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.

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

Puget Sound Business Journal
May 10th, 2013

click here to read article

Grow Community homes are 5-Star Built Green!

We are very excited to announce that Grow Community homes have achieved 5-Star Built Green status, the highest rating for Built Green certification. Built Green is designed to help homebuyers find quality, affordable homes that offer opportunities to protect the health of their families and the Northwest environment. This is a great step forward in our efforts to create cost-effective, energy efficient One Planet homes on the cutting-edge of today’s sustainable development practices.

Click here to read Built Green’s case study on Grow Community.

NW Green Home Tour

Saturday, April 27th 2013, 11am-5pm
Grow Model Homes  |  428 Grow Avenue NW, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110

Come visit our Built Green 5-Star Homes on April 27th! Grow Community will be one of the stops on the NW Green Home Tour. Co-produced by Northwest Eco Building Guild Seattle Chapter and Built Green this tour is a FREE spring event. This will be the 3rd Annual NW Green Home Tour for Seattle, Bainbridge Island + Eastside.

 

To learn more about the tour go to the NW Eco Building Guild website.

 

Grow Community was awarded the 2013 Futurewise Livable Communities Award

Grow Community was awarded the 2013 Futurewise Livable Communities Award for Overall Excellence in Residential Community Development.

“The Grow Community development was selected because it demonstrates the extraordinary value of innovation in sustainable green building, reduced carbon footprint, transit oriented, and creating healthy communities with a strong sense of place.  As the only One Planet Community project in Washington State, the second in the nation, and the fifth in the world, your development is pushing the needle of where our built environment needs to be going if we are truly going to create sustainable healthy communities.”
– Hilary Franz, Futurewise Executive Director

Thank you for this honor!

 

Exploring Intergenerational Living Options at Grow Community

The concept for Grow Community has always been based on an intergenerational community. We imagine a neighborhood where families, young children, singles, retired couples, and elders all live in homes that suit their needs. But not only that, the community, in it’s physical and social design is intended to encourage interactions amongst all these residents. We imagine a neighborhood where relationships are formed, spontaneously and intentionally, where young and old play together in the garden, share experiences and care for each other.

To explore what this type of community might look like, we held a workshop last month. In our workshop we asked folks to ‘backcast’ – imagining that they were living at Grow already and they sent a postcard to a loved one about the community.  Here is what they wrote.

Ani – you will love my new house/life in Grow.  We have soup night every month and I am a driver volunteer taking people to the ferry, store, etc. in the community electric car.  I babysit for a 6 and 8 year after school they live 2 houses down – so much to do in the neighborhood.  I lead a writing group at our converted “Grow House” every week.  I’m gardening and eat what I grow – finally.  Still live a walkable life like I used to, but best is my carbon footprint is about zero.  Yay!  Mama 

Dear Racheal, Can’t wait to have you visit when we move to our new community in Winslow (growbainbridge.org).  You will really appreciate the very ecological building and the intentional community aspects.  Love Kate  PS – Check out the One Planet Principles – you would love it.

Dear Gabby, We’re looking forward to your visit with Ava (still our only beloved granddaughter).  Ava will meet other kids her age, and we can all spend some time working in the garden.  The families in our immediate neighborhood will come together for a potluck during your visit, so we’ll be cooking together.  There’s usually some music and dancing before the evening is over.  Cheers, Dad

Wow – I’m finally settled into my new home at Grow Community.  Never thought I’d move again – and here I feel a lot more community support as I got older.  I like being with a mixture of ages and family types – and not just people my own age or older.  Happily, there are quiet places where kids don’t hang out.  And my space is very quiet, which is lovely.  Come visit – I have a guest room!

Dear Lisa, I can’t wait for you to come visit pops and me at Grow Community.  We’ll celebrate your birthday in our community room, pick tomatoes in the garden, listen for frogs in the pond, walk to town for a cookie, then take the gerry to Seattle and ride the wheel.  We’ll read books together in our cozy apartment and we’ll check out bikes to ride from our shared bike barn.  Lots to do together.  Love Mama B

We are constantly using words like inclusivity, walkability, visitability and (of course) sustainability in our conversations about how we design, build, and create opportunity for community to take hold in a place.  Considering all these words and all our hopes and dreams to incorporate in one place can be quite a challenge… and one we are thankful to be undertaking. This is made easier with ideas from our community.

The next buildings we construct will be designed to take this intergenerational concept to the next level. The beginning of an idea has taken shape as we’ve listened to your feedback. A building based on Universal Design principles, with one-level flats, accessible spaces, comfortable spaces, spaces designed for people of all ages.

Couldn’t make the workshop, but have some ideas to share?  Please share your thoughts by clicking the comments link above.  No idea is a bad idea!  We look forward to hearing from you.

 

 

 

Grow Community Awarded Most Sustainable Business of the Year!

