The Grow Community is built on the Ten Principles of One Planet Living. This section is dedicated to our pursuit of the One Planet ideal and how we’re making that happen at the Grow Community site on Bainbridge Island, Washington.

We’re leading the nation in Green Power

The US Environmental Protection Agency recently honored the City of Bainbridge Island with its Green Power of the Year Award – and Grow Community helped earn the honor.

In his report to the community, City Manager Doug Schulze cited Grow Community’s leadership.

“Adjacent to one of Bainbridge’s three neighborhood centers is Grow Community, one of the first North American communities built on the One Planet principles,” Schulze writes. “These all-electric homes have the option of installing enough PV to meet almost all of their homes’ energy demands. The homes, available for sale or rent, are populated as quickly as they are built.”

Kudos to Bainbridge Island for this great national award! Read the City Manager’s report on our national leadership in Green Power below.

How far we have grown.

With just three buildings to go, and construction paused for the winter, let’s pause ourselves to appreciate how far Grow Community has come.

This photo puts it all in perspective – three distinctive neighborhoods, tasteful, energy-efficient homes clustered around shared green spaces, a new community center, and row upon row (upon row!) of solar panels, soaking up the sun to help power Washington’s largest planned solar community.

What a great community to be a part of! And what a great vantage to take it all in.

Photo courtesy of Kelvin Hughes

Grow settling in for winter hibernation – An October Construction & Sales Update

We have reached an important milestone in our project. After six years, we have reduced our site work to a single building pad at the south end of the Park neighborhood, having reshaped eight acres of what is now Grow Community. We continue to see more solar go up, garden beds filled, and have enjoyed seeing new neighbors join our community and make long-lasting friendships.

Now that the Lilac and Sage are done, and the Community Center is nearing completion, we plan to pause construction for the winter. This will include additional landscaping, ramps/walks to connect our path through the entire project, and stabilization of the area that will become the Trillium and Meadow Homes.

This winter “quiet time” will allow new residents to move in, let the site be still for several months – and we’ll be ready and rested to begin final completion of work in spring 2018.

October Construction update

As we wind down work for the year, our teams are checking off minor “punch list” items throughout the Park neighborhood. All tasks in occupied and for-sale units should be completed in the next couple of weeks.

Site grading is essentially complete, with stairs and ramps now shaped in the southeast corner of the grounds and concrete work set for next week. Landscaping in that area will follow – we are on schedule to beat the rain and tidy up the site for winter.

The big news is the imminent opening of our new Community Center – and does it look great! The 17-panel solar array went up on the center’s bike shelter this week, great news for sustainable use. We have a few minor items left to install, from drinking fountains to appliances, barn doors and some trim. We’ve applied to the city for building occupancy, and hope to have approval in the next few weeks.

Then we hope to see you all at the center for our annual Harvest Fest, Oct. 21!

And we still have room for you!

Grow Community still has great opportunities for buyers, starting with the Tsuga building – three units are still available, all 2-bedroom homes.

In the Lilac townhomes, 2- and 3-bedroom homes each with a generous 300-sf of private outdoor space are available. These are the only 3-bedroom units left at Grow and offer 1,600-sf of comfortable, environmentally friendly living.

Finally, we have view units available on the third floor of the Sage. Enjoy peek-a-boo views of Eagle Harbor and the Olympics. These 2-bedroom homes include large masters and generous closet space.

Contact our sales team a get a personal tour today!

New solar array powers community center

Grow Community boosted its standing as Washington state’s largest planned solar community this week with another new photovoltaic array – this time, for the new community center.

A 17-module, 5.1-kilowatt array went up atop the bike shelter behind the community building, centerpiece of the Park neighborhood.

The south-facing array takes advantage of excellent solar exposure through the day, turning the bike shelter roof into productive solar garden to help power activities at the community center.

The system also supports the local solar industry, using certified Made In Washington solar panels by iTek Energy of Bellingham.

Installation is by A&R Solar of Seattle, who’ve completed many of the residential arrays found throughout Grow’s three solar-powered neighborhoods.

Grow Community Earns Built Green Project of the Year

And the plaudits keep rolling in: Grow Community earned the Built Green Project of the Year award at the annual Built Green Conference in Seattle recently.

The prestigious award honors excellence in environmentally friendly residential construction in the Puget Sound region, as judged by peers in the construction industry.

“The award was unexpected, and we are deeply honored to earn it considering the unbelievable work our peers have accomplished in 2017,” says Greg Lotakis, Grow’s project manager. “Builders across our region are really pushing the envelope for sustainability, using the Built Green standards as their benchmark to serve both homebuyers and the long-term interests of the planet.”

The Grow team thanked the Built Green program, the Grow design and construction teams, and our residents – all of whom have believed in possibility and made Grow Community a reality.

The Built Green program is sponsored by the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties, in partnership with other Washington agencies to set standards of excellence that make a significant impact on housing, health and the environment and are readily “do-able” today.

For more information on the program see www.builtgreen.net.

A real sense of “neighborliness” in a community designed to foster closeness, connection and cooperation.

Amelia Parker had been following the work of Bioregional and its One Planet Living initiative for years, since the development of London’s famous BedZED zero-carbon community in 2002.

When she learned that there was another One Planet Community just a few miles away on Bainbridge Island – she was living in Bellevue at the time – she decided to visit and see environmentally friendly development firsthand.

She and her spouse found Grow Community. After speaking with residents, they made their move – to the Juniper building in the new Grove neighborhood.

It’s a real turn toward sustainability from her last home, a 1912 Craftsman bungalow. It was beautiful and twice the size of her current home, she says, but trying to modernize and maintain it was exhausting and expensive.

