Design for Sustainability: CoHo Ecovillage
We are working to create a sustainable community in accordance with our CoHo Vision, which states:
CoHo is a cohousing community that is designed to encourage interactions among people and enrich our lives with the pleasure of cooperation and friendship. We care about the earth and are committed to environmentally sustainable practices and building techniques.
Our specific Values statements go on to specify many particular concerns and intentions. These include: "making our community as environmentally sustainable as possible, while still providing affordable housing;" "recognizing we are a part of the interconnected web of life, so we strive to treat the natural community with responsibility and respect;" and reducing our environmental footprint in part by "de-emphasizing the automobile". If you aren't fully aware of our Vision and Values Statements you may wish to review them.
The Site Sustainability Vision is to balance and support the community's relationship with the natural environment moving toward restoration of the native ecosystem and minimizing our ecological footprint. Features of CoHo that support this vision:
- Adjacent bike path that connects to Corvallis' network of bike lanes
- Public transportation within 400 ft of site
- Clustered homes to maximize preservation of the site's natural spaces
- Long-term restoration and management plan for the natural spaces
- Outdoor gathering, visiting and play spaces for children and adults
- Preservation of 2+ acres of mixed forest
- Protection of most of the white oak trees on the site
- Preservation of the camas meadow
- Facilitation of bike use by the construction of a bike storage barn
- Clustered parking to minimize non-permeable surface and reduce parking spaces to minimum
Orchard and ˝ acre organic garden for food production
- Keep all organic matter that will be displaced during construction on the site (to be used later for plantings)
- Permaculture landscape design with native, low water use plants and edible plantings--for people and for the indigenous inhabitants (e.g. birds…)
Our strategy is for eventual zero net energy use, that is, the design will allow us to generate enough energy via renewable energy resources to meet the energy consumption of the residential units.
Our three-tiered strategy: minimize energy use, incorporate non-conventional heating sources that can easily transition over time, and maximize use of solar energy.
- Homes will be 30% more energy efficient than city code requirements
- Homes are oriented and sited to enhance natural ventilation and both passive and active solar opportunity
- Advance framing optimizes insulation and reduces wood use
- High performance windows
- Radiant heated homes via hydronic floors with ultra high efficiency gas water heater
- Combination living space heating and domestic hot water system
- Heat recovery ventilator to insure good indoor air quality, while minimizing heat loss
- Energy Star appliances
- Energy efficient lighting - compact fluorescent or linear fluorescent
- Large windows designed to optimize daylight
- Shared walls and roofs reduce energy use
- Homes are solar hot water ready
- Solar hot water heating system for common house kitchen and laundry
- High efficiency gas furnace in common house
- Common house designed with tower for day lighting and natural ventilation
- Grey water piping collection system in place for future irrigation use
- 90% of all storm water run off is managed on site with the use of bioswales and constructed wetlands
- Low flow fixtures throughout
- Dual flush toilets in common house
- Low water use landscaping and eco-lawn
- CoHo homes vary between 850 sq ft to 1425 sq ft; the average American home is 2100 sq ft
- Shared walls minimize use of building materials
- Low VOC paints and sealants are used throughout
- Natural linoleum in kitchen & bathrooms (avoids use of vinyl chloride used in making vinyl flooring)
- Construction waste management plan by contractor
- 100% recycled polyester carpet
- Green Label" (from soda pop bottles)
- Long life building materials and design
- Rain screen design (to eliminate mold and mildew issues), prolonging the life of the buildings
- Designed to encourage interaction between neighbors
- 2800 sq ft common house with dining room and kitchen for vegetarian community meals, living room / library with fireplace, kids room, guest accommodations, recreation room, and common laundry
- Shared tools in workshop for metal, wood, arts and crafts
- Good acoustical design for privacy
- Convenient to share rides or cars
- Convenient to share skills & help each other
- Supportive community encourages reducing, reuse and recycling
- Having interest groups within community reduces driving
- Community encourages relationships which reduces materialism
- Design for accessibility
- First time home buyer subsidy available for income eligible households
Northwest Earth Institute Corvallis - a national leader in developing innovative programs that inspire individuals and organizations to protect the earth.
The Sustainable Living Project at OSU - The Sustainable Living Project at OSU is designed to help mainstream adults and older youth make environmentally-responsible consumer decisions. Its mission is to reduce environmental degradation and improve quality of life in the Pacific Northwest by fostering new consumption patterns and promoting sustainable lifestyles. The program takes a thoughtful approach to balancing economic, cultural and environmental needs.
Sustainability Institute - is a think-do tank dedicated to sustainable resource use, sustainable economics, and sustainable community.
Build Better Neighborhoods - A Mother Earth News article about how community helps sustainable living
The New Road Map Foundation - focuses on lowering consumption in North America.
The Center for the New American Dream - is a comprehensive website about making wise consumer choices.
Second Nature - Education for Sustainability focuses on the efforts of colleges and universities.
Seeds of Simplicity - is a secular program of the Center for Religion, Ethics & Social Policy at Cornell University.
The Simple Living Network - is one of the best sites on the web, with a Web of Simplicity questionnaire, a seasonal newsletter, and chat rooms.
Students in a science class at Valley Charter School in California used this sustainability page from our website as a resource in learning about sustainability in and out of the house. They suggested adding these additional resources: