At the Grow Community we believe that our built environments are crucial to the health of our minds and bodies. This section is devoted to how we’ve tried to design the healthiest community for ourselves and our kids.

Grow Community is currently the largest solar powered community in Washington State!

BioRegional Launch a Major New Sustainable Consumption and Production Report

BioRegional, creators of the One Planet concept, have recently launched a major report about Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP).  The report is a significant NGO contribution to the UN debate on a set of sustainable development goals due to succeed the well-known Millennium Development Goals (to be fulfilled by 2015). BioRegional CEO Sue Riddlestone was recently given the opportunity to present this report to representatives of several dozen governments of countries around the world gathered at the United Nations in New York.

Major new report, authored by BioRegional, on sustainable consumption and production:

  • This published paper makes the case for why sustainable consumption and production (SCP) should be integrated into the post-2015 development agenda, as well as setting out practical proposals for what SCP-related targets might be, divided among the likely themes for post-2015 goals.
  • It is evidence-based, drawing on the latest literature and evidence to explain why achieving sustainable development demands a decisive, global shift to sustainable consumption and production. The paper aims to increase collaboration within civil society and with other actors on this agenda.
  • It calls for nations to adopt 28 different targets related to SCP, organised under five key themes for sustainable development goals and covering the period 2015-2030. One or more indicators is given for each target.
  • The report was produced by BioRegional, as they are the Beyond 2015 focal point on Sustainable Production and Consumption, with input from the following organizations: WWF-UK;Christian Aid; Bond; Save the Children; Progressio; Practical Action; Friends of the Earth; Cafod; Tearfund; Population Institute; One Earth; Tellus Institute; Integrative Strategies Forum; Institute for Global Environmental Strategies.

Click here to read the report here.

What to Expect in the Next Grow Neighborhood?

Grow Community will not be complete until all three neighborhoods are constructed.  While the first neighborhood is finishing up, the Grow Team has been busy redesigning the next two neighborhoods.  These next phases will complete the trail system, add a building for community gathering and even more gardens and open space.  A fun fact: out of the 5 acres that make up the next two neighborhoods, 3 acres will be green space.  More places to run, play, garden and connect!

We anticipate beginning construction on the second neighborhood this next summer.  Stay tuned for more opportunities to participate in the design of open spaces in early 2014.

Click here to read the recent article in the Bainbridge Island Review about this next phase.

Visual notes on building a healthy community at Grow

President, Marja Preston was speaking on a panel at the recent ULI (Urban Land Institute) conference on how we are building a healthy community at Grow. Here are the visual notes taken by an attendee at that discussion.

Wishing you health and abundance

The 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.”

Building a Healthy Community from the Inside Out

Premier Builder Magazine
July/August 2013

Two years ago, the Asani/PHC team of architects, builders and developers set out to design a Net Zero energy home using local and sustainable materials, all with a construction budget under $150/square foot.  These homes are part of the new One Planet Community (one of 8 in the world) on Bainbridge Island – a Zero Carbon neighborhood of homes that is affordable to young families and baby boomers alike.

The new homes at Grow Community are not just net zero energy homes, they are part of a neighborhood where residents will be able to reduce their overall carbon footprint – that is, the impact from buildings, transportation, and food to name a few.  The homes are part of a One Planet Neighborhood, homes where it is easy, fun and affordable to live a lifestyle where our impact on the planet is a little lighter.

One Planet is a framework to guide design of Zero Carbon neighborhoods.  The program focuses not just on environmental impacts, but also on economic and social sustainability, creating communities where neighbors interact and where ecological footprints are reduced.  Grow Community has used the ten sustainability principles of the One Planet framework to create a neighborhood that is unlike any other in the United States.

The homes are beautifully designed, light filled spaces located in small clusters with the community, all surrounding vegetable gardens.  The neighborhood is made up of equal numbers of single-family homes for sale and multifamily homes for rent, providing different financial options for residents to live in the community.  The floorplans are designed for families, for couples, for aging in place, a mix that has resulted in a truly intergenerational community.

When we first started to design the Grow home, we weren’t sure if we could meet the net zero challenge with the given budge, but with a little determination and a dedicated team, we’ve shown it can be done.  Each home and multifamily building is designed as a Net Zero home – the solar panels on the roof are enough to provide all the power needed throughout the year.  The cost of construction of each of the homes is both reasonable and replicable.

The One Planet framework was used to balance design and material choices against each of the sustainability principles.  We designed an energy efficient building envelope, using local and sustainable materials wherever possible, and choose finishes that would ultimately create a comfortable and healthy home.

Health and Happiness is the foremost One Planet principle driving design decisions both for the individual homes and for the community as a whole.  Each house is built using the highest quality materials to create a healthy indoor living environment, including:

•    Marvin Integrity word/fiberglass windows avoid the use of PVC in the homes;
•    Cork or local sustainably harvested wood floors with non-toxic finishes create local and healthy flooring options;
•    Silent and highly efficient mini-split heat pumps to maintain comfortable temperatures;
•    Cabinets with no added formaldehyde, recycled content countertops and induction cooktops for sustainable and well-appointed kitchens; and
•    Optional whole house water filters.

The community itself is designed around numerous vegetable gardens, with native plants and vegetation throughout to create natural and inviting places for children and adults to enjoy.  The neighborhood is located just a short walk from urban amenities, enabling residents to walk or ride, incorporating exercise into their daily lives.  A community center will provide a space for yoga classes, cooking demonstrations, and community events.

It is our home that this One Planet neighborhood will change the way we approach urban design.  We created the project to demonstrate how developers might design projects that have a net positive impact, not only on the environment, but on the way people live, creating healthier and more satisfying lifestyles in urban areas.  The Grow Community homes are not just good for the environment, they are a place for people to live healthy and affordable lives, to connect with their neighbors, their community and nature.
Visit www.growbainbridge.com

Grow Community modifies development plans – BAINBRIDGE ISLAND REVIEW

By RICHARD D. OXLEY
Bainbridge Island Review Staff Writer

August 3, 2013 · Updated 10:41 AM

Over the past year, the island has watched the green living-oriented Grow Community sprout up on its small corner in Winslow.

With Phase II of the development on the horizon, Grow officials are looking to take the neighborhood in a whole new direction than previously expected.

“Going forward we know we can’t build the same kinds of homes that we built in Phase I,” Marja Preston with Asani Development told a crowd gathered at the Bainbridge Performing Arts Center Monday evening.

“Our goal for this project is to create a model for intergenerational living,” she said.

Island architect Jim Cutler explained the significant changes to the project; mainly, that while Grow will continue to be Earth- and community friendly, it will come in a much tighter package.

“All the things that were endemic in the first phase will be in the second phase, but with more density,” Cutler said.

The crowd listened intently to Cutler as he explained how he designed 87 dwellings to fit on five acres.

“I’m going to show you a really dense project,” Cutler told the crowd as he stood in front of a site plan for Phase II.

Project officials presented their latest vision of the neighborhood this week at a meeting required under the city’s permitting process
because the project has changed since it was originally proposed. The changes drew a crowd of more than 70 islanders to the lobby of the Bainbridge Performing Arts Center.

It was as much of an informative gathering as it was a sales pitch to the community.

“This project takes this to a whole new level,” said City planner Heather Beckman.

“Typically we have these meetings at city hall and there are no refreshments, and there isn’t this much of a turnout,” she said.

Islanders were welcomed to the event with hors d’oeuvre and lemonade before hearing Cutler’s presentation.

Cutler, of Bainbridge-based Cutler Anderson Architects, walked through a series of slides showcasing the new vision for the development that attaches many of the dwellings, once scattered across the property.

“The old plan, it was like someone took dice and threw them on the ground,” Cutler said. “We’ve gone to attached dwellings that maximize green area. We’ve ended up with, out of five acres, (roughly) three acres that are green space.”

Cutler said he designed the community to be multigenerational, and geared toward community interaction, without sacrificing privacy.

Phase II of the Grow Community will include two apartment buildings off Wyatt Way, two rows of attached townhouses, and single-family buildings.

Between the structures will be two courtyards and a 2,500-square-foot community center.

The community center will house a multipurpose room, meeting room, kitchen and a fireplace on both the inside and outside.

Bordering the property to the south near Shepard Drive will be a 5,000-square-foot commercial building.

Cutler could not comment on what the commercial structure will ultimately be used for, but officials hope that a small school or child-oriented organization will set up shop there.

Phase II will continue to incorporate the aspects seen in Phase I, such as solar panels on the roofs, the ability to capture rainwater, and shared electric cars and bicycles.

Residents’ cars, however, will play a larger role in Phase II than in Phase I.

Parking has been planned for the development that will border the site, though 43 homes will have private garages. Single-family residences will have two-car garages.

Cutler explained his vision for cars in the Grow Community.

“You might notice we are not showing a lot of parking,” he said. “If we build slightly deeper foundations we can build parking underneath (the buildings), so cars are

not going to be very visible. We are basically putting all cars underneath.”

“I don’t think we are promoting car use; we are making sure that cars are not part of your daily life visually,” he added, noting that people need to use a car from time to time, so he designed parking into Grow, with the attitude that the community will be primarily pedestrian
oriented.

“We convince, to some degree, our clients that having a car in your daily experience is not necessarily positive,” Cutler said.

Gardens will also be a primary focus of the new development.

“Probably what’s endemic in almost every culture in the world is gardening. And I don’t mean flower beds or vegetable gardens. I mean a space where you can extend your dwelling, and your living, outside in privacy,” Cutler said. “So you can connect with living systems outside in a private way.”

Apartments will include wall gardens, and many homes will include patio spaces.

A total of 40 residences in Phase II will be wheelchair accessible, and it will be possible to incorporate an elevator in some of the spaces.

Officials expect the Grow residences to be a mixture of rentals, condominiums and privately owned lots.

It is likely that it won’t take long to fill the homes.

“I have had reservations for a product people haven’t even seen for over a year,” said Joie Olson with Asani.

“We hope by the end of 2015 to be into the first half of the five acres, and have people moved in,” she said.

Olson noted that the site will be developed incrementally over time so that the company can make changes in the future if needed.

Contact Bainbridge Island Review Staff Writer Richard D. Oxley at roxley@bainbridgereview.com or (206) 842-6613.

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

Daily Journal of Commerce
May 20th, 2013

click here to read article

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

Puget Sound Business Journal
May 10th, 2013

click here to read article