We believe that we can affect social change by building the most sustainable neighborhood in North America. This section chronicles our attempt to change the nature of development by making it about people, communities and public health.
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.
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.
Did 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.
Washington’s biggest planned solar community is getting bigger.
With completion of the Salal building in the new Grove neighborhood comes our latest solar array – and it’s a big one.
Installers were on the Salal’s roof last week finishing putting up 157 – 280watt high-output solar panels by itek Energy of Bellingham, a genuine Made In Washington product.
System output will be 44 kilowatts. For perspective, the individual home arrays in Grow Community’s first neighborhood, the Village, add up to about 150 kilowatts capacity. So we’re boosting our solar output dramatically on a single rooftop, with more to come.
The array is expected to offset at least half of the Salal building’s energy use. Net metering will give residents financial credit for their interest of the array’s production, proof that solar is a great match for multifamily construction.
Remember that the Salal’s model home is now open by appointment. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to visit our newest building and find out more about our outstanding solar program.
The sun always shines on Grow Community!
Not long back we announced Grow Community’s participation in Bainbridge Island’s new Pollinator Improvement Plan.
Landscaping throughout our Grow neighborhoods will be “bee friendly,” with a rich mix of native flowering plants to give our little pollinators plenty of food and habitat.
Now the PIP is featured in a new podcast on Bainbridge Community Broadcasting. In his program Community Cafe Bainbridge, host Barry Peters interviews two local officials about the island-wide effort to promote a healthy ecosystem by looking out for the bees, hummingbirds and other pollinators so key to our food supply as humans.
Heather Beckmann, Bainbridge Island city planner, and Amber Richards, assistant to the city manager, discuss the goal of linking different green spaces across the island so pollinators can navigate the built environment. Grow Community is glad to take its place on this welcoming corridor.
You can hear the podcast right here. Find out not only how Grow is meeting the challenge to protect our pollinators, but how residents across the island can do their part by planting bee-friendly flower beds and gardens.
“We’re hoping all people would ideally get involved, so the island itself can be a sanctuary for pollinators,” Heather tells the Community Cafe Bainbridge.
Thanks to Barry, Heather and Amber for the great podcast and for giving a shout-out to Grow Community as the Pollinator Improvement Plan moves forward. Bee well!
Bees are the unsung heroes of a healthy ecosystem.
By supporting flowering agricultural crops and orchards, they and their fellow pollinators butterflies and birds are responsible for as much as one-third of the human food supply.
Enjoy tasty local cucumbers, strawberries, apples or even onions? Thank your neighborhood bee.
Grow Community joins the effort to promote our island’s pollinator populations through the Pollinator Improvement Plan (PiP), now under way at Commodore Options School.
The goal: to create a network of pollinator-friendly micro-environments around the island, aiding the industrious apiformes as they seek out nourishment and shelter.
The landscape plan at Grow Community phase 2, the Grove, will include pollinator-friendly native plants with a sequential bloom season to provide food and habitat through the year for pollinators – from hazelnut in late winter/early spring to Oceanspray in late summer. These plants are located throughout the project, not just in the planting beds planted with the “pollinator mix.”
Grow also features multiple canopy layers in trees, shrubs and perennials, to provide shelter options for pollinators.
Planting under the direction of renowned firm PLACE landscape architects is now underway on the site, even as we round out the first buildings nearby for residency this fall.
“Bees might not be among our ‘homeowners’ per se, but we want them to be regular visitors,” said Greg Lotakis, Grow Community project manager. “Community gardens have been one of the signature features at Grow from the start, and we want to share those gardens and fruit trees with pollinators who are more reliant on them still.”
PiP is a joint project of Commodore Options program and the City of Bainbridge Island.
During the yearlong program, students will learn about the importance of bees and other pollinators to the natural environment as well as the various threats – overuse of garden chemicals, loss of habitat – their fragile populations presently face.
The multiage curriculum will include mapping of local bee habitats and production of a “Bee’s Eye View” video, to promote bee-friendly planting at homes and neighborhoods throughout the island.
The video will be shown on Earth Day 2016.
Participants will also work with the city to review local landscaping and pesticide policies, to make local public lands pollinator friendly. Students will be part of this community discussion.
“Our COS students are currently conducting the research needed to produce an educational slide show about pollinators. This is a first step to educate themselves about the process, developing a depth of knowledge that will add support throughout the project,” said Carl Lindbloom, project coordinator. “Commodore Options School’s focus is on project based curriculum and community service, so PIP is the perfect fit.”
