Affordable Solar Housing Builds Common Ground For Workers
Lopez Island off the coast of Washington isÂ increasingly expensive place to live, and it is harder for low income workers to afford to live there. SoÂ Mithun and the Lopez Community Land Trust have built an eleven unit affordable housing development for $3.5 million on land owned by the land trust.
But they have gone further than just affordability, and built an environmentally and socially sustainable community.Â The size of each unit is tiny: this reduces energy use and resource waste. A 33 KW solar system provides electric power and each unit also has solar thermal to heat water.
Each unit has Energy Star rated appliances.Rainwater is captured and reused in toilets, laundry, and irrigation, and the toilets and showers are lo flow. Fruit and vegetable gardens on-siteÂ encourage healthy and sustainable eating.
The walls and the roofing is super insulated. All but the South wall have straw bale insulation. Thermal mass to soak up the warmth of the sun is provided by concrete flooring.Â There are trellises to shade the lower windows.
The aptly namedÂ Common Ground is built on land that the land trust owns and it will retain most of the resale equity from resale and keep it within the land trust so that the affordability of the development will be maintained in perpetuity for future residents.