Posts

Grow Community in the News: Seattle Times

Bainbridge development to be totally solar powered, carbon neutral

Grow Community is following One Planet Living sustainability standards for a planned 130-unit residential development.

By Reid Champagne
Special to The Seattle Times

Grow Community has started work on a 130-unit residential development on Bainbridge Island. The development says it will use roof-installed solar panels to provide 100 percent of the power needed for each residence.

The project has received the One Planet Living seal of approval, the fifth community to do so, says Marja Preston, president of Asani, the real estate development company overseeing the Grow development.

One Planet Living is a global initiative launched by the World Wildlife Fund and environmental consultancy BioRegional that promotes zero-carbon emissions, zero waste and car-free cities.

“The most important principle we have committed to at Grow is to design and build zero carbon buildings by 2020,” Preston explains.

In addition to generating all of the building’s energy needs from solar, the Grow Community will feature heat recovery ventilation systems, energy efficient appliances and LED fixtures, she says.

“Since our lifestyle choices from food and transportation have almost three times the carbon impact our buildings do, we have paid particular attention to community gardens of edible plants, as well as an electric car for our car-share program,” Preston adds.

(See Full Article Here)

The ‘Mora Index’ for growing a connected, freedom-loving kid

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.

By our Health and Happiness Champion, Leslie Schneider

As a 12-year-old, I remember well the territory I was comfortable exploring on my bike with friends and siblings. We could ride on a dirt path from the residential road through an empty lot to the usually vacant parking lot behind Safeway. The empty lot had little hills that helped us hone our bike handling skills. And the Safeway store offered us refunds for empty bottles and plenty of ways to spend the new cash.

These days, as parents we put a lot of money and time into taking care of our kids. Different families make different choices, but the community we live in makes many choices for us too. During the week we drive our kids from one activity to another, and then on weekends we drive to big box stores to provision ourselves for the coming week. These rituals can be fun… come on, admit it, Costco has us nailed, offering free samples of prepared food sold in volume, cheap pizza or a cone at the checkout. But it is not a kid’s world. We don’t feel safe letting our children run around by themselves as we shop.

Going somewhere and buying something… that is what grown-ups do. So isn’t it the Holy Grail of freedom for a kid to be able to get somewhere by themselves and purchase something of high kid-value?  How many parents with school-aged children in your neighborhood would think it safe to send their kids to the grocery store alone? Architect Ross Chapin is an advocate of small scale communities. In his book “Pocket Neighborhoods”, Chapin describes what he calls the “Popsicle Index” – the percentage of people who think it is safe to let their kid walk to a store and buy a Popsicle without adult supervision.

On Bainbridge Island, we are lucky to have Mora’s Ice Cream, surely a part of many families’ ritual outings long before a kid has much independence. So. If you lived within walking distance from Mora’s in downtown Winslow, would you let your daughter walk there by herself to buy a treat?

To reach that Holy Grail safely, a child needs to start much earlier in life with smaller circles of independence, or safety zones that expand with the age and confidence of the child. A safe base creates independence. The Grow Community is designed so that no one ever crosses a street while inside the community. Courtyards between homes are the protected close-in zones, with opportunity to meet the neighbors as the first integration into the larger community. Living in this community, a child will graduate to playing alone at the community center, with helpful eyes watching out for the unexpected.  It takes a community to keep an independent child safe, to contribute to raising independent children.

When children graduate to the outer circles of the community, there are many options for walking and biking—to get to two nearby elementary schools, Ordway and Odyssey, the two Island middle schools, Sakai and Woodward, and the high schools, Bainbridge and Eagle Harbor. The library and a park is even closer. The Farmer’s Market is practically across the street. Hmmm.  Maybe this smaller world helps us stay out of our cars and gives our kids the autonomy they crave a little earlier!

Check out ‘5 Minute Neighborhood for Kids’ also written by Leslie Schneider

Leslie Schneider is a marketing and communications specialist with a history of building community. Leslie has worked with both start-ups and software giants offering messaging, marketing collateral, and training development. She is also a founding member and ‘graduate’ of cohousing, having developed and then lived in Jackson Place Cohousing (near downtown Seattle) for eight years. She served on the cohousing development LLC managing board for five years and was the owner’s representative for the 27-unit condominium construction. You can find her at Office Xpats, a co-working and conference center based on Bainbridge Island.

Alleycat Acres

By Scott McGowan

Three years ago, I participated in my first PARK(ing) Day – an annual, open sourced global event in which people from all walks of life temporarily transform parking spaces into public places.

That day forever changed the way I view how space is utilized in an urban setting. Over the course of the weeks following PARK(ing) Day, I set off to find an answer to the question: How can vacant spaces be used to bridge communities together?

That answer? Alleycat Acres.

Alleycat Acres was born during winter 2010, under the idea to (re)connect people, produce and place through building a network of neighborhood run farms on underutilized urban space.

By early 2011, twelve dedicated, diverse strangers came together to turn this idea into a reality. Together, we worked creatively to build the first farm in Beacon Hill, on a plot of land donated by a retired school teacher. That same summer, we broke ground on a 2nd farm in the Central District; and this year we celebrated our 2 year birthday by breaking ground on a 3rd farm, also in the Central District.

