Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The 'Mora Index' for growing a connected, freedom-loving kid

The following is part of our Five Minute Lifestyle series. Living at Grow Community makes getting out your car easy with all of your local amenities and transportation needs met within a quick 5 minute walk or bike ride away. Our Five Minute Lifestyle posts are dedicated to spotlighting nearby local businesses, transportation options for residents, community resources and the spectacular local attractions of Bainbridge Island and our surrounding community.  

By our Health and Happiness Champion, Leslie Schneider

As a 12-year-old, I remember well the territory I was comfortable exploring on my bike with friends and siblings. We could ride on a dirt path from the residential road through an empty lot to the usually vacant parking lot behind Safeway. The empty lot had little hills that helped us hone our bike handling skills. And the Safeway store offered us refunds for empty bottles and plenty of ways to spend the new cash.

These days, as parents we put a lot of money and time into taking care of our kids. Different families make different choices, but the community we live in makes many choices for us too. During the week we drive our kids from one activity to another, and then on weekends we drive to big box stores to provision ourselves for the coming week. These rituals can be fun… come on, admit it, Costco has us nailed, offering free samples of prepared food sold in volume, cheap pizza or a cone at the checkout. But it is not a kid's world. We don't feel safe letting our children run around by themselves as we shop.

Going somewhere and buying something… that is what grown-ups do. So isn't it the Holy Grail of freedom for a kid to be able to get somewhere by themselves and purchase something of high kid-value? How many parents with school-aged children in your neighborhood would think it safe to send their kids to the grocery store alone? Architect Ross Chapin is an advocate of small scale communities. In his book "Pocket Neighborhoods", Chapin describes what he calls the "Popsicle Index" - the percentage of people who think it is safe to let their kid walk to a store and buy a Popsicle without adult supervision.

On Bainbridge Island, we are lucky to have Mora's Ice Cream, surely a part of many families' ritual outings long before a kid has much independence. So. If you lived within walking distance from Mora's in downtown Winslow, would you let your daughter walk there by herself to buy a treat? To reach that Holy Grail safely, a child needs to start much earlier in life with smaller circles of independence, or safety zones that expand with the age and confidence of the child. A safe base creates independence.

Grow Community is designed so that no one ever crosses a street while inside the community. Courtyards between homes are the protected close-in zones, with opportunity to meet the neighbors as the first integration into the larger community. Living in this community, a child will graduate to playing alone at the community center, with helpful eyes watching out for the unexpected. It takes a community to keep an independent child safe, to contribute to raising independent children.

 When children graduate to the outer circles of the community, there are many options for walking and biking—to get to two nearby elementary schools, Ordway and Odyssey, the two Island middle schools, Sakai and Woodward, and the high schools, Bainbridge and Eagle Harbor. The library and a park is even closer. The Farmer's Market is practically across the street. Hmmm. Maybe this smaller world helps us stay out of our cars and gives our kids the autonomy they crave a little earlier!

Check out '5 Minute Neighborhood for Kids' also written by Leslie Schneider  

Leslie Schneider is a marketing and communications specialist with a history of building community. Leslie has worked with both start-ups and software giants offering messaging, marketing collateral, and training development. She is also a founding member and ‘graduate’ of cohousing, having developed and then lived in Jackson Place Cohousing (near downtown Seattle) for eight years. She served on the cohousing development LLC managing board for five years and was the owner’s representative for the 27-unit condominium construction. You can find her at Office Xpats, a co-working and conference center based on Bainbridge Island.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Grow Solar Part 3: Incentives for Solar

Click here for Part 2 of our Grow Solar Series, where we talk about the energy efficiency measures we’ve taken to make solar power feasible in each home. 

When we set out to build Grow Community, we committed to creating a One Planet community that would allow its residents to live a zero carbon lifestyle without spending extra money or compromising the comforts or quality of life that they desired.  We set an immense challenge for our team:  to design and build zero-carbon houses that could sell for less than or equal to market price.  Our incredible team met that challenge and exceeded our expectations, not only designing zero-carbon, solar powered homes that met our price requirements, but creating homes that are incredibly comfortable and pleasant to live in.  The homes are amazing spaces to be in.  Seriously.  If you haven’t been to the models homes for a tour, check it out.  We think you’ll agree.

We have an even bigger challenge now. To encourage each and every resident to join us in meeting the One Planet Zero Carbon goal for the community.  We think we can do this by making the option to add solar panels to each home an easy choice.  With no-money down financing available for the solar package, and a well-established federal and state incentive program that essentially pays for the solar, there really is no reason not to add solar to each house.  It is our hope that over time each and every building within Grow Community can be powered by solar, bringing the community as a whole closer to the goal of zero carbon living by 2020.  We know it can be done.

The idea of tax credits and incentives for the solar package may at first seem complex, but really it is quite simple.  The incentives available for renewable energy can be broken down into 3 major parts:

1. The most notable of these incentives is a 30% tax credit provided by the federal government to anyone installing renewable energy (Solar, wind, geothermal, etc.) at their place of residence.  As an example, say you purchase a $40,000 solar package.  In the first tax cycle after your purchase, you will receive a tax credit (actual cash – not a deduction) of approximately $12,000.

Here is some additional information from EnergyStar on this tax credit.