Watch for more news about Grow Community’s bee-eautiful plantings here in the coming weeks.
Intentionally designed for unintentional connections – that’s Grow Community.
Lou Manfredini (NBC’s Today Show, WGN Radio) and the crew of HouseSmarts visited Grow this past spring, interviewing residents and exploring what is now Washington’s largest solar community just a few steps from Winslow town center.
Manfredini liked what he found at Grow, praising the community for its modern design, neighborhood spirit, and forward-thinking renewable energy features.
“These types of ideas, we can place anywhere in the U.S.,” the host says.
A film crew from the French production house TV Only visited Grow Community last week, shooting a half-hour feature for the magazine show Écho-Logis.
“We were looking for the greenest places in the U.S.,” says Anthony Da Silva, TV Only journaliste, who admits that while he and the producers had scouted out Grow Community online and were confident it would make a good subject, they were still startled by what they found.
“When we arrived, we were really surprised that it was much more beautiful than the pictures we saw on the web,” Da Silva says, praising Grow for building not just eco-friendly homes but also a whole simpler, low-impact lifestyle.
“It’s not only putting solar panels up and respecting the landscape where you put your house,” he says. “It’s also a feeling. For me, it’s a system, a way to work and to build and to live.”
The four-man production team spent four days on the island after filming an eco-friendly home in Los Angeles the previous week.
Interviews were conducted inside homes and around the Grow Community grounds and shared P-patch gardens.
A drone-mounted camera buzzed around the neighborhood throughout, zooming down pathways before soaring skyward for dramatic aerial shots of Grow’s solar energy-producing rooftops.
“It was an honor to have the Écho-Logis film crew here,” Lotakis says. “To be able to share a bit of the vision, and have the community’s voice as part of the show, was wonderful. It was a great reminder of how much has been done here that can inspire other communities.”
Écho-Logis presents “beautiful and innovative green projects all around the world by featuring the people who have conceived it, those who live in and interact with it,” producers say, while showing the environmental advantages that come with “an ethical way of building.”
After returning to France, the team will decamp for Romania and their next feature: a woodland lodge replete with solar power and a system for recycling water.
Now in its fourth season, the Écho-Logis program can be seen on France’s TV5Monde network, available in more than 200 countries.
The Grow Community feature is expected to run late this year as part of the current 40-episode run.
Previous Écho-Logis episodes can be viewed online here.
Public engagement, eco-friendly designs, affordable options, and diversity of home styles and offerings are hallmarks of the New Urbanism, the most significant planning movement of recent times.
Grow Community is a paragon of this forward-thinking ethos, Professional Builder magazine says in its new issue.
In the article “The Seaside Effect” (a nod to the first New Urbanist community, Seaside, built in Florida in 1980), Pro Builder fetes Grow for such enlightened features as shared pea-patch gardens, energy-efficient construction and rooftop solar power.
Proximity to Winslow town center – just a 5-minute walk from the heart of the neighborhood – allowed project designers and now residents to move beyond the demands of an automobile-centric lifestyle, toward healthier and more sustainable alternatives.
“We didn’t need to provide anything other than a residential fabric,” Jonathan Davis, Grow’s phase 1 architect, tells the magazine.
Read more about how Grow Community measures up to New Urbanist principles in Professional Builder’s July 2015 edition here – see pages 30-35.
Grow Community will be featured on HouseSmarts, the “reality show for real homeowners,” Aug. 1 on KONG-TV in the Seattle area.
The HouseSmarts crew and contractor/host Lou Manfredini (NBC’s Today Show, WGN Radio) visited Grow for a day this past spring and really liked what they saw.
The popular 30-minute weekly home improvement program “answers the questions homeowners really want to know,” the producers say. “Nobody adds on a room in one weekend, or lets their neighbors decorate their living room. HouseSmarts follows the progress of real people and lessons learned.”
HouseSmarts’ Grow Community segment airs at 10 a.m. Aug. 1.
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.
Every 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.
ABOUT GROW COMMUNITY
Grow Community is a new urban One Planet neighborhood on Bainbridge Island, just a 35-minute ferry ride from downtown Seattle. With beautifully designed solar-powered homes, shared community gardens and clean transportation options, Grow allows all generations to enjoy a high-quality and healthy lifestyle.