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First solar panels installed at Grow today, one step closer to a zero-carbon community

Grow Community Bainbridge solar powered homesThe first of many solar panels are being installed today on the model homes! These are the first of thousands of panels that will be installed on the homes, apartment buildings and community buildings at Grow, helping us to create a zero-carbon community, with the goal of making all buildings zero-carbon by 2020. If all goes as planned, this will be the largest residential solar community in Washington State. This means that both homeowners and renters at Grow have the opportunity to reduce their overall annual cost of living by paying little or NO energy bills! Imagine that.

The solar package, supplied by BlueFrog Solar, includes all Washington manufactured components: Itek photovoltaic panels – manufactured just 100 miles from here in Bellingham, Washington; APS Microinverters, also locally manufactured in Poulsbo, Washington, and  racking from Sunmodo Corp. in Vancouver, Washington.

Reporting from the Grow Community, our architect, Jonathan Davis of Davis Studio  Architecture & Design, had this to say:

It wasn’t a blue-sky day, but it made it easier on the installers.  When the micro-inverter was plugged in the lights lit up showing we are making power!! [Read more…]

Keeping you in the loop: 5 things taking place on Grow Avenue this week

Wondering what’s happening at the construction site on Grow Avenue this week?

A lot has been happening at the Grow Community construction site this week. You may have noticed how quickly the model homes are going up and been wondering what exactly is going on along Grow Avenue. Read on for your weekly digest of Grow Community construction news and let us know in the comments if you have any questions. [Read more…]

This week at the Grow site: Building energy efficiency (and savings) right into the walls.

A lot has been happening at the Grow Community construction site this week and we want to make sure you’re kept in the loop! Last week we talked about the air barrier being put up on the Aria which left some residents wondering if we were painting all of the homes at Grow black. We know that with a project this size there will be lots of questions
and general curiosity from the community, so read on for your weekly digest of construction updates at the Grow Community and please let us know in the comments if you have any feedback or if there’s anything specific you would like us to address in a future blog post.

Energy Efficiency is the Name of the Game at Grow this Week 

Energy efficiency is about more than turning down the heat.  And we have always said that living at Grow isn’t all about warm beers and cold showers.  While residents will need to be mindful of their energy use in order to achieve net-zero energy in their homes, we have put an incredible amount of thought into how we can design homes that will be inherently energy efficient, and even more than that, homes that will be comfortable. You won’t be chilly in these homes. We promise.

In order to achieve this, it’s necessary to build the savings right into the walls. Creating enough solar energy to power an entire home with the amount of space available on most roofs’ is very difficult, so the goal  [Read more…]

Is Johnny Cash moving to Grow Avenue?

We’ve been getting a lot of questions at the GROW site regarding the new homes being built along Grow Avenue. Mostly, people seem interested in the progress on the site, when the homes are going to be ready for touring, and why they appear to be being painted black and if we plan on leaving them like that. Our Project Manager, Greg Lotakis, laughed and said he thought it looked like Johnny Cash – the infamous ‘Man in Black’ – was moving to the Grow Community.

You might be a little disappointed to learn that the late, great Johnny Cash is not moving to Bainbridge Island. You will, however, be happy to learn that we aren’t planning on building black homes along Grow Avenue, but are instead, in the process of building some of the most energy efficient homes in North America.

What you’re seeing going up on the first model home at the Grow Community is a weather resistant barrier system called Enviro-Dri, created by Tremco. We chose Enviro-Dri, as opposed to more familiar home sheaths like Tyvec, because the product is top in its class for weather resistant barriers and works for the life of your home to remove moisture and fight molds and mildew, an important aspect to home building in the Pacific Northwest.

Each of the three model homes will be constructed using slightly different wall systems and materials.  We will be testing and monitoring each combination for effectiveness and cost efficiency.  The next home will be coated with a similar product called StoGuard Gold Coat.

As we learn more through the application of each of these different products, we will be posting our thoughts and inviting your feedback.  Let us know in the comments if you have any questions or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news and information on the Grow Community project.

The Grow Team.

Wondering What’s Going On at the New Construction Site Along Grow Avenue?

Those of you who have driven by Grow Avenue have seen that we have started construction and may be wondering what we are up to.  We have recently begun construction of three model homes that will be prototypes for the Grow Community. The model homes face Grow Avenue and are intended to showcase the different designs and floor-plans which will be available throughout the site. Construction will be complete and the homes available to tour mid-summer.

Grow is the first endorsedOne Planet Community to build residential homes in the United States. A One Planet Community is built to the highest standards for environmental, economic and social sustainability. One Planet takes development beyond the standards of LEED, requiring not only sustainable building design, but sustainable lifestyle design. The Grow project pays attention to every detail – not only how buildings are built, but how people live in those buildings. We at Asani believe that our built environment affects our health and happiness and are building Grow to reflect our needs as social creatures as well as the needs of the planet.  With solar power on the roof, a garden in the backyard and a car share program on-site, it will not only be easy, but affordable and fun to live a zero-carbon lifestyle at Grow.

To accomplish this, our team has designed incredibly energy efficient homes which will provide residents with an easy way to live a carbon-free lifestyle.  We have worked hard to balance cost considerations with the latest in building systems and technologies. The homes you see under construction just now are model homes that will be used to test not only the various energy-efficient building designs and systems, they will also be used to gather feedback on the home layout and design, as well as the One Planet living concept.

The three homes that will be available for touring in the next couple of months are the Aria, the Ocean and the Everett.The Everett, the largest of the group, is a single-family, 3 bedroom dwelling meant to comfortably house a family.  With a study, a mud room, a playroom and endless storage, this is the perfect family house. The Ocean is an intergenerational home designed for main-floor living with a master suite on the ground floor.  A second master suite and roof-top deck on the second floor make this a flexible house for all different living situations. The Aria, a 2-bedroom single family dwelling with a light footprint, has tons of space and is perfect for a young family.

As these homes go up we will be sharing more about the designs and the thought-process behind the sustainability choices we have made.  We will be sharing our mistakes as well as our successes.  We look forward to an open dialogue as we learn and hope that our efforts will spark new and interesting discussions around sustainable design.

Check back next week for more details on the energy-efficient wall designs being tested at Grow and for general construction updates and progress reports. Let us know if you have any questions, comments or concerns here in the comment section, or onFacebook and Twitter.

The Grow Team