2. The second important incentive is provided by Washington State Department of Revenue’s solar power purchase incentive,through Puget Sound Energy (the energy provider on Bainbridge Island). In order to promote both energy efficiency AND Washington manufacturing, solar owners can receive up to $5,000 per year in production incentives until 2020 if they use renewable energy technology manufactured within the state. Grow Community uses solar modules manufactured by Washington-based iTek Energy and solar micro-inverters manufactured by Blue Frog Solar, also a Washington business, in order to maximize this production incentive.

3. Last, but not least, Puget Sound Energy has  a net-metering program where residential homes that use renewable energy can actually provide electricity back to the power grid. Based on typical modeled energy use, by sizing our solar for each home at Grow, and expecting average weather, each resident can end up producing as much as they use.  The result?  Your averaged annual energy bill – Zero.  With potentially rising energy costs over time, the ability to live in a home and not pay for energy has a significant positive impact on annual cost of living – no small consideration.

By working with iTek, Blue Frog, and PSE, to craft a solar package specifically tailored for each house, Grow Community homeowners are able to realize all three incentives: tax credits, power production incentives, and no electric bill each year.   All this results in a payback of 7 to 8 years and a better return on your money than many current investment opportunities. 

We think it’s a no-brainer, but we are interested to know what you think.  Does it make sense?  Do you have questions?

Click here for more information on Washington State solar production incentives.

Stay tuned for Grow Solar Part 4: Financing and Paying off Your Solar Panels.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Net-Zero Energy Homes in Grow Community - JETSON GREEN

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.

click here to read rest of article

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Window into the New: Innovative Design Using Technology Shapes Grow Community on Bainbridge Island For Ultra-Cool Sustainable Living

SMB NATION BLOG - Posted by Tracy Anna Bader

Sustainability is a concept sprouting up everywhere, defining much of what is associated with today’s cutting edge culture. Shedding a stereotype of an idealistic grass-roots environmental movement, today the concept of sustainability is ultra-cool, hip and hot across age and gender groups, a driving force in sales and marketing, taking the lead in shaping modern design and influencing business—using state-of-the-art technology as a foremost ally.
Leading the way in the concept of attractive, affordable, practical solutions for sustainable living in the United States is the new Grow Community on Bainbridge Island, Washington taking root near the heart of the Island’s commercial center in Winslow located only 35 minutes by ferry, directly west across from Seattle in Puget Sound.

As a designer, and University of California Davis Design Department alumni, I am always on the lookout for new trends—especially in environmental design. So, when I stumbled upon Grow Community being built this summer during my initial visit to the Island, I must say, it was love at first sight!  Warm colors and an array of interesting visuals drew my friend and me inside. Other passerby’s stopped in awe, generating a steady stream of pedestrian traffic with a positive vibe of satisfied intrigue…a collective sigh of relief was felt in the air of content excitement to see dreams and concepts actually being turned into a reality we could experience firsthand, and even purchase.

click here to read the rest of this article

Monday, August 27, 2012

There Grows the Neighborhood - BI Review

Bainbridge Island Review Staff Writer
August 24, 2012 · Updated 9:02 AM 

Something is growing in Winslow.

Grow Community — one of a few green communities in the United States — is sprouting at the corner of Wyatt Way and Grow Avenue.

So far, three homes are open to the public as models of the additional single-family dwellings to come in what will be a 131-residential unit complex when complete.

Grow Community is the first residential community in the country endorsed by One Planet Living, a model outlined by BioRegional to make “sustainable living easy and affordable for all,” according to its website.

The idea is to create a way of life where resources from one planet are enough for the world — rather than the estimated five planets necessary, if every person on the planet used resources as Americans do.

Leading the development team at Asani, the Bainbridge development company spearheading the project, is Marja Preston, senior director of development for Grow Community.

[click here to read the rest of this article]

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Save The Date! Model Home Tours Begin at Grow Community; But You Can Get a Sneak Peek

On Friday, August  10th, public tours of model homes begin at Grow Community. Join us! 

The wait is over. Grow Community will begin public tours on Friday, August 10th. This project has been designed, with the help of community volunteers and sustainability experts, as an intentional urban community meeting the 10 Sustainability Principles of the One Planet Living framework. We want to thank everyone who has been involved in the project and who has helped us reach this point, and we invite all of you to schedule an appointment to visit our three model homes. 

You can visit and learn more about Grow Community’s solar-powered, net zero energy homes, the net zero car share program and the community garden at www.growbainbridge.com

Want to make an appointment?

The model homes will be available for walk-ins daily from 9-5. If those times don’t work for you, call us and schedule an appointment. We’re happy to accommodate you. Please call Joie Olson at: 206-452-6755. 

Where to find us: 

Grow Community Bainbridge
450 Grow Avenue NW,
Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
T: 206.452.6755
Email: live@growbainbridge.com

directions to grow community bainbridge
Are you coming from the ferry? Here’s the ferry schedule.


Off the ferry, turn left onto Winslow Way E. 
Turn right onto Madison Ave N. 
Turn left onto Wyatt Way NW.
Turn left onto Grow Avenue. 
We’re on the left at 450 Grow Avenue. You can’t miss us! 

We can’t wait to meet you and walk through the model homes with all of you! Make sure to check out our Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest page for regular updates on our progress and for pictures of Grow Community. 
Grow Team

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Rio+20: BioRegional endorses the Grow Community as a One Planet Community.

