Boulder, Colorado is a hub of smart grid activity. It’s already set to become the country’s first “Smart Grid City“, relying entirely on smart meters. And now the city is set to contain the first net-zero neighborhood in the U.S., dubbed SpringLeaf Boulder.
The planned neighborhood will contain 12 LEED Platinum-certified homes powered completely by solar energy and heated with geothermal energy. The homes, which will be located close to local shops, schools, and offices, will also feature recycled countertops, bamboo cabinets and non-toxic paints. SpringLeaf Boulder will wrap around a park that acts as both a community gathering space and a place to soak up stormwater.
SpringLeaf’s developers expect that the townhouses and single-family homes will cost approximately $200 per square foot, but the development’s Web site assures potential buyers that “life at SpringLeaf also will be good for your bank account–you
won’t have heating or cooling bills, and minimal if any electric bills.” That’s an enticing selling point if it ends up being true.
Perhaps the most notable thing about SpringLeaf Boulder is that it shows sustainable housing advocates that planned communities can be a good thing. In the past, such communities have been demonized as suburban blights that tear down nature and replace it with communities that bear the name of what was formerly there (i.e. Trout Creek, The Pines, etc.). But if it’s successful, SpringLeaf’s planned community could be the beginning of a new era of housing developments that stand on their own and respect their surroundings.