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.
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:
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.
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.
Today, BioRegional’s co-founders are two of five social entrepreneurs being awarded the title of Social Entrepreneur of the Year during the 2011 World Economic Forum on Europe and Central Asia in Vienna, Austria, taking place on 8-9 June. The Social Entrepreneur of the Year awards are being led by Hilde Schwab, Co-Founder and Chairperson of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, following the opening plenary of the forum.
BioRegional’s co-founders Sue Riddlestone and Pooran Desai will join a group of leading social entrepreneurs from across Europe and will be active participants providing insights on sustainability and social innovation in the discussions under the meeting’s theme Expanding the Frontiers of Innovation. A dedicated session “Ecosystems for Social Innovation” will bring together civil society and the public and private sectors to share experiences and explore potential opportunities to strengthen and replicate successful models throughout Europe and Central Asia.
“Social entrepreneurs are the driving force behind the innovations that improve the quality of life of individuals around the world,” explained Mirjam Schoening, Head of the Schwab Foundation. “While the primary focus of social entrepreneurs is to make a specific change in one area, such as access to education, affordable housing or unemployment, social entrepreneurs’ approach to delivering a social impact, which uses innovative and effective business models and cross-sector collaborations, has inspired change among governments and in the private sector alike. In effect, social entrepreneurs are not only delivering change to their constituents, they are also transforming the way governments and companies serve their constituents.”
Winners working in France, Germany and the United Kingdom are among 19 Social Entrepreneurs taking part in the meeting, providing an on-the-ground perspective to sustainability and social innovation.
The following five winners have been selected as 2011 Social Entrepreneurs in Europe:
Sue Riddlestone and Pooran Desai – BioRegional – United Kingdom
BioRegional invents and delivers real-life sustainable communities and businesses. This includes partnering in Peabody’s multi-award-winning BedZED eco-village in London where BioRegional has its main base and seven companies including clean tech for the paper industry and local charcoal supplies to national retailers. BioRegional developed the “one planet living” sustainability design and delivery framework out of their practical experience which is now being used by manufacturers, retailers, local authorities and events such as the London 2012 Olympics and in fifty countries around the world. BioRegional has sister organisations or representative offices in North America, China, Greece, Mexico, Australia and South Africa.
Juergen Griesbeck – Streetfootballworld – Germany
Millions of young people around the world are born into a cycle of social injustice with little opportunity to break out. Through the love of football, streetfootballworld brings individuals and organizations together behind a common goal: empowering young people to rise above their circumstances.
Norbert Kunz – iq consult – Germany
Iq consult seeks to lower unemployment, especially in the eastern parts of Germany, by training, mentoring and funding unemployed and disadvantaged people who are looking to become self-employed.
Laurent Laïk – Groupe La Varappe – France
Groupe La Varappe creates jobs in the south of France for people who have been excluded from society. Groupe La Varappe is composed of two main organizations. One is focused on finding temporary employment for people with minimal qualifications. The other organization focuses on three environmental areas: construction and gardening, waste and renewable energies.
About the Schwab Foundation
The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship was co-founded by Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, and his wife, Hilde. Since its inception in 2000, the Foundation has been identifying the world’s leading social entrepreneurs in over 50 countries around the globe. Selected social entrepreneurs of the Schwab Foundation network participate in World Economic Forum events, thus providing unique opportunities for them to connect with business, political and media leaders.
4th June 2011, Oxford
BioRegional’s co-founders are speaking at TEDxOxbridge – an event bringing together over 20 notable activists, business mavericks, designers, engineers, musicians, politicians, and scientists to share their ideas worth spreading. Over 250 carefully-chosen attendees will be coming from both Oxford and Cambridge universities and their networks to explore how commerce, science, technology, and the humanities can collaborate to redraw the lines of business.
The event will take place all day Saturday, June 4th, 2011 at Said Business School in Oxford. Presentations and performances will range from 4 to 18 minutes in length, leaving plenty of space for networking and overflow conversations with fellow attendees and speakers. Afterward, there will be a drinks reception followed by self-organized topical dinners with speakers, and a late-night after-party featuring two DJ guests.
In person tickets for the event are now sold out but you can watch the talks on a big screen for free at the nearby Jamfactory and get tickets for the after party.