We’re excited to announce that Pooran Desai, founder of BioRegional and champion of the One Planet Living framework, announced at Rio+20 today the official endorsement of the Grow Community as a One Planet Community. Calling it, ‘the best place to live in the USA’, Pooran introduced the Grow Community, and Asani, to a diverse group of international leaders and business leaders as a turning point in North American sustainable development.
From BioRegionalIn July 2005, CNN/Money and Money magazine named Bainbridge Island the second-best place to live in the United States. Even Brad and Jennifer (when they were married) were spotted looking at potential real estate on the island.  Well, there is a community now being constructed on Bainbridge Island which might push Bainbridge Island into that top spot.   

Interested in learning more about One Planet Living, and what it means for our future? Check out this video with Grow Architect, Jonathan Davis, of DavisStudioAD:

Weekly construction update! Learn how the Grow Community is building energy efficiency (and savings) right into the walls.

A lot has been happening at the Grow Community construction site this week and we want to make sure you’re kept in the loop! Last week we talked about the air barrier being put up on the Aria which left some residents wondering if we were painting all of the homes at Grow black. We know that with a project this size there will be lots of questions and general curiosity from the community, so read on for your weekly digest of construction updates at the Grow Community and please let us know in the comments if you have any feedback or if there’s anything specific you would like us to address in a future blog post. 
Energy is the Name of the Game at Grow this Week 
Energy efficiency is about more than turning down the heat.  And we have always said that living at Grow isn't all about warm beers and cold showers.  While residents will need to be mindful of their energy use in order to achieve net-zero energy in their homes, we have put an incredible amount of thought into how we can design homes that will be inherently energy efficient, and even more than that, homes that will be comfortable. You won't be chilly in these homes. We promise.   
In order to achieve this, it’s necessary to build the savings right into the walls. Creating enough solar energy to power an entire home with the amount of space available on most roofs’ is very difficult, so the goal is to eliminate enough heat loss (during the winter), control heat gain (during the summer) and to tighten up the energy systems within the home to keep power needs to a minimum. The cheapest energy in the world is that which is not used.
After much exploration of different types of wall systems, we settled on double-stud walls, which you can see a cross-sectional view of in the picture to the left.  Most homes are built with a layer of insulation within a single 6-inch wall. The homes at Grow are using a double wall system of two, 2x4 walls. This wall system creates insulated areas with a 1" thermal break between them which greatly reduces heat loss and gain, keeping the home warm during the winter and cool during the summer. Combining the efficiency of the walls with the waterproof air barrier system we have put on the outside, the home is essentially given a shell with an R-Value more efficient the Washington State Energy Code requires. Greg Lotakis, our Project Manager on the Grow Community construction site, described it as being as if the home were, “wearing a thicker jacket, but in this case, it’s not just about keeping you warm, but also about keeping you cool in the Summer months”. 

Grow Drinks Was a Huge Success! Thank You all For Participating!

Our second Grow Drinks was a huge success! We really enjoyed meeting with everybody and being able to share our vision and ideas for the Grow Community and to hear all of your feedback and listen to your thoughts.

We had expected to give a simple presentation and then mingle with the crowd, but instead, an amazing thing happened: 

Our simple presentation turned into a lively round-table style discussion that felt truly unique and collaborative. We felt very connected to the community and everyone who's interested in the project in that moment. It's extremely important for us to be able to enter into conversations about the Grow Community and One Planet Living so we can design a better community for all.

We were honored to have Geof Syphers, an early proponent of the One Planet Living framework in North America, and lead on the Sonoma Mountain Village project, join our discussion and to be able to provide his insight and experience with One Planet Living and sustainable development.

So, in the spirit of last night's event, we invite you to keep the conversation moving forward with us and to please send us your thoughts here on the blog, on Facebook and Twitter or to join our mailing list for news and updates. 

Don't forget to mark your calendars for our next Grow Drinks, on July 12th! But don't worry, we'll send you an update to remind you. 

Thank you!

The Grow Team 

Wondering What's Going On at the New Construction Site Along Grow Avenue?

Those of you who have driven by Grow Avenue have seen that we have started construction and may be wondering what we are up to.  We have recently begun construction of three model homes that will be prototypes for the Grow Community. The model homes face Grow Avenue and are intended to showcase the different designs and floor-plans which will be available throughout the site. Construction will be complete and the homes available to tour mid-summer.

Grow is the first endorsed One Planet Community to build residential homes in the United States. A One Planet Community is built to the highest standards for environmental, economic and social sustainability. One Planet takes development beyond the standards of LEED, requiring not only sustainable building design, but sustainable lifestyle design. The Grow project pays attention to every detail - not only how buildings are built, but how people live in those buildings. We at Asani believe that our built environment affects our health and happiness and are building Grow to reflect our needs as social creatures as well as the needs of the planet.  With solar power on the roof, a garden in the backyard and a car share program on-site, it will not only be easy, but affordable and fun to live a zero-carbon lifestyle at Grow.

To accomplish this, our team has designed incredibly energy efficient homes which will provide residents with an easy way to live a carbon-free lifestyle.  We have worked hard to balance cost considerations with the latest in building systems and technologies. The homes you see under construction just now are model homes that will be used to test not only the various energy-efficient building designs and systems, they will also be used to gather feedback on the home layout and design, as well as the One Planet living concept. 

