WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The EcoVillage project to show benefits of sustainable development is well underway. Some design elements of TREE have been revised. All TREE Joint Venture members have completed a baseline survey and will be tracking heat, electricity, and water usage on a quarterly basis. The Aurora Pocket Neighborhood is also expected to break ground this summer. Furthermore, the County finalized a draft model zoning code, a draft Request for Proposals to develop a parcel of land using pedestrian neighborhood zone standards, and a report documenting the best practices, challenges and lessons learned over the past 20 years of developing the EcoVillage.
Tompkins County has set a goal to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent from 2008 levels by 2050, with an interim goal of a 20 percent reduction by 2020. In order to meet this goal, the County plans to create three pilot projects modeled after the award-wining sustainability community, the EcoVillage at Ithaca development. The County will use lessons learned from EVI and partner with the EVI Center for Sustainability education to update, document, and package EVI best practices for widespread use, create model building codes, policies, and zoning ordinances to support sustainable development practices, and apply these principles in three different settings as pilot projects.
The first pilot project will be a rural hamlet, known as TREE, which has a target of emitting 80 percent fewer GHGs than typical American homes. The second pilot project will demonstrate sustainable development practices in a classic urban neighborhood. The project, the Aurora Development Circle will create a micro-neighborhood within walking distance of downtown Ithaca, and will demonstrate a comfortable community with 5-8 homes on one urban lot with shared gardens and 80 percent fewer GHG emissions than a comparable community. The third pilot project will demonstrate a sustainable village using 26 acres of County-owned land slated for development. The County will issue an RFP for developers to create densely clustered, walkable neighborhoods of 37-45 homes, while maintaining open space and easy walking distance to public transportation and community services.
As the pilot projects are launched, the County will monitor and evaluate the projects for building systems performance and GHG emissions, including monitoring during construction to evaluate building envelope integrity. Ultimately, the County will broadly disseminate these models through educational materials, workshops at municipal and professional conferences, training workshops for professionals, and web-based materials. By conducting outreach and sharing the story of these model communities with planners, developers, local government officials, sustainability professionals, educators, community members, and students, Tompkins County hopes to set an example for sustainable development across the country.