Our farms serve as community meeting grounds – allowing places for people who’d never normally meet to do just that — all while growing a healthier future.  In the two years we’ve been growing, there’s been over 3,000 pounds of food harvested from all of the farms by the hands of more than 1,000 newly made friends – many of whom never have stepped foot on a farm or in a garden. All that produce that was grown? It went right back to everyone who helped it grow, along with one of three neighborhood based food banks that are close to each farm which is delivered by bicycle.

At the heart of our organization is the belief that  food is more than what we eat. To all of us,  it’s a medium through which we can forge intimate, meaningful relationships between people and place. Farming is a medium that reconnects us, both mentally and physically, to our surroundings. Our entire work is based on the collective belief that neighborhood powered urban food systems are key in creating healthy people and healthy places.

With every carrot we harvest, the promise of a better future is visible. Together, as we’ve learned, we can grow forth.

Check out more from Scott McGowan here at the Alleycat Acres Website and on Facebook, as well as his previous blog post on the Grow Blog here.

5 Minute Lifestyle; 5 Minute Neighborhood for Kids

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.

By our Health and Happiness Champion, Leslie Schneider

How did you feel about your neighborhood as a kid?

Before I was even 11 years old I could walk on my own to the library, or to a couple of stores in my neighborhood to spend my dimes and quarters. When I visited my grandparents in the summer, my cousins and I would walk to the public swimming pool or a community center for day camp classes. These memories define my childhood because I was not dependent on adults driving me there. My world had a connected set of places that I could “own.”

In the 5-minute lifestyle of the One Planet Grow Community, our homes are walking and biking distance from many family-friendly destinations, and they become such a part of our lives that we don’t even have to plan for them.  The Grow Community on Bainbridge Island offers so many activities that will live in our kids’ memories as part of where we live.

Here are a few favorites that are great for a range of ages:

The Farmers Market in Winslow

For almost half the year, the Saturday Farmer’s Market in Town Square is just a block away. Kids experience the color and bounty of fresh local food, the energy of the music, and even a marketplace where kids are the artisans and vendors.  Keep walking through the market, and just around the performing arts center is the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum, with fresh displays as well as the longstanding history exhibits. Come home by way of Winslow with occasional visits to the Curious Child for the latest instructional games and toys, and you’ve got a weekly tradition that will live on for years in your kids’ memories.

On any day, a five minute stroll on friendly sidewalks through Winslow gets you and your kids to the playground behind the Town & Country grocery. From there, another 5 minutes on trails through Waterfront Park opens up to the beach. Low tide under the ferry dock is an unbelievable zoo of anemones, at least seven different species of sea stars, and frequent startling spurts from buried clams. A few times each season there are beach naturalists to help identify your finds. Bring rubber boots or water shoes, and don’t forget to buy the makings for dinner at Town & Country (grocery store) on your way back.

Kayaking on the Sound

For the days when weather discourages extended outdoor time, the Bainbridge library is just a five minute walk up the street, and another five minutes lands you at the Aquatics Center for swim lessons or free play in the lazy river or down the 20′ water slide. Diagonally across High School Road from the library and behind the Commodore Options school is the Bainbridge High School Gymnastics Room that hosts many Parks and Recreation classes, including the urban gymnastics for older kids  called Parkour (it’s much safer than jumping between tall buildings).

Five minutes on bikes (or 10 minutes by foot at an adult pace) and you’ll be at the ferry for an excursion to Seattle (and you can lock the bikes in the protected Bike Barn). Or stay on the island for an adventure at the Kids

Biking around the island

Discovery Museum across the street. “KiDiMu”, as it is mostly called, has built a strong following in its new location in Island Gateway, and soon the Bainbridge Art Museum will be another destination in that same campus. On

that same route, kids probably won’t love their appointment at the Virginia Mason clinic, but stop at Mora’s ice cream on your way back and all will be forgiven. In the car-dependent life, we weigh the benefits of a great destination with the costs of our own energy and time getting kids buckled in, travel and traffic, and finally finding parking in the vicinity of the destination. Then there are the real costs of gas and parking and maintenance, but we don’t usually track these carefully, willing to accept an average monthly budget for such necessities. In a car-free 5-minute lifestyle, instead of a hassle, getting there is half the fun!

If you’d like to learn more about the 5 Minute Lifestyle, check out our blog on Sustainable Transportation

Fun at the KiDiMu

Leslie Schneider is a marketing and communications specialist with a history of building community. Leslie has worked with both start-ups and software giants offering messaging, marketing collateral, and training development. She is also a founding member and ‘graduate’ of cohousing, having developed and then lived in Jackson Place Cohousing (near downtown Seattle) for eight years. She served on the cohousing development LLC managing board for five years and was the owner’s representative for the 27-unit condominium construction. You can find her at Office Xpats, a co-working and conference center based on Bainbridge Island.

Construction Update: Trees

The following is a blog post written by Asani President Marja Preston in March 2012 on the subject of trees on the Grow Community construction site. With the second phase of construction beginning, this is again an important subject to explore. Now that construction has begun, we can share more on how we plan on saving and re-using trees on the site.

