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When Daniel Lajoie founded Departure Architecture in 2002, he did so with an eye toward building sustainable homes that incorporated green building practices and making “better built” homes. He believes that we must rethink home design concepts to ensure that our communities and our planet remain viable for future generations. 


He became certified as a LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP) and a Sustainable Home Professional (SHP) by Earth Advantage, confirming his practical knowledge and dedication to the process of creating eco-friendly and sustainable buildings.

NW Sustainable Home Design Brown Wood Exterior

"Sustainability is such an everything subject for me, starting from the big steps all the way to the small details."

stone and wood deck bridge nw artisan architecture


A sustainable home embodies the principles of resource efficiency, reducing the disruptive use of land, water, and energy, and creating design and construction processes that maximize durability and savings and provide comfort. 

Dan keeps in mind strategies that reduce both the consumption of natural resources and the negative effects that the built environment has on the home’s residents and the surrounding community. Incorporating these principles from the very beginning of the design process maximizes the green potential of your home and assures the viability of your economic and environmental objectives.


"Ranging from very deep green and zero energy design solutions down to lesser green solutions, we look to use sustainable design principles, materials, and systems very early in the process and move them forward throughout."


While it is true that some high-performance green materials with higher-efficiency building systems have a larger upfront cost, that does not mean that building a sustainable home must break your budget. In fact, the opposite has been found to be true. 


For example, some high-performance windows and types of insulation involve a higher first outlay, but the resulting reduction in your monthly utility bills offsets the additional costs. You’ll enjoy a higher comfort level while reducing your impact on the environment, resulting in long-term savings overall.

New home design energy efficient home with windows and slanted roof.
Person looking at granite kitchen counter samples


The careful selection of building materials that are environmentally friendly is an important step while designing your home. There are numerous choices in the marketplace for insulation, windows, and doors, and Dan can help you pick out the appropriate ones to make your home more energy efficient with greater comfort. 


Dan often works with reclaimed wood and metal, plywood, and VOC-free (volatile organic compounds) products to reduce your carbon footprint and allow your home to do much of the work to maintain energy efficiency. He can also suggest materials and design catchment and conveyance systems that collect and reclaim rainwater. 


You want to take into consideration the property and its surroundings when approaching the design of your home. Dan will perform a site analysis and create a floor plan that takes advantage of every detail (the sun’s movements, an adjoining forest, and other features) to create a thermal envelope that avoids high heating and cooling bills and prevents turning your home into a heat island. 

Front view of sustainabilty built wood and glass home.
tile and glass bathroom accessible ADA


Dan was a pioneer in the design and construction of accessory dwelling units (ADUs) to address an important part of his philosophy — that we need to do more infill in our urban spaces, rededicating open spaces on properties for the construction of small homes that feel big. He specializes in creating intimate, intricate ADUs that maximize the value of every cubic inch.


Departure Architecture integrates responsible, thoughtful design solutions into your new home through:


  • Improved thermal performance of the exterior envelope

  • Building orientation

  • Window area and placement

  • Using eco-friendly building materials

  • Adequate indoor air quality

  • Use of natural light

  • Designing with integrated teams and systems

  • Reuse, recycle, recommissioning

  • Thoughtful water conservation and usage

Living room setting with energy efficient fireplace.
Gravel Road into the Forest




Performance based on 5 pillars - energy, health, land, materials, and water — provides homeowners with peace of mind, better indoor air quality, reduced cost of homeownership, year-round comfort, and durability.


In the Portland area, certifications are coordinated alongside Earth Advantage:

  • Passive House US standards (PHIUS +)

  • Zero Energy Design

  • Zero Energy Ready Design

  • Energy Performance Scores

  • Living Building Challenge

  • LEED for Homes

  • Energy Star Certified New Homes

  • HERS Index - The Residential Energy Network (RESNET) Home Energy Rating System

  • Green Seal

  • Biophilic Design


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