Grow Community is the First One Planet Community in the United States to start construction on Net-Zero Carbon Homes
FROM THE EARTH SUMMIT IN RIO DE JANIERO, BRAZIL TODAY (18.06.2012) – BioRegional, founders of the One Planet Living program, will announce the official endorsement of the Grow Community, an 8-acre urban neighborhood development under construction on Bainbridge Island in Washington State. The Grow Community is dedicated to bringing One Planet Living principles to the United States to provide sustainable homes that allow all generations to enjoy a high-quality lifestyle without the high price.
The project is being built to meet the growing need for sustainable living options in the United States and combines single-family homes, townhomes and lofts in pocket neighborhoods clustered around pea patches and shared outdoor spaces. The Grow Community is set to be ready for touring by prospective home-buyers in mid July, 2012. The design was guided by the local community to go far beyond typical green building practices and create opportunities to live within a truly sustainable ecological footprint.
Speaking from Rio+20, Pooran Desai, Co-founder of BioRegional and international director of the One Planet Communities programme said, “The Summit here has the strapline “The future we want”. The Grow Community is creating a 21st century vision of the American dream – an exceptionally high quality of life which doesn’t damage the planet”.
Taking Sustainable Development Beyond LEED
Based on the 10 guiding principles of sustainability developed by BioRegional, One Planet Living helps communities around the world focus on creating a new kind of quality of life within the sustainable resource limits of the planet. Reaching far beyond LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and other sustainable building certification programs, One Planet Communities address entire lifestyle impacts, with the goal of reducing our overall ecological footprint. The Grow Community is the first of its kind in the United States to start construction on sustainable homes using the 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.
“Grow is a place where residents can live a more connected lifestyle. The site, the buildings and the community amenities are all designed to create spontaneous interactions and foster deeper relationships, from the way the paths cross, to the community center and the urban gardens,” says Marja Preston of Asani, the sustainable development firm behind the Grow project. “We are creating a new type of neighborhood, where health and happiness are an integral part of the living experience, where residents can live comfortably, knowing that their footprint on the planet is considerably lighter and their time is free to focus on the things that matter to them.”
Located immediately adjacent to the center of town, Grow Community will foster a five-minute lifestyle where residents can walk to restaurants, the grocery store, schools and the ferry to downtown Seattle. Schools, the library and cultural opportunities are all within walking distance of the community. The project is expected to create local jobs and support existing local businesses.
Grow Community is Making Sustainable Living Affordable and Easy
With a goal of making low-carbon living both attainable and affordable, Asani has worked with local partners to provide solar panels on each of the homes. Each home is designed to achieve net-zero energy, with enough solar panels on the roof to not only provide enough energy to power the home, but also to create potential economic returns to the homeowners. With lower energy and utility bills, the cost of living in a home in Grow Community will be equal to or less than a typical home in the area. In addition, the car share program at Grow will include an electric car powered by solar panels, creating a zero-carbon transportation option for residents.
The project, the first of its kind in the United States, will test a new concept for urban infill development. Asani and BioRegional will collaborate to create a One Planet Learning Center at the project, to gather feedback and provide information about One Planet Living. BioRegional will monitor the project’s success with achieving the One Planet Living sustainability principles over the next eight years, and Asani is committed to sharing lessons learned to further the conversation on how we can live well, within the resource limits of our planet.
“Working with BioRegional and the One Planet Living framework, has challenged us to design a community that will create the opportunity for people to live a low-carbon lifestyle,” says Marja Preston. “This project will be a prototype for a new type of neighborhood, and we hope it will add value to the discussion on how we can all create new ways of living sustainably in the urban environment.”
BioRegional North America’s Director, Greg Searle added, ‘What Asani is building today will be copied by other developers tomorrow. It has been a privilege working with such a forward thinking company.’
Take a look at Grow’s new site
Keep up to date with BioRegional and partners’ progress at Rio+20
BioRegional and its One Planet partners are currently participating in the Rio+20 Earth Summit to share ideas for sustainable development based on their practical experience in developing communites, regions and businesses using the One Planet principles framework.
Ed Cotter, BioRegional Australia, looks at a mixed use eco-village in Melbourne and sees how attitudes to sustainability are changing.
Back in September 2011, BioRegional and the Centre for Design at RMIT University, hosted a two-day workshop to look at how the principles that underpinned the BedZED eco-village could be brought to Melbourne. At the workshop, some of the brightest mind across the development sector, including property developers, consultants and academics, explored how the use of the One Planet principles might be applied.
One of the development projects that workshop participants looked at, for the potential application of the 10 One Planet principles, was the WestWyck EcoVillage located in Brunswick (Melbourne, Australia).
Influenced by best practice demonstration projects, such as BedZED, the WestWyck EcoVillage has adopted a holistic approach to sustainability, through its commitment to delivering ‘sustainable infrastructure’ and its ethos on fostering a sense of community for residents.
The WestWyck EcoVillage occupies the buildings and grounds of the former Brunswick West Primary School located in inner urban Melbourne. Back in the 1980s the heritage-listed building was threatened to become yet another example of quality inner-urban infrastructure that had lost its original function and faced the bulldozer. Instead, the WestWyck EcoVillage developers, Mike Hill (former mayor of Brunswick)and Lorna Pitt, purchased the land on which the building stood and set about bringing the site back to life as an urban demonstration of sustainable development and high quality urban design.
The first stage in the development of the WestWyck EcoVillage, completed in 2008, featured key initiatives, such as high levels of social connectivity, and an integrated sustainability package of measures that paid close attention to reducing the impacts of energy, water, materials and waste.
The second stage, with construction scheduled to start in 2012, aims to enhance these initial measures and initiatives, while looking to strengthen mobility, connectivity and alternative travel modes to round off the range of sustainability issues addressed by the project.
Mike Hill, Director WestWyck EcoVillage, laughs when he is asked what some of the biggest challenges were for the first stage, and if anything has changed for the second stage.
“When we discussed our plans with the bank for the 1st stage of WestWyck, we were advised to remove several of the social initiatives that were deemed too difficult to provide finance around. This included an extensive garden allotment and a range of communal spaces that helped facilitated interaction between the residents. For the 2nd stage the bank actually recommended that we incorporate the same social initiatives that they had previously advised us not to include. Their reasoning was that in the Brunswick and Moreland area there was a ‘market’ for such initiatives and it added value to the property, with buyers willing to pay for these sustainability features”.
The WestWyck EcoVillage challenged Melbourne’s traditional development model by achieving a high level of social interaction between residents and the surrounding community, while maximising the ecologically sustainable development outcomes of the project. It is a real example of how a smaller development project can effectively incorporate the 10 One Planet principles into its DNA.
The project is set to become one of the first ‘endorsed’ One Planet Communities in Australia.
The WestWyck EcoVillage is part of an international trial network for users of the One Planet Open Source approach to sustainable living. One Planet Open Source is a proposed new initiative to help organisations adopt the One Planet principles with little or no direct liaison with BioRegional. Other projects in Melbourne using the One Planet principles through an Open Source approach include:
WestWyck EcoVillage – http://www.westwyck.com/
The Commons – http://7florence.st/
Cape Patterson EcoVillage* – http://www.capepatersonecovillage.com.au/
If you’re interested in participating in using the One Planet principles please contact Ed Cotter via email on firstname.lastname@example.org
Since 2003, the One Planet framework has been used to develop projects and organisational action plans which are making it can be easy, attractive and affordable for people to live healthy and happy lives within a fair share of the earth’s resources – what we call One Planet Living.
Alongside the work with partners on the flagship One Planet projects and in line with the overall strategy to make the One Planet framework more widely available, we want to make it even easier for you and others to use the framework and so build up a vital common language for sustainability. To do so we are initiating an ambitious new service – One Planet Open Source or OPOS – which will help you and your organisation, project team and key stakeholders to embrace the whole challenge of sustainability.
OPOS will be a web-based, collaborative platform with a supporting user-network. OPOS will be a journey involving an on-line community to help co-create tools and services designed to:
• inspire you with the opportunities that transitioning to One Planet Living brings;
• enable you to learn from – and contribute to – the wealth of knowledge surrounding the 10 One Planet principles; and
• make it easy for you to act on your learning with a dynamic tool for creating One Planet Action Plans online.
A launch of the prototype OPOS site will take place in June 2012 but, in the meanwhile, for more information – or if you would like to be involved in shaping the direction of OPOS – please contact email@example.com.
May 23 – May 24, 2012
Johannesburg, South Africa
This will be an opportunity to be immersed in the ever changing discussion of operating within a low greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions renewable energy intensive world. The growth of clean energy, the associated sustainability impacts and economics, the developing regulatory trends and the growing international legal ramifications of future international accords continues to gain momentum.
This event is designed to provide sector baseline knowledge and impact clarification on a myriad of business, compliance, regulatory and operating categories connected to the industrial ecology, agribusiness, manufacturing, GHGe engineering, sustainability and social responsibility topics. You will gain insight into just what elements of this new paradigm means from an operational and financial standpoint.
Who should attend?
Key decision makers
Executive team members
Trade and industry experts
Business development professionals
Manufacturers and Suppliers
More information at http://www.antimonygreen.com/conferences.html
Pooran Desai, International Director of One Planet Communities and Sarah Aslen, BioRegional South Africa spoke about One Planet Initiatives and work in South Africa at an interview to ‘Responding to Climate Change‘ channel during COP17
Click below to watch the interview:
Ben Gill, One Planet Communities Country Manager, will be speaking during ECOWEEK 2011(12 – 18 December) in Athens, Greece. Details below:
Date: 12 December 2011
Title: Creating Healty & Happy Communities (in a crisis): the One Planet Community approach
For a full programme, please click here.
28th November – 8th December 2011
Durban, South Africa
At COP17 we want to share the lessons from our international portfolio of One Planet case studies with delegates, we are:
- exhibiting in the UNFCCC exhibition and;
- holding a joint side event with the World Green Building Council ‘Voices from South Africa’ taking place in Room 3 at the International Conference Centre at 6.30pm on the 3rd December. For event details please download the flyer.
