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.
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.