The Orchard Gardens complex consists of several buildings in a campus setting. The Main Building consists of two levels of housing with underground parking and a third level utilized for mechanical space. A ‘Farmhouse’ building houses several residential units as do two ‘Rowhouse’ buildings. A central community building allows for gatherings and functions. The entire project was constructed for low income housing.
Though the project did not apply for the LEED certification process, there were many green elements used in keeping with the LEED goals and process. Structural insulated panel (SIP) roof elements were used where possible for thermal efficiency. BCE worked with the Montana State University Civil Engineering Department research laboratories to specify a minimum of 35% fly ash concrete mix for the community building foundation system. The community building was built out of load bearing straw bale walls which provide the main gravity and lateral load system. BCE also documented and specified the use of recycled materials, regional materials, and FSC certified wood throughout the structural elements.