You can also follow our blog to find out more about our activities and get inside information on the negotiations.
Over two days in September, key decision and policy makers from across industry and government gathered to consider how to tackle the key sustainability challenges facing Melbourne and Australia, both now and in the future. With Melbourne’s population set to grow from four to five million by 2030 and the long life-span of the built environment, it was agreed by attendees that the homes and communities built during this period will help set the course for Melbourne’s form and function into the next century.
On day one, Ralph Horne, Director of the Centre for Design, facilitated proceedings, helping participants to identify the key issues and challenges that they face on their own projects. The day began with our own Pooran Desai giving an overview of BioRegional, BedZED and the One Planet Living principles. Pru Sanderson, former VicUrban CEO, then ran through the sustainability issues that Melbourne faces and identified eight key factors that both industry and government need to address:
1. Too much going right in Melbourne [so no pressure to change]
2. Melbournian’s civic pride
3. Population Growth
4. Density – general a low density city
5. The ‘castle’ mentality
6. Fear of the unknown
7. Power of inertia
8. Fear of engagement
A diverse series of prominent speakers, including Stella Avramopoulos (CEO – Kildonan Uniting Care), David Waldren (Grocon – General Manager) and Kerry Thompson (CEO – Wyndham City Council), then provided insight into a range of issues that they are dealing with on a daily basis; from tight development margins and confusion within the market place to the financial stress of homeowners located on the fringes of outer Melbourne.
That afternoon it was down to business, with attendees working in small groups to ‘unpack’ the issues highlighted by the panel and consider whether BioRegional and the One Planet principles has a role to play in making Melbourne more sustainable. The issues and opportunities highlighted in the session set the agenda for the next day’s workshop.
On day two, Mike Hill, Co-founder of WestWyck EcoVillage, facilitated. Our aims were to identify potential pilot sustainability projects, brainstorm ideas for Open Sourcing the One Planet principles and communicating the benefits of sustainability.
To get things rolling, Mike called for attendees to volunteer projects as case studies and answer the following questions:
- Why would the One Planet principles apply to the project?
- What gaps are there in the sustainability sector tools and support systems?
- How can the One Planet principles help plug the gaps?
- Is there an argument for officially joining the One Planet initiative?
Some of the projects that the One Planet principles were applied to include a large greenfield development site, a small urban infill development, a local council area and a small regional town. Attendees dived straight into this session, working in teams to respond to each of the objectives, while debating how best to apply the One Planet principles.
So, are the One Planet principles useful for urban development in the state of Victoria? The overwhelming response from the attendees was an emphatic YES, followed by – how can we get involved? This is a great start and we’ll keep you updated on further developments…
To find out how you can work with BioRegional to apply Ecological footprinting and the One Planet principles on your next project, please contact us.
BioRegional would like to thank Ralph, Paula and the rest of the team at RMIT University’s Centre for Design who hosted the event in partnership with BioRegional Australia. In addition the BioRegional Australia team would like to thank Mike Hill – without his support this event would never have happened.
In the next edition of One Planet News there will be a feature article on our ideas for Open Sourcing the One Planet principles.
Brighton and Hove’s new planning guidance on Food Growing and Development was inspired by One Brighton .
The purpose of the new Planning Advice Note is to provide some basic technical considerations, as well as offer inspiration, on how food growing can be incorporated into proposals for new developments. Brighton & Hove City Council supports the provision of food growing opportunities within the city as part of its commitment to sustainable development. Click here to download the full document.
One Brighton was one of the case studies mentioned in this new planning guidance. Its rooftop allotments were also featured on Meridian TV.
We are pleased to announce that BioRegional has just won funding from the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office Global Prosperity Fund to help shape supportive policies for low and zero carbon community real estate projects in Chongqing, south west China.
Our Chongqing based team will work in partnership with Vanke, China’s largest real estate developer, to review existing institutional, technical and economic barriers to achieving two emissions reduction scenarios: net zero carbon (in line with the One Planet Common International Target) and a 45% reduction (in line with China’s 12th Five Year Plan targets).
Having identified the barriers the team will then model what support mechanisms would be necessary to enable a real estate project to be commercially viable when meeting the emissions reduction targets. Evidence-based draft policies will then be developed with Chongqing Municipal Government and applied to three low carbon demonstration projects (including BioRegional’s planned Chongqing One Planet Community) in order for policy makers to assess practical feasibility. The findings will be publicly available in Spring 2012.
BioRegional developed the project in response to two existing barriers limiting the growth of low carbon communities in China’s rapid urbanization. Firstly, the perception amongst real estate developers and government that low carbon communities are commercially unviable; secondly, the absence of effective policies which support low carbon real estate development. The importance of sustainable urbanization for China is put into context by the scale of development, for example the urban population is estimated to expand by 350million by 2025 and 40 billion m2 of new floor space will be constructed to accommodate this growth. By tackling these barriers we hope to accelerate the construction of low carbon communities in Chongqing.