Grow Community/Asani were honored to receive the 2012 Sustainable Business of the Year award from the Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce.   This is an award that was truly achieved due to the support and involvement of our greater Bainbridge Island community.  Thank you.

 

Net-Zero Home Revealed on East Coast

A new Net-Zero residential test facility has been revealed this week by the National Institute of Science and Technology. This is great news for the advancement of sustainable housing in the United States, however they have an interesting take on it: the four bedroom, three bathroom house will be occupied by a “virtual” family.

“Helping scientists test the home’s systems and determine whether it’s truly “net-zero” is a virtual family of four. Energy use by the family will be simulated by computers that turn on and off various household appliances according to daily routines.”

The Net-Zero Energy Residential Test Facility in Gaithersburg, MD.

The goal of the company is to eventually sell energy back into the grid, offsetting the electricity used by the family and making it a truly net-zero home.

“Building the home is just the first phase of the project. This fall, NIST scientists and engineers will begin a two-year long research project designed to put the net-zero home to the test. Computers will simulate everything from cell phone charging, to vacuum cleaner use, to the amount of water used to cook meals and bathe.”

While similar to the goals of Grow Community, there are several differences between these two projects. Grow Community, based on the ten guiding principles of One Planet Living developed by BioRegional, aims to address entire lifestyle impacts, with the goal of reducing overall ecological footprint. Grow Community is the first of its kind in the United States to start construction on sustainable homes using these One Planet Community development guidelines. From zero carbon homes and transportation strategies, programs that increase local food consumption and procurement policies that support a local green economy, the Grow Community is applying One Planet Living solutions to create a cost-effective, creative, inspirational and replicable community on the leading-edge of sustainable development practices.

Jonathan Davis, Owner of Davis Studio Architecture & Design, and Lead Designer for Grow Community, likes the goals of the NIST test facility, but thinks the plan has its own limitations.

“We’re doing something more real, for a lot cheaper.” says Davis, “They’re saying the house prices are about $600,000 for a house with state-of-the-art technology in it, not including the land. So we’re creating homes that are more affordable, with the same claim to Net-Zero energy usage, and we’re testing it with real people.”

“It’s great that someone wants to study something like that and get some useful information, but essentially we are doing it in the real world. And we’ll know in a year, just like they will, whether or not it will work.”

5 Minute Lifestyle; Sustainable Transportation Options For Residents At Grow Community

[The following is part of our Five Minute Lifestyle series. Living at Grow Community makes getting out your car easy with all of your local amenities and transportation needs met within a quick 5 minute walk or bike ride away. Our Five Minute Lifestyle posts are dedicated to spotlighting nearby local businesses, transportation options for residents, community resources and the spectacular local attractions of Bainbridge Island and our surrounding community.]

Building a healthy community takes more than just building energy efficient homes. Solar panels on your home and energy efficient appliances are a great start, but it’s only the beginning. There’s a much deeper story to be told. Whole communities are built on the understanding that sustainability is defined not only by physical impacts to our environment, but also by the experience of support, equity and connection for the community’s members. One Planet communities address all aspects of sustainability, from the ecological to the economic and cultural impacts, with social well being and quality of life as a foundation of the concept.

One of the principles behind Grow Community’s One Planet sustainable development model is reducing carbon from transportation. With this principle in mind, we set out to provide several sustainable transportation options for residents of Grow Community to make it easier to live without a car, or with only one family vehicle. Grow Community is a 5 – 10 minute walk (or leisurely bike ride) from downtown Winslow and the ferry to Seattle and the location of the development was carefully chosen to support a lifestyle that isn’t dependent on a vehicle. All of your in-town amenities and transportation needs are close by, and, if you work in downtown Seattle, commuting is easy from Grow.

[Related: 5 Minute Lifestyle; Five Local Food Havens Minutes From Grow Community]

We know that residents will still need a vehicle on occasion, and there is room for each resident to have their own car. But what if you would prefer not to own a car, or need a second car only once in a while? That is when Grow Community’s car-sharing program for residents comes into play. For a small monthly fee residents can opt-in to our Nissan LEAF car-sharing program and book our electric car for trips around town or into Seattle. The car is charged by it’s own dedicated solar panel array and is a 100% emissions free transportation option for Grow Community residents. If interest is high, we will add a number of cars to the car share program, making this a choice that residents can depend on. For those that decide later down the line that they would like their own car but want an electric vehicle, it would be worth consulting with an electrician like those at aardvark-electric.com/areas-we-serve/marietta/ to see if they can have an EV charging station installed.

