are warranted for 25 years and have a life expectancy of 30 to 50 years. The inverter life expectancy depends on the inverter technology. Most inverters have 10 year warranties and as long as the inverter is a high quality manufacturer, life expectancy on the inverter is 10 – 15 years. There are several micro inverter technologies that offer 25 year warranties. For SolTerra, the specification of the inverter is custom to each customer as well.

Why choose SolTerra over other companies?

SolTerra is a key player in the Pacific Northwest solar market. We have been installing custom solar since 2008 and have seen significant growth each year. A high percentage of our new clients are referrals from past customers, which is a testament to both our quality and customer experience. In addition, SolTerra is a diversified company. Not only do we design and install solar energy systems, we also install green roof and living wall systems, and we are a fully-licensed electrical contractor. We have expanded into complete building design and development, which gives our company financial independence from potential changes in the solar market. We will be able to service our clients well beyond any incentive end dates.

What is a living wall?

A living wall is an internal or external vertical garden. SolTerra uses an in house developed and patented system called VeraWall, an innovative modular, lightweight system, to install turn key living wall systems.

What are the benefits to creating a living wall for my home or business?

There are many benefits to living walls, including making use of an empty space, improved air quality, noise reduction and building protection. Read more here - http://solterrasystems.com/living-walls/benefits/

How does a living wall work?

Living walls incorporate plants with little or no soil placed in pockets attached to a support structure. The roots of the wall eventually expand out of the pocket and the geo-textiles become interwoven with the roots of the plants. Irrigation is built into the structure of the living wall system for interior walls and for some exterior walls.

What is a green roof?

A green roof, often referred to as living roofs, garden roofs, or eco-roofs, are essentially a roof that is in part, or completely covered with a growing medium and vegetation. Beyond their aesthetic appeal, green roofs also provide a number of money saving and environmental benefits.

Why should I consider installing a green roof for my home or business?

There are many reasons to install a green roof. Some of the most common reasons for a green roof include storm water management and mitigation, longer roof life, and creating a more beautiful and usable roof space. Read more here - http://solterrasystems.com/green-roofs/

What type of plants are in a green roof?

A green roof can accommodate any type of plant, as long as the initial design allows for it. Larger plants require greater growing media (soil) depths. The most common green roof will include sedums grasses and wildflowers.

How does a green roof work?

A green roof consists of a waterproof membrane, an inorganic layer for drainage and separation, and an organic layer of growing media and plants. The design of a green roof is very important for the longevity of the roof and the composition of the growing media is the most important piece of the design.

What is SolTerra Cities?

SolTerra Cities is designing and building beautiful, super-green, mixed-use apartments in urban environments. Our buildings connect people to nature, build community and create long-term, positive impact on our planet.

What is different about SolTerra properties?

SolTerra is rethinking how “green” apartments are built. From the day we begin designing a structure, we focus on sustainability. We’re passionate about bringing nature to the urban environment, with the ultimate goal of creating a lasting impact that reduces our carbon footprint. By designing each building to meet stringent environmental criteria, we ensure the highest level of quality and sustainability in our buildings. We are building a legacy with properties that care for our planet and people.

What does LEED Platinum mean?

LEED refers to Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, which is a green building certification program that verifies a building or neighborhood’s green features—everything from energy efficiency and water conservation to non-toxic materials and access to daylight. LEED is the most widely used green building rating system in the world. LEED Platinum is the highest, most efficient standard a building can meet. SolTerra targets LEED Platinum for all its new apartment buildings to maximize health and financial benefits for tenants. On average, platinum buildings consume 30% less energy, have 15 – 20% lower operating costs and have 27% higher occupant satisfaction than average buildings.

How are you able to build green, affordable apartments?

We reach unparalleled efficiency through managing the “end-to-end” process of the entire capital development, design, build, and management of SolTerra properties. SolTerra Cities provides a tremendous payback for the environment, society and our investors.

Where are you building these energy efficient apartments?

Today, we have more than 12 properties in Portland and Seattle. One building is fully leased, another one is about to open and others are at various stage of the design process.

How can I rent a SolTerra apartment?

The Woodlawn and Brooklyn Yard, both located in Portland, are currently available for rent. Cove, located in Seattle, will be available late Spring 2017. Contact leasing@solterra.com to schedule a tour or be placed on a waiting list for our apartments as they become available.

How many properties do you own?

You can find a list of our projects underway at www.solterra.com/cities.

How can I invest in SolTerra?

If you are an accredited investor interested in joining our sustainable approach to urban living, you can contact James Wong at jwong@solterra.com.

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