Net-Zero Energy Homes in Grow Community

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.

Grow Community was designed by Davis Studio Architecture + Design, creators of PieceHomes (the Modern Living Showhouse at Dwell on Design 2011) and developed by Asani.

There will be community open spaces, gardens, and an urban farm program, as well as car- and bike-share programs.  In addition, residents won’t necessarily need a car in this place.  After about a five-minute bike ride, one can take a 35-minute ferry to downtown Seattle, if that’s where work is.

When all is said and done, Grow Community will have 50 single family homes, 81 rental units, a central community building, as well as some commercial spaces.  While the first three homes were built in a conventional manner, the plan is to transition to modular assemblies going forward.

The homes will be partially prefabricated with wall and roof panels built in an off-site factory.  Once the shell is assembled on-site, finish work is then completed, and the homes are ready in about 3-4 months total.

Each home supports enough photovoltaic panels to provide all the energy needed for the residents.  To do that, the green homes are built with super-insulated walls and roofs, highly efficient windows, mini-split heat pumps, heat recovery ventilators, energy efficient appliances, etc.  They’re also nearly PVC-free and outfitted with sustainably harvested wood siding, low-VOC paints, stains, and sealants, and water-efficient fixtures.

[+] More about sustainable homes in Grow Community on Bainbridge Island.

Photo credits: Anthony Rich, courtesy of Davis Studio Architecture + Design.

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  • lurker

    really pretty. I like the idea of a net-zero community a lot…could it actually make more energy than it uses and have a permaculture landscape for food production???? Dream bigger but what a gorgeous bunch of homes.

    • Preston

      The net-zero community is very rare and with the warm modern feel of these homes, I expect to see Grow Community on the cover of every magazine and newspaper during the next several months. This is an impressive and progressive little project on an island.

      • Grow Community

        Thanks Preston! Let’s hope your prediction comes true :)

  • Philip O’Leary

    the problem is its on a island and isolated from the general population, had this been in seattle or tacoma, or bellvue-redmond they could do alot more good. that being said they are modest homes (though still a bit pricey) which is a nice change of pace.

    • Grow Community

      Thanks Philip! We actually consider our location a plus (only a 35 minute ferry ride to downtown Seattle). One of our top goals was to make the homes as accessible as possible.

      • Philip O’Leary

        dont get me wrong i apprecite what you guys are doing and would love to visit still. its still a step in the right direction.

  • Grow Community

    If you’re interested in learning more about the project, be sure to check out our website (,
    Twitter ( or Facebook (
    Grow Team

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