Rachel Carson EcoVillage is in its early or “schematic” phase of design. While we have established our overall approach to the site and buildings, there are many design decisions ahead of us. We have just begun the process of development permitting with Richland Township, and it will be six to twelve months until we have final plans. Our professional team, which includes experts in architecture, engineering, ecology, energy, and high-performance construction, is taking a science-based approach to both site and buildings. Outcomes such as energy use, indoor air quality, site water collection, and soil character are more than just design goals—they will actually be monitored over time. Our monthly design reviews enable all Explorers to take part in design discussions, and our EcoResources Group is preparing a community land management plan.
To provide for greater durability and long-term affordability, the ecovillage buildings are being designed for Passive House (PHIUS) certification with the goal of achieving 100% of our energy from renewable sources. We are also tracking embodied carbon through life cycle analyses with the goal of minimizing green house emissions and material waste in both the short and the long term. The houses in 2-unit and 3-unit buildings have large porches and private yards. Each house has at least one bedroom and full bathroom on the ground floor as well as an accessible entrance. Upper floor space, which is within the thermal envelope of the building, provides space for storage and future expansion. The houses do not have basements. At this point, there are 2 studio units, at least 6 one-bedroom units, and the rest have the flexible plans that can accommodate two to four bedroom/den/home office combinations.
Purchase of a home includes a share of the common facilities. There is no developer fee or profit in the project, so every house will be sold at cost. At this point the volatility of the construction materials pricing has put cost estimating on hold, but all financial information is available to every Explorer member and regularly reviewed with the community. While there are many uncertainties, including the pandemic’s impact on the cost of building materials, we anticipate a move-in date might be as early as late 2022 but more likely in 2023. As of April 2021, fifteen of the 35 units have been committed to equity member homebuyers. Commitment dates determine the order of unit selection.
RCE’s Professional Team includes a number of amazing businesses that we’re proud to highlight here: