Green Net-Zero Energy Housing by Mithun Shows How It's Done

Preston at Jetson Green shows us the coolest little project that I have seen in a long time. It's affordable housing for working people in the San Juan Islands, some of the most expensive real estate in the country, built by the Lopez Community Land Trust and designed by Mithun.

The site plan includes shared garden space, "rain gardens", and "bioswales"

The Net-zero energy is accomplished through careful design to capture passive solar heat, straw bale walls (usually around R-40) and an impressive 33.8 kilowatt array of solar photovoltaics.



Legend for above:


But that is really just the start of what is so interesting about this project. It also addresses issues of land tenure and the problem of affordability by keeping the land in trust, and tying the homes to a "limited equity resale formula, which helps assure permanent affordability to future homeowners."

We have noted before that there are real problems with the American way of neighbourhood building, and that we needed to look at different development models that consume fewer resources and share more. (See 5 Alternatives to the Buy vs Rent Question)The Lopez Community Land Trust shows how design can influence the way people live. As one resident put it:

In the years ahead, Americans will be compelled to shed some deeply ingrained habits of material consumption. These adjustments can be endured, nay, embraced, if people are confident that the country is headed to a more fulfilling transformation. I believe this transformation is fundamentally about discovering what it means to be truly human, not as "consumers" but as citizens, neighbors, friends, co-creators of a compelling story that embraces social justice and a healthy planet. It's about smaller footprints and larger lives.

Also terrific is Mithun's presentation on their website. So often we complain about architects' flash-crazy impossible to navigate websites that put style above content; Mithun gives us three slideshows explaining the predesign process, the construction and a thorough overview. Simple, very visual, useful and impressive at Mithun. Thanks to Jetson Green
More Mithun:
Sustainable Neighborhood Planned in Portland
REI Portland - Gold from Green
C2C House by Mithun: Powered by Spinach!
Mithun Architects' Vertical Farm for Seattle