The three homes that will be available for touring in the next couple of months are the Aria, the Ocean and the Everett.The Everett, the largest of the group, is a single-family, 3 bedroom dwelling meant to comfortably house a family.  With a study, a mud room, a playroom and endless storage, this is the perfect family house. The Ocean is an intergenerational home designed for main-floor living with a master suite on the ground floor.  A second master suite and roof-top deck on the second floor make this a flexible house for all different living situations. The Aria, a 2-bedroom single family dwelling with a light footprint, has tons of space and is perfect for a young family.

As these homes go up we will be sharing more about the designs and the thought-process behind the sustainability choices we have made.  We will be sharing our mistakes as well as our successes.  We look forward to an open dialogue as we learn and hope that our efforts will spark new and interesting discussions around sustainable design.

Check back next week for more details on the energy-efficient wall designs being tested at Grow and for general construction updates and progress reports. Let us know if you have any questions, comments or concerns here in the comment section, or on Facebook and Twitter.

The Grow Team

Is Johnny Cash Moving to Grow Avenue?

We’ve been getting a lot of questions at the GROW site regarding the new homes being built along Grow Avenue. Mostly, people seem interested in the progress on the site, when the homes are going to be ready for touring, and why they appear to be being painted black and if we plan on leaving them like that. Our Project Manager, Greg Lotakis, laughed and said he thought it looked like Johnny Cash - the infamous ‘Man in Black’ - was moving to the Grow Community.

You might be a little disappointed to learn that the late, great Johnny Cash is not moving to Bainbridge Island. You will, however, be happy to learn that we aren’t planning on building black homes along Grow Avenue, but are instead, in the process of building some of the most energy efficient homes in North America.

What you’re seeing going up on the first model home at the Grow Community is a weather resistant barrier system called Enviro-Dri, created by Tremco. We chose Enviro-Dri, as opposed to more familiar home sheaths like Tyvec, because the product is top in its class for weather resistant barriers and works for the life of your home to remove moisture and fight molds and mildew, an important aspect to home building in the Pacific Northwest.  

Each of the three model homes will be constructed using slightly different wall systems and materials.  We will be testing and monitoring each combination for effectiveness and cost efficiency.  The next home will be coated with a similar product called StoGuard Gold Coat

As we learn more through the application of each of these different products, we will be posting our thoughts and inviting your feedback.  Let us know in the comments if you have any questions or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news and information on the Grow Community project.

The Grow Team.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Share Common Ground

More boomers are opting for smaller neighborhoods with a bigger sense of community

Pocket neighborhoods are small on space but big on community. — Photo by Misha Gravenor
Rosemary Fowler calls them "the parade of gawkers." Every night after dinner, as she sits in the white wicker chaise on her front porch, she sees them stream by to check out her cozy neighborhood-in-the-making.

See also: Pocket neighborhood slideshow.

The Carmel, Ind., nurse, 56, is not surprised that her sunny yellow house, and the seven other two-story cottage-style homes in various stages of completion, are attracting attention. Instead of a street separating the $225,000-to-$400,000 homes that face one another, a landscaped courtyard divides them. Visitors walk to the front door of each home through a common walkway.

Although the houses are clustered together, their layouts ensure privacy: The houses may be close, but if one has large windows on one side, the wall of the house next door will be windowless. Each cottage has a picket fence in front.

Eventually, the development, called Inglenook, will have 27 cottages in groups of six or eight ranging from 1,000 to almost 2,200 square feet.

Fowler, who bought the small three-bedroom home and shares it with her best friend, Becky Meadows, 60, has not regretted her move from her bigger house and yard. "This is beautifully designed, easier to maintain and gives me more time to get to know my neighbors," she says.

Not that there are any yet. Fowler and Meadows are the new kids on the block in fact, the only kids in Indiana's first pocket neighborhood. Developer Casey Land is writing new contracts, so it's only a matter of time before Fowler will chat with neighbors hanging out on their porches. "I'm going to be part of a close-knit community where people look out for one another, socialize and when needed, take care of each other," says Fowler. "I fell in love with the concept."

A what?
Chances are, you will be hearing more about pocket neighborhoods. This increasingly popular housing option generally consists of a dozen or so compact houses or apartments that share common or green space. That might be a pedestrian walkway, garden, courtyard or shared backyard or alley. Central mailboxes give neighbors even more opportunities to interact.

Backyards are typically small, with the focus on the front especially those porches. Usually, pocket homes have an open floor plan and are newly constructed, but could also be in an existing enclave. Regardless, they are tucked into "pockets" of a neighborhood or part of a larger new development, often near walkable destinations like shops and restaurants.

Parking, you ask? Pockets may have a separate parking area or attached garages, but they deemphasize the automobile mentality, where drivers pull into garages and disappear into houses until it's time to hop back into the car. Instead, the architecture emphasizes forming relationships with neighbors.

Click here to read the rest of this article

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A Vist from Pooran Desai, Co-founder of BioRegional

Pooran Desai, Co-founder of BioRegional and International Director of One Planet Communities visited with our Grow Community team today.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

INTRODUCING GROWdrinks - May 10th


Thinking about living at Grow Community?  Would you like to meet others who are? Join us for a positive evening of connection:  see a short, thought-provoking film, drink some wine, eat some cheese, and partake in some stimulating conversation.

May 10th, 7-9pm at OfficeXPats in the Pavillion – Bainbridge Island.  Don’t miss the fun!