Protected tree on Grow Community construction site

1. Working with professional arborist Katy Bigelow, we walked through the property to designate significant trees to save and to remove trees that presented a danger to the neighborhood. 

2. Several trees that required removal have been used as stream bank restoration for salmon habitat by the Kitsap County Surface and Stormwater Management Program.

3. Much of the cleared material will be re-purposed on-site for construction material, playground sites, and erosion control.

4. We will be replanting more trees (~250) than we remove.

Here is the original blog post:

Part of the careful planning we’ve put in place for this project includes everyday environmental choices that incorporate the beauty of our surroundings. This project is in the R-14 zone, which, under the new land use code, does not require retention of existing trees on the site.  The Grow project will meet Built Green 5-Star certification, which requires substantial tree retention.  In addition, we are committed to contributing to the long-term tree canopy goal of 50% coverage in Winslow, as outlined in the Bainbridge Island Urban Forest Management Plan.

Lead Architect Johnathan Davis marking trees to be re-utilized in the Grow Community playground.

In order to meet all these goals, our plan is to retain existing vegetation as much as possible. To accomplish this, we continue to work with a professional arborist, Katy Bigelow, to identify the maximum amount of trees that can reasonably be retained with the urban density that is planned.

We have focused on retaining trees in clusters and larger areas, for instance, at the corner of Grow Avenue and Wyatt Way, to maintain native vegetation areas, preserving habitat and maintaining existing green corridors.  In addition, we are planting more than 250 new trees throughout the site.  The new vegetation will enhance the existing green corridors and contribute to stormwater uptake and carbon sequestration, absorbing more than 900 metric tons of carbon over the next 100 years, almost double what the existing trees would have absorbed over that same time period.

As with all projects designed for urban densities, some trees must be removed, as preserving large trees next to new construction rarely works in the long-term.  For the trees that do need to be removed or relocated we are taking the utmost care.  All trees marked for preservation have been fenced at the dripline and no root systems will be disturbed by heavy equipment.  Several Vine Maples have been saved for reuse in the project, a Dogwood is going home with one of our Contractors, several other plants will be going to a local landscaper, and we are working with the Kitsap Conservation District to salvage evergreens for Salmon Restoration projects.

Grow Community in the News: JetsonGreen

Net-Zero Energy Homes in Grow Community

By Preston

This is Grow Community near downtown Winslow on Bainbridge Island in Washington.  The first three model homes — Ocean, Everett, and Aria — are finished and work is moving forward for the next 24 homes and two 10-unit rowhouse apartments.  The eight-acre project is the first residential One Planet Community in North America (issued by U.K. non-profit BioRegional).  However, in addition to this recognition, the aim is net-zero homes and an entirely net-zero energy community by 2020.

(See Full Article Here)

Wondering What’s Going On at the New Construction Site Along Grow Avenue?

Those of you who have driven by Grow Avenue have seen that we have started construction and may be wondering what we are up to.  We have recently begun construction of three model homes that will be prototypes for the Grow Community. The model homes face Grow Avenue and are intended to showcase the different designs and floor-plans which will be available throughout the site. Construction will be complete and the homes available to tour mid-summer.

Grow is the first endorsedOne Planet Community to build residential homes in the United States. A One Planet Community is built to the highest standards for environmental, economic and social sustainability. One Planet takes development beyond the standards of LEED, requiring not only sustainable building design, but sustainable lifestyle design. The Grow project pays attention to every detail – not only how buildings are built, but how people live in those buildings. We at Asani believe that our built environment affects our health and happiness and are building Grow to reflect our needs as social creatures as well as the needs of the planet.  With solar power on the roof, a garden in the backyard and a car share program on-site, it will not only be easy, but affordable and fun to live a zero-carbon lifestyle at Grow.

To accomplish this, our team has designed incredibly energy efficient homes which will provide residents with an easy way to live a carbon-free lifestyle.  We have worked hard to balance cost considerations with the latest in building systems and technologies. The homes you see under construction just now are model homes that will be used to test not only the various energy-efficient building designs and systems, they will also be used to gather feedback on the home layout and design, as well as the One Planet living concept.

The three homes that will be available for touring in the next couple of months are the Aria, the Ocean and the Everett.The Everett, the largest of the group, is a single-family, 3 bedroom dwelling meant to comfortably house a family.  With a study, a mud room, a playroom and endless storage, this is the perfect family house. The Ocean is an intergenerational home designed for main-floor living with a master suite on the ground floor.  A second master suite and roof-top deck on the second floor make this a flexible house for all different living situations. The Aria, a 2-bedroom single family dwelling with a light footprint, has tons of space and is perfect for a young family.

As these homes go up we will be sharing more about the designs and the thought-process behind the sustainability choices we have made.  We will be sharing our mistakes as well as our successes.  We look forward to an open dialogue as we learn and hope that our efforts will spark new and interesting discussions around sustainable design.

Check back next week for more details on the energy-efficient wall designs being tested at Grow and for general construction updates and progress reports. Let us know if you have any questions, comments or concerns here in the comment section, or onFacebook and Twitter.

The Grow Team