Geof Syphers, Chief Sustainability Officer at Codding Enterprises and Kevin Hydes, CEO of deep green building services engineering company, Integral Group, and former Chair of the World Green Building Council (pictured left to right) discuss the relative strengths of One Planet Living and LEED methodologies for sustainable community developments.
Ever been in this situation?
A developer sets out to build a community that will use only half the typical amount of drinking water. He has a clear set of strategies and technologies to cut water use, but is left wondering why environmental groups say he is not doing enough to protect water resources. Exasperated, he asks, “Isn’t this green enough? What more can I do?”
Or maybe this is more like it. Another developer sets out to design a zero carbon neighborhood but gets bogged down along the way. The zero carbon challenge seems to encompass everything from street trees to city bus service. With so many ways in which development seems to impact the climate, the developer has a hard time creating a plan to achieve his vision of zero carbon living. He is overwhelmed and in need of a plan.
These situations are the legacy of two rating systems. But they don’t have to be.
In the first case, the developer used the US Green Building Council’s LEED® rating system, known for encouraging high efficiency, low-impact building and neighborhood developments. The strength of LEED comes from its guideline reference manuals which provide specific recommendations on everything from the amount of fresh air needed in buildings to encouraging development near existing grocery stores, schools and jobs.
The developer working with LEED has an easy time setting a clear performance goal to use less than 50% of the drinking water allowed under a national standard, but has no idea of whether his water efficient project will help or hurt local water resources. By only looking at the project’s performance relative to a standard, he cannot draw any conclusions about the impact on local infrastructure, streams, wetlands and habitat. He has no idea about the actual impact of his project.
In the second case, the developer is using BioRegional’s One Planet Communities® program, a system known for encouraging development where everyone can easily live with a one-planet ecological footprint. The strength of One Planet Communities comes from its reference to absolute impacts like species diversity, aquifer depth and self-reported happiness. These ultimate goals are clearly more important than proximate goals like water efficiency because they actually test for sustainability. A project’s water use that further stresses a limited supply—no matter how efficient—is not sustainable. But because ultimate goals can seem so distant from our day-to-day decisions, the developer looking for a clear plan to reach zero carbon has no idea where to begin.
As LEED and One Planet Communities continue to refine their programs, we are starting to experiment with how the two can work together. At Sonoma Mountain Village in California, both programs are in use, where they perform very different functions. The LEED provides a great collection of best practices and helps the team develop detailed tasks to move toward sustainability, while One Planet Communities provides verification that the sum total of actions suggested by LEED achieves “true sustainability,” meaning that if everyone on Earth lived in identical communities we would need just one planet to provide all of our resources.
The One Planet Communities program also verifies that every action suggested by LEED truly contributes to achieving sustainability. In one example, LEED-ND suggested leaving soil with steep slopes undisturbed, but the process used in One Planet Communities revealed that the berms on site were stockpiled topsoil which needed to be spread to restore soil health, improve community connectivity and support better stormwater controls. But such stories are nuanced and can be difficult to communicate.
The success of any rating system lies in its ability to tell a complex story in a simple way. LEED gained its popularity and effectiveness by doing that for building performance, and used the Olympic standard (silver/gold/platinum) to generate some healthy competition as well. BREAAM offered a similar “ladder to success” with Bespoke, as has Green Star, CASBEE and other programs around the world.
One Planet Communities uses these other rating systems as a baseline standard for issues like efficiency and material selection, and then reaches out to the social, land use and lifestyle issues beyond. This is long overdue, for what good is an energy efficient building if it is full of unhappy people who will not maintain it?
Others are moving in this direction, too. Green-minded groups around the world are shifting focus from single buildings to communities to Ecodistricts, searching for ways to get the most out of our efficient technologies by really looking at what drives social behavior, and it is precisely at this intersection where we need both LEED and One Planet Communities.
One system provides the detailed guidance and performance standards, the commissioning feedback and a competitive spirit. The other keeps us honest, verifies that we are not simply “buying green,” and gets us to consider how the design of a town square can shape our behavior in ways that impacts our health and our environment.
As Sonoma Mountain Village and other projects experiment with using LEED and One Planet Communities together, we will keep you posted on what we learn. So far, it seems like an excellent pairing.