Living at the Grow Community is an experience. Learn about what the Grow homes are like, and then check out the section about our community.

Grow Solar Part 2: Solar Power and Energy Efficiency

Click here for Part 1

So how can solar cover all our energy needs?

Well, traditionally it wouldn’t. Most houses you see around you draw more energy than solar panels could provide.

In our case, the homes of Grow Community have been designed from the ground up with solar in mind. This includes electric wiring specifically designed for easy installation of solar panels on the roof. If you take advantage of the solar option, the panels will be enough to meet the energy demand of your life due to the energy efficiency designed into every square inch of the house. You can click here to look at the options available to add onto it if so desired.

So just how energy efficient are these homes? Well, until we get people living in the homes full time we won’t know this exactly, but we’re happy to talk about how they have been designed. Plus having this option may give people some flexibility when they learn more about their utility options. Here are some of the features that make these homes as efficient as possible:

Heat pump: The ductless minisplit Greensboro heat pump by mitsubishi in each home is twice as efficient as a gas or electric water heater. There are many different types of water heaters available on the market, from electric to tankless, you have an array of options when obtaining a water heater for your home. Whether you’re moving to a new home, or just want to have your heater replaced, you can look online on sites similar to Water Heater Reviews and check out their vast catalog of water heaters. You can visit homepage for more information.

Ventilation system: Every home in Grow Community is outfitted with a heat recovery ventilator (HRV), which provides a great compliment to our ductless mini split heat pump by keeping the temperature range consistent within the home and allowing our heating system to work less and more efficiently. (This is very cool technology, and worth it’s own blog post in the future)

Lights: Most of the lights use high-efficiency LEDs, which are many times more efficient than conventional light bulbs. Almost all of our lights are LEDs and we’re pushing to have a 100% LED lit home in the future.

Windows: We use high quality energy-efficient windows, which are generally where houses lose a majority of their heat.

Appliances: All of the appliances in our homes meet or beat current energy star performance requirements.

Double Walls and Insulation: Walls in each home are twice as thick as standard walls, and are doubly insulated, reducing heat energy waste through the sides of your house.

All these energy-efficiency improvements greatly reduce the amount of power your home requires (saving 2-3 tons of coal per year), enabling the power created by solar panels to cover the rest.

Check out part 3, where we describe the incentives available to homeowners to help cover the costs of installation.

Save The Date! Model Home Tours Begin at Grow Community; But You Can Get a Sneak Peek

On Friday, August  10th, public tours of model homes begin at Grow Community. Join us! 

The wait is over. Grow Community will begin public tours on Friday, August 10th. This project has been designed, with the help of community volunteers and sustainability experts, as an intentional urban community meeting the 10 Sustainability Principles of the One Planet Living framework. We want to thank everyone who has been involved in the project and who has helped us reach this point, and we invite all of you to schedule an appointment to visit our three model homes. 

Read more

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

The 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. 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.

Using solar panels is not anything new, as they are becoming more and more common on homes and the buildings of businesses. There are even brewers, winemakers and distillers who are gaining attention for their efforts to be more “green” (click here to see how). However, having a zero-carbon community will be quite amazing. Not to mention that if all goes as planned, this will be the largest residential solar community in Washington State.

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

Pricing at Grow Community to be announced this Thursday, at Grow Drinks

This Thursday, July 12th from 7 to 9 PM, we will be gathering in the Pavilion at OfficeXPats for Grow Drinks—an evening of positive connection, wine, cheese and conversation. We will be sharing pricing at the event, so if you’ve been wondering how much a Grow home will cost, mark the date on your calendar, invite a friend, and get ready to meet the Grow Team and all the other people who are interested in life at the Grow Community. 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.