After going on summer hiatus last month, I’m back with a noteworthy edition “Evergreen homes” — a monthly series of posts in which I break out the geographical bias and spotlight green residential building projects from my home state of Washington — that spotlights a sustainable community that’s well, grown, since I last wrote about it.

I first featured Grow Community — an enclave of net-zero energy residences located in Seattle's bucolic bedroom community of Bainbridge Island — in July of 2011 after touring an unrelated modular show home designed by the project architect, Jonathan Davis of Davis Studio Architecture + Design, creators of pieceHomes, at the Dwell on Design conference in L.A.
At the time, all I had to share about the 8-acre “pedestrian-oriented, energy-efficient, multigenerational neighborhood” were early renderings and a few key highlights (Community composting facilities! P-Patches! Kayak storage! Minimal parking spaces!). Perhaps one of the more intriguing aspects of Grow — geared to be the largest solar-ready planned community in Washington, by the way — is the fact that it’s the first residential project in the U.S. to be endorsed by One Planet Living's Communities program, a rigorous, 10-tier certification program developed by U.K. nonprofit BioRegional Development Group and WWF International that focuses on the greenness of neighborhoods instead of individual homes.
Now, three of the Asani-developed community’s first three prefab panelized model homes — the Everett, the Aria, and the Ocean — have been installed and are open for tours. These three prefab lovelies will be later joined by two additional home designs, the Tallis and the Dashwood, and a series of rowhouse rentals dubbed the Copper. In total, there will eventually be 50 single-family homes and 81 rental apartments spread throughout the development in “micro-neighborhoods” — small clusters of buildings centered around shared green spaces and community gardens that are connected by a network of trails winding throughout the community. 
Everett, Ocean, and Aria exteriors
Davis, a U.K.-born Frank Gehry alum, relayed to me in an email now that the three first model homes are complete as part of the first 3-acre phase, work will begin next month on the larger second phase: two 10-unit rowhouse apartments and 21 single-family homes. In future phases, the remaining homes and a community center will be constructed.
Prices for the homes begin in the low $300,000s. This is on the affordable side of things considering Bainbridge Island's median home value is $539,000. At 1,846 square feet, the Everett is the largest of the model homes and features three bedrooms, a mudroom (very important in this geographic location), a study, and playroom/office space. The 1,573-square-foot Ocean includes two master bedrooms (or one master bedroom and two smaller rooms upstairs) and roof deck. Designed for downsizing couples or small families, the 1,549-square-foot Aria includes two bedrooms, a study, and a master closet large enough to turn into a nursery or home office.
Each super-insulated (R-38 for the walls and R-60 for the ceilings) home includes a detached storage shed, energy-efficient appliances including induction cook ranges, heat-recovery ventilators, low-flow fixtures, ductless mini-split heat pumps, high-performance windows from Marvin, low-VOC paints and finishes, and the use of locally sourced, sustainable materials throughout. Each home is also (mostly) PVC-free. Plus, to achieve net-zero status, there’s the option to install grid-tied photovoltaic arrays — manufactured in Washington by BlueFrog Solar, nonetheless — to the roofs.
Aria interior
Aria interior
The overall vibe of Grow Community is low-impact, low-key, and centered around “five-minute living." In addition to an emphasis on community gardening, residents will have access to both car share (Nissan Leafs, natch) and bike share programs. The shops, cafes, and other amenities of Winslow (AKA downtown Bainbridge Island) are just a short bike ride or walk away — thus, the “five-minute living” concept — and downtown Seattle's Pier 52 can be reached via a 35-minute ferry ride from Winslow. Having done the Bainbridge/Seattle ferry trek a handful of times before, I can say there’s no better way to decompress after a long day in the office than crossing the Puget Sound during sunset. It’s nothing short of magical.
Overall, the goal of Grow Community is two-fold:
• To create an intentional urban community that enhances the quality of life of its residents by making sustainable lifestyle choices both accessible and cost effective.
• To demonstrate that net-zero energy homes, built with sustainable materials can be constructed and sold at a price point that is replicable on a large scale.
Lots more Grow-related goodness over at the community’s official website where you can learn more about the homes themselves, familiarize yourself with the concept of One Planet Living, view a site plan of the development, and keep up date via an excellent and mighty informative blog. And if you live in the area and intrigued, you can also arrange for a tour of the model homes. I'll be sure to check in with this remarkable project as it continues grows.
Is there a notable green residential building project in Washington that you'd liked to see featured in an upcoming installment of "Evergreen Homes?" Tell me about it in the comments section!
Ocean interior
Everett interior
Past "Evergreen homes"
• City Cabins (Seattle)
• Zero-Energy House (Seattle)
• Alley House 2 (Seattle)
• Columbia Station (Seattle)
• Thomas Eco-House (Stanwood)
• Green Roof House (Seattle)
• Verdant Home (Tacoma)
 The Sentinel (Seattle)
• Zhome (Isaquaah)
• EnviroHouse (Tacoma)
• The Method Cabin (Glacier)
• The Boneyard House (Walla Walla) 
• Natural Balance House (Friday Harbor)
• Art Stable (Seattle)
• Hale-Edmonds Residence (Seattle) 
• Hill House (Winthrop)
• Footprint at the Bridge (Seattle)
• GreenFab prefab home (Seattle)
• Perilstein and Dorsey Residences (Bainbridge Island)
• The Ellis Residence (Bainbridge Island)
• The Pierre (San Juan Islands)
• Davis Residence (Bellingham)

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