If you are interested in connecting please RSVP to info@growbi.com and mark the date on your calendar!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Tulane University Students Visit Grow Community

We were thrilled to have 16  graduate students in a Sustainable Real Estate Development program, from Tulane University in New Orleans, visit with us yesterday to learn more about Grow Community and its One Planet framework, and to learn about our commitment to both economic and social sustainability.  Thank you for visiting with us and sharing your valuable insights.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

New Art Museum Renderings

Trees at Grow Community Construction Site

Part of the careful planning we’ve put in place for this project includes everyday environmental choices that incorporate the beauty of our surroundings. This project is in the R-14 zone, which, under the new land use code, does not require retention of existing trees on the site.  The Grow project will meet Built Green 5-Star certification, which requires substantial tree retention.  In addition, we are committed to contributing to the long-term tree canopy goal of 50% coverage in Winslow, as outlined in the Bainbridge Island Urban Forest Management Plan.   

In order to meet all these goals, our plan is to retain existing vegetation as much as possible. To accomplish this, we continue to work with a professional arborist, Katy Bigelow, to identify the maximum amount of trees that can reasonably be retained with the urban density that is planned. 

We have focused on retaining trees in clusters and larger areas, for instance, at the corner of Grow Avenue and Wyatt Way, to maintain native vegetation areas, preserving habitat and maintaining existing green corridors.  In addition, we are planting more than 250 new trees throughout the site.  The new vegetation will enhance the existing green corridors and contribute to stormwater uptake and carbon sequestration, absorbing more than 900 metric tons of carbon over the next 100 years, almost double what the existing trees would have absorbed over that same time period.

As with all projects designed for urban densities, some trees must be removed, as preserving large trees next to new construction rarely works in the long-term.  For the trees that do need to be removed or relocated we are taking the utmost care.  All trees marked for preservation have been fenced at the dripline and no root systems will be disturbed by heavy equipment.  Several Vine Maples have been saved for reuse in the project, a Dogwood is going home with one of our Contractors, several other plants will be going to a local landscaper, and we are working with the Kitsap Conservation District to salvage evergreens for Salmon Restoration projects.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Recycled Homes at Grow Site

Construction is officially underway at the Grow Community job site. All materials from the homes being dismantled at the site are being donated to Habitat for Humanity to be re-used on the future home of a person in need.

Click here to learn more about Habitat for Humanity.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Trees for Global Benefits Fundraiser - Thank You!

A huge THANK YOU to all who came to our TREES FOR GLOBAL BENEFITS fundraiser.  With the help of the Lorax we raised $1800 for EcoTrust, Uganda.

Still interested in donating to this important program?   
Send checks to:
Plan Vivo Foundation
710 John Nelson Lane NE
Bainbridge Island, WA 98110

click here to learn more

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Morales house remodeled to sustainable glory - BI REVIEW

Bainbridge Island Review Staff Writer
March 16, 2012 · Updated 11:36 AM

Richard D. Oxley
Tallis, 2, climbs on his dad Craden Henderson at the Morales home open house. Henderson, along with his company PHC Construction, helped lead the remodeling efforts for the home.
Island farmers and contractors celebrated a win last week with the completion of the Morales farmhouse, a model for farming and sustainability on Bainbridge Island.
“It’s a showcase that volunteers really can get together and do something of significance in a community,” said Craden Henderson of PHC Construction. “And that sustainability does matter and it’s cost effective.”
Friends of the Farms hosted an open house March 10 to show off the remodeled home. Another open house for the public is scheduled for 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 24.
The house will be home to interns working on local farms. According to Wendy Tyner, executive director of Friends of the Farms, affordable housing is a barrier that interns face. 
Tyner said interns will live at the house for approximately a year.
“It is a time for people to live someplace, learn about farming, and hopefully move on and have some skills,” Tyner said. “And they will hopefully understand how to write a business plan and become a viable farmer.”
Tyner hopes that after receiving applications from local farmers with interns, the house will have renters by April 1. Interns will pay $50 a month plus utilities.
“It’s become more and more apparent there are more and more interns that need housing,” said Bart Berg of Friends of the Farms. 
“And every year there is this scramble for where these interns will live. And they don’t make much money,” he said.
Originally built in 1953, the 1,000-square-foot residence was home to the Morales family, who locally farmed strawberries and vegetables. The city purchased the house with open space funds about 10 years ago.
Various farmers previously used the house to dry vegetables and seeds.
The house sat vacant for nearly a decade until last year when Berg started an initiative to restore the home.
While Berg was making a number of phone calls to local companies seeking assistance, he came across Craden Henderson with PHC Construction.
“PHC thought about it and we just decided to do all the remodeling ourselves,” Henderson said. “It’s in the range of $80,000 to $100,000 of volunteer dollars from PHC and all of its subcontractors.”
Friends of the Farm kicked in $15,000 to $20,000 of their own funds for the project as well.
Seven months ago, crews began stripping out all the old electric wiring, plumbing and other unusable material. Mold had been discovered since the city took on the property, and that had to be remedied as well.
Henderson praised the project’s use of sustainable materials, such as bamboo flooring and environmentally friendly foam insulation.
“A lot of the time, the insulation is petroleum-based, which isn’t great for the environment,” Henderson said. “This is soy-based, and it has really great insulation properties.”
By assessing air leaks and other deficiencies in the house, Richard Perlot of Heat Holders also contributed to the home’s sustainability by making it more energy efficient. 
Perlot said that most homes in Washington use about 25,000 kwh, and Washington state has a goal of making homes more energy efficient operating with a target of 12,500 kwh. 
The Morales house was such a success; it beat the state standard by 20 percent and uses only 10,000 kwh of energy.
“It makes a really nice way to knitting together suitability through farming with sustainability with architecture and construction,” Henderson said.

