The Springs is an affordable, residential-housing project located in McCall, Idaho that has achieved a lofty platinum certification. The lot is located near wetlands and used to be an empty gravel pit and snow mobile race track. Now, the site is a well-designed, desirable sustainable living complex that preserves the natural feature The complex is made up of three residential units containing a total of 36 living units, a community building, and an outdoor common space.
To combat the fierce weather conditions of the Idahoan winters, durability of the residential units and community center were high priority. Structural Insulated Panels are used for the walls and roofs of the buildings to both hold up the building and to insulate the structures. The panels are extremely air tight which keeps the amount of energy used for heating and cooling to a minimum. To reduce the amount of waste generated in the future, the architects designed the exterior of the buildings to stand up to the harsh weather and to last for a very long time.The roof tiles were coated in a ice and water shield and 40 year asphalt shingles. Durable fiber cement siding was used to wrap around the homes and secure their building envelope.
My favorite part of the development is the community center and outdoor common space. The community center houses lounge area that opens to the patio, kitchen, office, laundry and workout facility. The kitchen and lounge can be rented out for birthday parties, graduation celebrations, etc. The surrounding outdoor common space contains a playground and picnic tables. These shared common spaces are beneficial to the environment because it reduces the amount of resources consumed by a community. If all 36 housing units are provided with exercise equipment and a playhouse, none of the residents will feel the need to buy those things for themselves. Sharing is one of the easiest and best things that can be done for our Earth.
Next time you need to purchase something like a leaf blower, a lawn mower, a power cleaner, will you think about asking your neighbor if they have one you can share? Perhaps offer to loan a piece of equipment you have that they need?