“It’s lovely to be in a place where things simply work,” Amelia says of Grow Community, “ and if they don’t, maintenance is on it quickly, where good design minimizes utility bills – large, well-insulated windows make the space feel expansive and reduces the need for lighting – and makes caring for the space simple, so that time can be spent on other things.”

At Grow, she has found a simpler lifestyle, one that de-emphasizes the need for a car, with easy connections to local shops and merchants, and even travel hubs like the ferry system and regional rail.

“For the most part, I can walk to anything I need, including the ferry terminal,” she says. “My car is coming up on 193,000 miles, and I drive so little that I’m in no hurry to replace it. My spouse occasionally needs to travel to Vancouver for business meetings: before, he would have to drive to Everett to catch a train. Now he takes the ferry across and walks to King Street Station. Not having to deal with traffic does a great deal for our mental health!”

She also finds a real sense of “neighborliness” in a community designed to foster closeness, connection and cooperation.

“Last weekend I was out at the observatory with my next-door neighbors, after a thank-you dinner for looking after their cat while they were on holiday,” she says. “We will text one another: ‘I’m going to Silverdale, do you need anything?’ ‘I’ve got too much lettuce: can I bring you some?’”

She adds: “Seeing people from the yoga studio means stopping and chatting in the aisles of the grocery store. I lived in my previous home for 13 years and really didn’t have that sort of relationship with my neighbours; I’ve been here almost 18 months, and it’s very different.”

Does she recommend Grow Community?

“Yes, absolutely.”

 

Sharing our History + Celebrating our New Community Center

Grow celebrates the progress on our new Community Center with daylong events on Thursday, July 20.

We will be hosting lunch for the construction team, followed by an evening potluck and sharing of the Grow Community site history through many generations. Special guests will share family and neighborhood stories, including a visiting descendent of the pioneer Grow family.  This event will focus on history – no tours of the center or its features will take place, but see our schedule of upcoming events for future opportunities.

11.30am-1pm – Construction Worker Lunch
1pm-5pm – Feel free to walk by and see progress
6pm to 8pm – History Sharing and Potluck

LOCATION: 395 Ambrose Street, in the Park at Grow Community

 


UPCOMING EVENTS:

August (DATE TBD) – Neighborhood meeting on Community Center operations: This discussion will focus on answering questions about the center, understanding its availability, use and operating budget, and hopefully celebrating the certificate of occupancy!

September 14th – Community meeting on Emergency Preparedness. Grow residents are invited to a potluck dinner and discussion of community emergency preparedness. Guest speaker will be Scott James, author of “Prepared Neighborhoods” and Bainbridge Island resident

October (DATE TBD) – Community Harvest & Solar for the Community Center Celebration. Join us for a celebration of the harvest season, pumpkin carving, cider pressing, and official commissioning of the Community Center’s rooftop solar array!

Urban Land group visits Grow

The prestigious Urban Land Institute held its Spring Conference in Seattle in early May, and Grow Community was both hot topic and host.

Grow welcomed thought-leaders in spheres ranging from development to investment, planning and design, as they came to Bainbridge Island for site visits throughout the conference.

Grow has been part of the ULI conversation since the project began, our community being a case study for creating healthy places, promoting intergenerational living, and integrating sustainability at scale.

Discussion threads running through the week included:

Creating a legacy. Pooran Desai, founder of the organizations BioRegional, which established the One Planet Living Principles, described effort at Grow as a legacy – both for the region, and in changing the conversation around the way we develop future communities. While the project has had many twists and turns, its consistency around creating a place for all ages to be comfortable and live in a more sustainable way is a profound achievement.

Intergenerational living. Visitors from the ULI appreciated Grow’s commitment to developing a community with many varied home types, to give people at every stage of life a comfortable place to live. It marks a change from development patterns often seen in the United States, where we tend to segregate generations, versus other communities around the world that embrace keeping mixed generations together.

Sustainability. Many of the ULI visitors came from places where a push for sustainability is just beginning, compared to the Seattle region where it is becoming the norm. Visitors were impressed by the range of areas where Grow challenged the norm: energy, materials, solar, and open space. Built Green standards allowed us to use a local certification program and consider our efforts from a neighborhood level, integrating our sustainability goals through One Planet Living. Grow gave visitors a model they can follow and incorporate into their own communities.

The Grow Community development team and investors thank residents for continuing to allow for guests like ULI to visit. These visits and conversations plant the seeds for other communities to come. They also provide the inspiration for others to take on the challenges of sustainable growth and living – allowing others to take what we have learned here, and spread the best of what we have for our One Planet.

Grow sponsors new ‘terrestrial’ podcast on KUOW

Grow Community is all about making smart choices for the Earth – how we build and how we live.  Now we’re proud to sponsor the new podcast “terrestrial” on local radio station KUOW, exploring “the choices we make in a world we have changed.” Host Ashley Ahearn travels the country — from ranches in Oregon to churches in Colorado — to bring listeners stories about people making personal choices in the face of environmental change.

Subscribe to “terrestrial” through Apple podcasts, or listen online at here.

Grow Community featured in Dwell

If it wasn’t a challenge, it wouldn’t be worth doing.

That’s the conclusion of Dwell magazine, which spent time at Grow Community recently and liked what they saw.
Grow is currently featured at Dwell.com, the online portal that bills itself “At home in the modern world.”

“Who said making a better world would be easy?” the magazine says. “Just ask the cast of characters involved in Grow Community, a development on Washington’s Bainbridge Island that was designed with the ambitious goal of encouraging social interaction while achieving net-zero energy status. Building for the future, they’ve learned, is a constant work in progress.”

Read this great feature online at www.dwell.com.