PHC had help from a number of subcontractors who all donated time, materials and money to help make the Morales house a success.

Air Systems Engineering, Inc.
Bird Electric Corp.
Premier Spray Foam
Anderson Windows and Doors
AP Plumbing
Fluid Concrete and Design Studio
Johnstone Supply
Kitsap Conservation District
Paradigm Building Contractors
CHC Painting
Christian Berg Woodworking
Romark Corporation
Mark Purdy Tile and Installation
Heat Holders
RE Power Bainbridge
Schmidt's Home Appliance and Sleep Center

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Adapting to the Future

By Jon Quitslund

Architecture is a social art. It becomes an instrument of human fate, because it . . . shapes and conditions our responses. . . . It modifies and often breaks earlier established habit. (Richard Neutra, 1958)

On February 9th, the proponents of the Grow Community development finally had their chance to present the project to the Planning Commission, and a three-hour meeting was devoted to the formal presentation, Q & A with Commission members, and public comment.
It was a lively evening, with none of the droning explanation and passive listening that sometimes settles over the Council chambers for long intervals.  There was a good audience for the proceedings.  I was present with other citizens who had contributed to the project’s ‘Sustainability Action Plan,’ a book-length document that provides the rationale for a somewhat utopian community.

Several aspects of the project were given a good going-over by members of the Planning Commission and concerned citizens.  Impacts on traffic, characteristics of the faces that the buildings on Wyatt will turn toward Wyatt Ave., plans for handling surface water, and the adequacy of pathways through the open spaces between Wyatt Ave. on the north and Madison Ave. on the east were all discussed. And the need for adequate parking came up, of course: more on that later.

These were all legitimate concerns, touching on problems of first importance to the architect and other contributors to the project.  From the beginning, it has been crucial to provide for dynamic relationships of the residents and the built environment of the new community with its near neighbors and the Island as a whole.

Several people expressed a hope that as this innovative project takes shape, with the developer assuming responsibility for its boundaries, the City and various citizen groups will coordinate efforts to improve the infrastructure of roads, trails, and sidewalks beyond those boundaries.

Just maybe, we can break free of a tendency toward reactive, piecemeal, and contentious responses to our problems and opportunities, and commit to projects that fit into long-range plans.  We could, simultaneously, increase vitality in neighborhoods and provide attractive connections of each place with others.

When I had an opportunity to comment, I started with the quotation from the architect Richard Neutra that appears at the beginning of this post.  “Architecture is a social art.”  The Grow Community project is a bold instance of architecture as a social art.  Many people – both professionals and amateurs – have contributed to the project, and many more will be involved in its unfolding.

When it is imaginative and original, architecure “becomes an instrument of human fate.”  Richard Neutra’s thoughts about the architect’s social role, shaping behavior and breaking established habits, emerged against the backdrop of 20th-century modernism in the International Style.

The two decades after the end of WW II were an epochal time for architecture in the United States, and for the planning and building of cities and suburbs, with all the infrastructure needed to provide people and commerce with a mobility to match the era’s prosperity and its newfound need for convenience, efficiency, and freedom.  Real progress in the quality of life for the great majority of Americans was achieved in those decades, but in recent years it has become clear that some Faustian bargains were made.

Now the devil’s at the door.  Cheap energy and the other non-renewable resources that made the American dream possible aren’t so cheap any more, and efforts to keep fossil fuels cheap are wrecking our environment.  Land isn’t cheap either, except in places where cities, towns, and suburbs are blighted and jobs are scarce.

Mobility is still important, but sometimes it’s problematic.  People love to travel, but long commutes by car are less and less feasible.  We’re getting more aware of mpg ratios, more interested in carpooling and the availability (or not) of public transportation.  Those who are fit and brave enough to commute by bike or scooter are envied; likewise, those who can walk to work or work at home.

Which is more important: high speed internet access, or hassle-free driving, anywhere, any time?  I think our culture is already redefining mobility, and reexamining the priorities that shape how we spend our time, how much stuff we need to own, what big-ticket purchases our incomes must support, and what we can do without.

Concern for the environmental impacts of an acquisitive lifestyle isn’t the only factor that’s driving these cultural changes, nor is the current economic downturn and the dim prospects for a return to go-go growth.  Thoughtful people are considering in fresh ways what choices and activities make them happy, and what circumstances really contribute to their security.

These changes, and others related to them, are already shaping our future, regionally and right here on Bainbridge.  Which brings me back to the Grow Community, and to the proposition that the architects who build a community can modify and even break established habits.

Marja Preston acknowledged that the prices for units in the new neighborhood are not “affordable” by conventional measures, but she pointed out that if the community’s emphasis on teamwork, common property, and cost-sharing means that you won’t need a car of your own, or a washer and dryer, and if much of your food comes from community gardens, then the total cost of living there won’t be so high after all.