For the more casual outings, we have community bikes available for our residents. We are providing the bikes as a healthy option to easily get around Bainbridge Island, and we are hoping the bikes will help people explore the community. The bikes, made by Public Bikes, have already been popular with our own project team-a great way to get around town. We hope that no serious incidents occur, but if anyone was to have an accident there are a few things we’d recommend. The main thing would be to call an ambulance or paramedic if it was a serious accident. The second being the need to contact a lawyer if you had a bicycle accident, as you would need someone to represent you if you had a serious injury from someone else’s mistake. Hopefully, no-one will have an accident, but this is just to be on the safe side.

By providing a number of different options for Grow residents to choose low-carbon transportation options, we hope to reduce our overall carbon footprint, create healthy options for getting around town, and demonstrate how sustainable transportation choices can be easy on the pocketbook.

Scroll down to check out some pictures of our new Nissan LEAF and community bikes!

In the picture above you can see Grow Community’s new LEAF with it’s EV Station (on the right) and the solar array which is charging the station (the structure just to the left and behind the vehicle). In the background you can see our three solar powered model homes, now open for public tours. From left to right: The Aria, Ocean and Everett. Read more

One Planet Principles; Grow Community’s First Community Garden

[The following is a guest post by Lauren Haire, Project Manager at Grow Community. Aside from being a wizard with numbers and graduate of local sustainable-design university, BGI, Lauren enjoys working on Grow Community’s community garden space and has been a leader in planning the community features being built at Grow Community. She also shoots a mean game of hoops.]

Urban agriculture. City farming. Community gardening. Whatever you prefer to call it, growing your own food has become increasingly popular. Whether it’s doing it yourself or as part of a community due to lack of space, this movement of growing your own food is becoming bigger. In fact, more people are taking up gardening as a hobby than ever before. If you’re wanting to do the same but you don’t know where to start, there’s no shame in getting some help to keep on top of things – especially if you have a large area to maintain. Look into local georgia lawn care companies to see who has the best services that can help you. Gardening and growing your own veg is easy, all you have to do is put in the time!

In the Pacific Northwest, we are fortunate to live in a region where several organizations have paved the way for others to follow. A great example is AlleyCat Acres in Seattle, who created their first garden on donated land in Beacon Hill. The effort brought together volunteers to build the garden, and over the last few years they have helped harvest over 1,600 pounds of produce, much of which is donated to local food banks. AlleyCat now has sites in the Central District and at MLK and Cherry.

Another great organization is The World in a Garden in Vancouver, BC. This program has built partnerships with schools, restaurants and Farmer’s Markets to create an educational program that attempts to cross cultural barriers with food. The garden has successfully built sustainable revenue streams through workshops, garden tours, sales of produce and garden products (honey, plants, etc).

At Grow Community, we have a vision of creating our own sustainable agriculture program right in the center of Bainbridge Island. We have designed multiple community garden spaces that will allow residents to grow their own food, grow food for others, build connections with their neighbors and be part of the Grow Community Garden Program. Read more

5 Minute Lifestyle; 5 Local Food Havens Minutes From Grow Community

[The following is the first in our Five Minute Lifestyle series. Living at Grow Community makes getting rid of your car easy with all of your local amenities and transportation needs met within a quick 5 minute walk or bike ride away. Our Five Minute Lifestyle posts are dedicated to spotlighting nearby local businesses, community resources and the spectacular local attractions of Bainbridge Island and our surrounding community.]

Eating fresh and local on Bainbridge Island is as simple as stepping out your front door and taking a five minute walk to Downtown Bainbridge. Grow Community is uniquely situated for its future residents to enjoy the bounty of this beautiful islands local farms. We are a quick walk (or bike ride) away from restaurants which feature farm-to-table fare, the local grocery store which has deep ties to local Bainbridge farms and the local farmers market. Whether you’re looking to bring home the fixings for a local food feast, go out on the town or chat with the local farmers, you can be sure that your evenings meal supports the local economy and has made its way to your table from a farm only a few miles away. Read on for our selection of some of our favorite local food havens all within a 5 – 10 minute walk from Grow Community.

[Related: One Planet Principles; Supporting Community With Local Food]

1. Bainbridge Farmers Market.  Bainbridge locals gather at the Farmers Market every Saturday. Open 9 – 1PM, the farmers market is less than a 3rd of a mile from Grow Community. You will find here every local food need that your evening salad calls for and meet the local farmers that make it possible to eat healthy and local on Bainbridge Island. Location: Town Square at City Hall Park.

Read more

One Planet Principles; supporting community with local food

[The following is a guest blog post by Greg Lotakis, Project Manager at the Grow Community construction site. Construction prowess aside, Greg has been an important proponent of implementing the One Planet Communities development framework at the site, and has carefully thought about how to take One Planet Principles and turn them into a reality in Grow Community’s built environment.]

I went running a few days ago on one of Bainbridge’s waterfront trails. Between taking in the scenery on a beautiful afternoon and watching my feet so as not to fall on my face, some little details jumped out at me and I began to think about local food and agriculture on the island. Read more