Building a Green Community Makes the Green in Washington

Building a Green Community Makes the Green in Washington

Going green has really paid off for one Washington Coast community; it sold out in a matter of months. Now, it’s expanding.

 

The Grow Community is one of only ten in the world and the second in the U.S. to be endorsed by Bioregional’s One Planet Communities, an international green organization.

“We chose the Grow Community because it had big ambitions to really advance sustainable new housing in a holistic way,” says Nicholas Schoon, policy manager at Bioregional.

The Grow Community was developed by the Asani Group and is being built in three phases by PHC Construction. The first phase was finished in October 2014 with 23 single-family homes and 20 high volume units. Single-family homes range from 1,000 to 1,600-square-feet, and apartments can be as large as 1,100-square-feet.

Reachable only by Ferry, the community is located on Bainbridge Island, which is directly off Washington State’s coast. It offers net-zero homes that are solely powered by solar panels.

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Exterior of 3 homes at the Grow Community
Exterior of homes at the Grow Community. Photo: Dylan Sievertson

Conservation Over Automation

Since these are green production-style homes, Asani decided not to include automation as standard. Instead, it put a heavier focus on energy-efficient tech.

“We are trying to heat and cool as efficiently as possible using air-to-air heat pump systems coupled with an efficient heat recovery system,” says Greg Lotakis, project manager with Asani and PHC Construction.

Each home currently houses rooftop solar. Additional community solar arrays have also been installed to make the Grow Community the largest planned solar community in Washington.

Awards and Goals

The community was awarded the 2015 Best in Green Development award from the National Association of Homebuilders, and was honored with Built Green’s Green Hammer award in September.

Builders are not done striving for even greener goals. They want to achieve net-zero carbon by 2020.

“These builders are really enthusiastic about getting other builders to build greener. It’s no longer a zero sum game for them anymore,” says Built Green program manager Leah Missik.

Eight homes have already been surveyed for energy use, and six of them are currently are performing better than net-zero.

Single-family homes range from 1000 to 1600 square-feet
Single-family homes range from 1000 to 1600 square-feet. Photo: Anthony Rich

Selling the Idea of Green Living 

Barely anyone in the community owns a car. They instead take part in a community car-sharing program, where electric car charging stations use solar arrays to power the vehicles.

Green living is not just about tech. Shared gardens and bike paths are also scattered around the Grow Community to link it with the rest of the island.

“We are building homes, but we are also building the opportunity for a tighter community. It’s really interesting to see how they’ve made the community their own,” says Lotakis.

Biggest Takeaway for Builders

The biggest takeaway of the Grow Community is that it proves there’s an eager market for green technology.

 In just six months, all 43 residential units sold out, indicating that homebuyers want an environmentally conscious home.

And the community is expanding. Phase two, which is in progress now, will add 50 additional units. A third phase will add even more, and by early 2016 there will be at least 140 net-zero homes for homebuyers to choose from.

 

About The Author

Michael Black is a staff writer and content coordinator at TecHome Builder. He has a particular interest in new solar developments and smart energy systems and is always looking for the next smart home trend to cover. As the youngest member of the TecHome team, Michael brings a passion that keeps the team energized. He also is instrumental in leading our social media efforts.

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