Members of the Planning Commission asked the designers to find room for more parking spaces before the project is fully built out.  I seriously doubt that they will be needed.  We don’t know what the future will hold, so things have to be done step by step, adapting positively to contingencies and possibilities.  I hope this process won’t be hindered by outdated assumptions.

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Art of Creating an Art Museum - Bainbridge Island Review

Bainbridge Island Review Staff writer
February 24, 2012 · 2:23 PM

As winter comes to an end, the island’s bare branches might appear lifeless – but if you look closer, you’ll find them covered in buds just waiting to burst.

You might make that same conclusion looking at the site of the future Bainbridge Island Museum of Art.

Its gray foundation mirrors winter’s bleak skies, but like the tulips and daffodils, a lot is going on below the surface. Literally.

The museum, aiming for environmentally friendly LEED gold designation, took a detour to incorporate geothermal heating, digging 14 underground wells that will draw heat from the earth. That’s in addition to plans for solar panels on the roof; use of recycled materials, including insulation made from old denim; a vegetated roof garden and a “living” wall. The building, designed by Bainbridge resident and architect Matthew Coates with input from the community, would be the first museum in Washington state and one of only a handful in the country to earn that designation.

“It’s not easy for museums to qualify because they have a high energy need – to keep the temperature and humidity constant for the art, along with high lighting requirements,” Coates said.

And while Coates contemplates possible gold status,

BIMA’s Executive Director Greg Robinson is pretty excited about the basement.

“It’s not a space that a lot of people think about,” he said. “It’s not the sexiest part.”

It’s important to Robinson because it contains the museum’s archival space for art storage, a loading dock, offices and the mechanical rooms. In other words, it’s the guts of the museum, and essential to behind-the-scenes magic. Attention was paid to meet the highest museum standards to be eligible to host exhibits from other museums in the region.

Above ground, Phase I includes the 95-seat auditorium which has already been used for plays, documentary screenings and civic events, and classroom space which hosted numerous KiDiMu summer camps last year, as well as an ongoing Life Drawing class on Tuesdays.

Learning curve
The building’s curve will lead visitors toward the entrance, and the generous use of glass allows people to see into the museum.

“We wanted it to be accessible, approachable, inviting,” Coates said. “Not just a box with cool stuff in it.”

“Sherry Grover taught me about public spaces,” said Cynthia Sears, the museum’s initiator. “People want to know they’re not going to be trapped; they want to know how something works, that they can move at their own pace and won’t get stuck with someone lecturing them.”

Once inside the lobby and reception area, an adjacent orientation gallery will enable docents and teachers to orient small groups and relay “museum manners” before setting off on an aesthetic adventure. That area spills out into the permanent collection gallery and an adjacent children’s and youth-focused space that might house art by kids – or art that is of interest to them.

Around the corner is a small gift shop that will carry touchstones, not trinkets.

From there, the Grand Hall leads to a dramatic staircase that ascends along the building’s curved wall of windows.

The top floor will house revolving exhibits in the main gallery and in the intimate spaces of the Sherry Grover Room and the Beacon Gallery, named for its visibility to those traveling by ferry.

A 300-square-foot roof terrace and garden overlooking the courtyard has been named in honor of Island Treasures  and early museum supporters George Little and David Lewis.

An elevator (or stairs) will take visitors to the small cafe or back to the lobby.

The overall size is ample but not intimidating and natural light, greenery and natural materials will add warmth to the space as well.

A beacon
From the beginning, the project has been charmed, not only in landing such a fortuitous location, but in drawing a team of talented, gracious people.

Board member and engineer Ralph Spillenger, formerly in charge of NASA facilities, has been instrumental in shaving $1 million off building costs, said Sears. “He checks everything. And he’s one of the nicest human beings I’ve ever met.”

Coates is so local people forget he’s a nationally acclaimed architect – whose specialty happens to be environmentally progressive buildings.

“It’s been a huge honor to be involved in this project,” he said (repeatedly).

Even one of the building’s design elements metaphorically reflects the magnetic draw the project has had, and will have into the future. When lit, a two-story glass structure facing the corner will act as a beacon, visible from the water and to those pulling in from the ferry.

To learn more, or to get involved, visit www.bainbridgeartmuseum.org.
Contact Bainbridge Island Review Staff writer Connie Mears at cmears@bainbridgereview.com or 206-842-6613.

Friday, February 3, 2012

"The Lorax" Trees for Global Benefits Fundraiser - March 3rd!


The Lorax is coming to
Bainbridge Island!

We hope you will join us for a private showing of Dr Seuss'
"The Lorax" on opening weekend to raise funds to support EcoTrust - Uganda's Trees for Global Benefits initiative.

Your ticket will grant you access to our pre-movie reception where we will have refreshments and kid-friendly activities, followed by a private showing of Dr Seuss' "The Lorax" movie.  All proceeds from ticket sales will support EcoTrust - Uganda's TREES FOR GLOBAL BENEFITS initiative, assisting small farmers in Uganda to plant and maintain trees, a program that helps to offset global carbon impacts while improving economic opportunity.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

DJC: Kitsap County gets its first LEED gold office

Daily Journal of Commerce
Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A development firm named Asani teamed up with PHC Construction and Coates Design Architects to turn a neighborhood eyesore into an energy efficient building.

All three companies now have their offices in the Granero Office Building on Bainbridge Island.  Asani said the project recently became Kitsap County’s first LEED gold building.

