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Grow ‘hits the Easy button’ for sustainability

It takes a lot of work to make sustainability simple.

But making the choice of a low-impact lifestyle easy for buyers was the goal at Grow Community from the very start.

In an article titled “We Only Have One Planet,” Reserve Magazine explores the history of Washington’s largest planned solar community, and the thoughtful features that have earned it the prestigious One Planet Living certification.

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“We wanted to hit the Easy button for people,” Asani President Greg Lotakis tells the magazine, “so they could get in and just focus on the things we can’t control, which are creating community, enjoying community and enjoying each other.”

Leading elements of Grow’s high-performing homes include rooftop solar arrays, airtight construction and insulation, and nontoxic construction materials, among other low-impact features. Grow homes use 30 to 40 percent less water than a typical Pacific Northwest home, the magazine notes.

It all adds up to a formula for sustainable, intergenerational living. Grow does the hard work, so residents can get on with the fun stuff: living.

“This idea that we can start to create places where generations share space, where elders pass along wisdom, where you have children who are being looked after by friends or grandparents and where young couples or single folks get a chance to live in a community where there’s a mix of support — to us, it’s a recipe for success in the future,” Greg says.

Read the whole story online here.

One planet, one community, and one goal: a new model for sustainable living.

Grow Community was founded on the principles of One Planet Living, proving that from design and construction to the choices we make as neighbors, we can live within the productive capacity of the earth.

How are we doing? Find out in our “One Planet Annual Verification Report,” now available for download HERE.   Bio_BioOPL_Colour_RGB_A-01

It’s Grow’s report on itself, a self-assessment of our progress toward Health and Happiness, Local Food and Sustainable Water, Culture, and other key indicators of a forward-thinking community.

1planet-reportDid you know:

  • 85 percent of Grow residents say they’re walking more, and 31 percent are biking more, since joining our community
  • More than 65 percent participate in our bountiful shared garden program
  • Every resident in our first neighborhood, the Village, has invested in a home solar system, making Grow the largest planned solar community in Washington State – and still growing as our next two neighborhoods build out!

We’re proud of our success so far, and will strive with our residents to meet the goals of One Planet Living. It’s built into Grow Community by design, and comes with the lifestyle.

Download and read the report HERE, and find out more about what Grow has to offer the earth, and you.

Happy Earth Day from Grow Community

We don’t inherit the earth from our ancestors, the Native American proverb goes, we borrow it from our children.

The wellbeing of our planet and the quality of life that we’ll leave to future generations is what Grow Community is all about.

Grow-village-kids1Every facet of our design, planning and construction asks a simple question: How can we build a healthier, more sustainable community?

The success of our first neighborhood, the Village, says we’re finding the right answers. Now, as work progresses on our next two phases, the Grove and the Park, word is really getting around.

Over this past year, we were honored to present the community at the Northwest Eco-Building Guild Green Building Slam event.  The Urban Land Institute made Grow a prominent waypoint on its roadmap to healthy neighborhoods, the excellent “Building Healthy Places Toolkit.” And we were featured in the new eco-focused publication Conscious Company.

As we reached 100 percent solar participation among our single-family homes in the Village, Solar Builder magazine named Grow one of the nation’s top residential solar installations, and we were named 2014 Home of the Year by Green Builder Magazine.

Perhaps the best accolade of all came from the National Association of Home Builders, who gave Grow its very highest honors – the prestigious Platinum Award and Best In Green Award in the 2014 Best In American Living contest.

We think we’re really on to something – a new model for healthy, sustainable urban living, one that offers the template for new neighborhoods and multi-generational living around the country and the globe.

We’re thinking ahead, and we’re thinking big. At Grow Community, we know we borrow the earth from our children – and we want to return it to them, with interest.

From all of us at Grow Community, Happy Earth Day!
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As the saying goes: We all live downstream

That’s literally true for the rich sea life of Eagle Harbor and Puget Sound. Sediments and other runoff from land can have a harmful effect on their ecosystem, smothering fish eggs, increasing ocean acidity, or carrying heavier pollution (like plastics) into their — our —  precious waters.

So as we continue site work for Grow phase 2, we’re making sure we don’t send any pollutants off into the harbor.

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We’ve commissioned “Rain for Rent,” an innovative, portable filtration system that captures and treats our runoff before it leaves the work site. The process looks like this:

First, water is channeled across the entire site and into a large sediment pond at the south end of the grounds. After heavy rains and once the water level reaches a certain point, our “pond” is pumped into the treatment system.

Then the blue “Rain for Rent” tanks run the site water through sand filters that remove sediment and pollutants, and balance pH levels to assure the water we finally discharge is cleaner than what landed on our site to begin with.

With Eagle Harbor less than a mile downstream from our several-acre worksite, we’re committed to giving it all the protection it deserves. After all, lives are at stake.

