Jon Ippolito, Belfast Cohousing & Ecovillage (Maine)
While many intuitively understand the benefits of living in a close-knit neighborhood, some people need numbers to convince them. That's why members of Belfast Cohousing & Ecovillage on the Maine coast conducted their own study to find out how much money typical residents will save in energy costs and in-kind goods and services.
The result? Over twenty years, a family of four would save between $80,000 and $130,000.
All homes at Belfast Cohousing & Ecovillage are built to the hyper-efficient Passivhaus standard, which automatically saves $30,000 because it requires no fossil fuel deliveries to heat the home. Those with solar hot water and electricity save an additional $20,000, pushing them to the higher end of the savings bracket.
One of the more surprising results of the study is that the majority of savings come not from net-zero energy architecture but from the social "safety net" implicit in a cohousing village. Cohousing residents don't need to buy their own lawnmower, pickup truck, or kids' bikes, as these can be shared by the community. You don't have to pay middlemen for fresh strawberries or a look at a bruised knee when your neighbors include farmers and nurses. Residents can also take advantage of economies of scale for help with transportation, child care, and building a Common House.
For more information about the study visit http://78villageroad.com/cohousing_cost_savings.html
For more information about homes available at Belfast Cohousing & Ecovillage, visit MaineCohousing.org.