The structure was a municipal shed built in the 1950s and used for truck maintenance.  Today, it is an energy efficient, light-filled office space.  The project was completed in 2009.

Marty Sievertson, owner and president of PHC Construction, said he was delighted to participate in the project and is happy with the results.  “Our people really enjoy the open airy feel and collaborative work environment that was created here.”

More than half of the original structure was reused.  The new building has exterior shades to reduce light pollution, extremely low-water fixtures including waterless urinals and dual-flush toilets.  The landscaping requires no irrigation.  Interior lights are on timers or occupancy sensors and 75 percent of the building is daylit.  FSC wood was used for the majority of the framing and all composite wood is free or urea formaldehyde.

The building is near the Bainbridge Island ferry terminal at 710 John Nelson Lane N.E.  Nearby bus routes offer alternative commuting options.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Grow Community Workshop - Friday Jan. 27th

A huge thank you to everyone who attended the Grow community-building workshop last Friday.  We were inspired, amazed and humbled by your interest and your incredible ideas.  We look forward to more thoughtful discussions as we develop a new model for living at Grow Community.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

KITSAP SUN: Bainbridge art museum's opening delayed a year

By Tristan Baurick
Published Sunday, January 22, 2012

— The slow pace of fundraising and construction has delayed the opening of the West Sound's first art museum by at least a year.

The Bainbridge Island Museum of Art had planned to open its state-of-the-art, $13 million facility on Winslow Way by mid-2012. Now, the opening date isn't likely until late spring or early summer 2013, and is contingent on a $2.3 million fundraising push that museum supporters hope to finish before the summer construction season.

"We were just not making enough (fundraising) progress for it to be responsible of us to move on to the second phase," said Chris Snow, a member of the museum's board, which took shape in 2009.
Last year, the nonprofit museum opened an office, classroom and 95-seat auditorium in an Island Gateway commercial building that will eventually connect with the museum's main exhibition building, which had its foundation completed early this month. The design for the finished building calls for a two-story wedge of steel and glass jutting toward the high-traffic Winslow Way-Highway 305 intersection.

Museum supporters say it will be a landmark building seen by nearly all who visit Winslow by ferry or travel in via the highway.

Totaling 20,000 square feet, the museum will have room for a permanent contemporary art collection, traveling exhibitions, retail space and a coffee shop. The permanent collection will specialize in Bainbridge and Northwest artists.

The museum has raised just over $11 million of its $15.3 million capital campaign goal. The money raised beyond construction costs will help pay for the museum's three-person staff and other operating costs.

The $2.3 million that museum supporters hope to raise in the coming months would boost the board's confidence before it green-lights the final construction phase.

"We just couldn't keep going with construction and sleep well at night," said Snow, who is expected to take over as board president this month.

Fundraising slowed after an initial flurry of dollars from local donors. The museum is searching for off-island funding from corporations, private foundations and government granting agencies before it begins a drive for smaller contributions from individuals and families.

"Initially, we worked with the founders and board members and the relationships they have in funding circles," said Greg Robinson, the museum's executive director. "Now, we're trying to go more broadly."

The museum's biggest success in the broader fundraising arena was obtaining a $502,000 grant from the state last year.

"That helps us leverage other funds," Robinson said. "It's kind of like a ... seal of approval."

A key to drawing dollars from large foundations and corporate donors is proving the museum has strong local support, Robinson said.

That's part of the reason the museum began offering its 60-person capacity classroom and auditorium to various cultural and nonprofit groups for free during the summer. The museum began charging fees for its facilities during the winter.

Kitsap Regional Library, the Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce and Sustainable Bainbridge have used the auditorium for community gatherings. The newly formed Winslow Art Center makes regular use of the classroom for drawing and calligraphy classes.

The neighboring Kids Discovery Museum (KiDiMu) has held a summer camp and musical theater performances in the museum's spaces.

"We've been very, very grateful to them," said Susan Sivitz, KiDiMu's executive director. "With the extra space, we were able to double the number of offerings during our summer camp."

The two museums plan to continue their close partnership.

"We're showing we have and deserve broad-based support," said Robinson, who led La Conner's Museum of Northwest Art for five years before joining the Bainbridge museum in late 2010.

Snow expects the art museum and Bainbridge public schools to form a relationship that could include regular student museum visits and art instruction.

He would like to see more groups make use of the auditorium, which has a theater-quality sound and video system.

"Off-island money (sources) will step forward if they know there's a positive momentum of support here," Snow said. "But I think we should be building support from people here on Bainbridge Island on principle because this is the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art."

While raising money hasn't been as easy as expected, Robinson said the work required in planning the building played a larger role in slowing the museum's progress.

"I think during the last year, the organization realized the complexity of the planning process, and how long it would take to (develop) the site," he said.

Adding to the complexity was the recent push to have the building reach gold-level certification in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system. The initial design, which incorporated recycled materials, stormwater collection and several other earth-friendly features, had aimed for a lower silver rating.

An added geothermal mechanical system provided much of the LEED ratings boost the museum wanted. The system, which was completed this month, will pull heat from the ground to warm the building, thereby reducing its dependence on the power grid.

For Robinson, building the museum has encompassed much more than the building itself.
The museum began planning construction and fundraising almost immediately after a group of island art lovers gathered around the art museum idea.

"We've been building a whole new organization, not just a building," he said.