 

 

Community spirit bring a bumper harvest at Grow Community

Posted to BioRegional Blog
September 26, 2014

Grow resident Ron Kaplan shares how self-sufficiency and community spirit have come together for a bumper harvest at Grow Community, as edibles sprout up in time for Local & Sustainable Food month.
Grow-gardens

Edibles in the new Bainbridge Island neighborhood are sprouting up in time for Local and Sustainable Food month, even amongst the native landscaping. On one footpath, tomatoes grow side by side with fronded ferns. “Only in the Northwest, huh?” says Ron Kaplan, a resident of the uber-green development now taking shape a short ferry ride across Puget Sound from downtown Seattle. Grow Community’s first neighborhood – dubbed the Village, one of three phases in a planned 8-acre project – was designed to reflect and promote sustainability at every turn. Rooftop solar provides much of the power for each home, while the residents share bicycles to reach merchants and services in nearby Winslow town center.

The One Planet Living principles so foundational to the project encourage the sharing of locally grown, organic food. So the signature stroke for both self-sufficiency and a communitarian spirit may be the neighborhood P-patch gardens that nestle amongst the close-knit, architecturally arresting homes. Autumn finds the first three designated gardens a veritable cornucopia overflowing with onions, pumpkins, spinach, peas, eggplant, kale, chard, exotic herbs and other delectables. Grapes and other vine fruits hang from trellises in the wings.

The neighborhood organized a community potluck in late August to celebrate the bounty — and the shared endeavor it represents. “There was a lot of good food, all based on vegetables from the gardens,” Kaplan says. “And it was another excuse for people to get together.” The gardeners are still finding a certain equilibrium between their own tastes and the collective palate. The recent harvest produced a surfeit of beans and squash, says Kaplan, confessing his own complicity in a bumper crop of fiery hot peppers. But any excess just gets carted up the street to Helpline House, the local food bank.

“It wasn’t the Soviet Union model of centralized planning,” Kaplan says. “One of the lessons is, next year there might be more coordination about what’s planted.” More raised beds are now going in next to a just-completed apartment building at the project’s north end, and new residents there will assume their own stewardship of the soil or fall into other neighborhood roles. At Grow Community, Kaplan says, everyone chips in according to their interests and abilities, but the harvest is open to all. “People contribute to the community in different ways,” he says. “I’m putting my time into the gardens, others are putting their time into something else. But they should all be able to harvest – so they do.”

Wishing you health and abundance

UnknownThe Grow team would like to express our gratitude for the amazing community of Grow Bainbridge.  On this day of giving thanks we want to let you know that we are truly grateful for all we have learned from everyone who has touched our lives through this community over the last year.

We want to extend a special thank you to all of the new and soon to be residents at Grow.  We are excited, amazed, and humbled by the patience and dedication of the residents who have moved in to this community.  Excited to meet each and every amazing personality, humbled by the commitment to sustainable living, and most grateful for the patience of all who waited so long to move in to their homes.

We wish for all of you a joyful holiday, a day of health and abundance.

All the best,
The Grow Team

Is This The Most Sustainable Neighborhood In The U.S.? – Fast Company

Fast Company   |    November 13, 2013    |   Adele Peters

A new neighborhood on Bainbridge Island, Washington, has all the aspects of a resilient community–like net zero homes, community gardens, and car sharing–built in from the beginning.

A new urban neighborhood on Bainbridge Island, Washington, is arguably the most resilient–and healthiest–in the entire United States. Grow Community is not the first place to have net zero energy homes, community gardens, carsharing, or any of its other features, but it’s the first community to have all of those features, by design, from its inception.

Each home in the new development, from apartments to single-family homes, can run entirely on solar power. The ultra-efficient buildings are insulated to save energy, and include heat pumps and heat recovery ventilators. Wood siding comes from local, sustainably managed forests. But green buildings are only a small part of the community’s design.

“The average footprint for food and transportation is three times the footprint of a home,” says Jonathan Davis, the architect who led the project. Both were considered as integral parts of the development. The location was carefully chosen to be a short walk or bike ride from the ferry to Seattle or nearby shops. Residents will have access to community bikes and a shared fleet of cars–the first car being a Nissan Leaf that plugs into its own dedicated solar panel.

The homes are bordered by community vegetable gardens and fruit trees, and residents will also have the chance to participate in a working farm within walking distance.

The design also aims to help neighbors actually meet each other. The site is divided up into “microhoods” that are grouped around a common yard, and each of the grouping is connected by a series of pathways. No one can drive home; the parking lot is deliberately remote so that people have to walk home, and have the chance to run into each other. Each home has a front porch, and the common yards have community gardens and other shared spaces for people to interact.

Right now, the development is partially completed–22 out of 24 single-family homes are underway or finished, and construction will begin shortly on two small apartment buildings. Eight homes are occupied. The new residents include the architect and his own family. “Someone recently said it must be like my own personal Sim City, and it is,” Davis says, as he watches his creation unfold.

The development is the first in the U.S. to meet the stringent requirements of the One Planet Living program. “It’s a really big-picture look at sustainability,” Davis says. “In a way, Grow Community provides an easy basis for everyone living there to reduce their environmental footprint.”

Backers see $60M Grow Community as prototype for going super green

Daily Journal of Commerce
May 20th, 2013

click here to read article

Model Home Pano-sm

Sustainable Business: Washington state’s largest solar community tests the marketplace

Puget Sound Business Journal
May 10th, 2013

click here to read article

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