The first zero-energy community in North America?

Being that a zero-energy community means 100% renewable energy, that’s no small claim to make. However, the renowned zero-energy development firm in the UK, Bioregional Development Group (profiled in the previous entry), is working with U.S. firm Codding Enterprises to build just that in Northern California, the first ever in Northern America.

The hypocrisy with these eco-villages is that they’re built on greenfields – either farm land or wilderness, so in essence it’s more urban sprawl. However, the 200-acre project, Sonoma Mountain Village, commencing in 2009 and ending in 2021 with zero-energy status, still provides a landmark model of sustainability that no other community can match.

With 1900 homes, more than half being multi-family, it doesn’t look like a greenfield development either, but rather something you’d expect with urban infill. It’s green features include:

– 35 units/acre residential density equals that of historic walkable urban neighborhoods.
– Roof-mounted solar panels will provide hot water, passive solar design will collect heat in the walls and floors during the day for distribution at night.
– Community-wide grid of geothermal heat pumps.
– Cisterns throughout will collect rain.
– Homes made with steel framing recycled from auto parts.

Read more in this Washington Post article.