It sounds like something out of San Francisco’s Summer of Love era: Like-minded hippie/commies get together to form a commune, share meals, swap partners, and do it all in the name of Mother Earth.
However, take one look at Belfast, Maine’s cohousing site, MaineCoHousing.org, and it’s clear that their eco-village aims to accomplish so much more.
Since 2007, 24 or so families from all walks of life have been meeting to plot out an urban neighbourhood on a 42-acre site, reports Grist’s Greg Hanscom. Now it’s nearing completion and there’s room for 12 more families to move in.
Duplexes and triplexes will sit near the farms, while a clubhouse (common house), will let people cook up a meal or try someone else’s. Similar to the accordion family in which several generations live under one roof to save money, the cohouse could help residents cut down on grocery costs, downsize rent and split utilities.
And don’t worry, there’s plenty of space. The kitchens look ginormous, while the mud room’s practically the size of a two-car garage–useful for storing all those heavy winter clothes.
The village is said to be super sustainable, using Germany’s green “passive house” model as its guide. Built to withstand those harsh Maine winters, the village’s homes feature glare-proof windows with roll-down, see-through shades and electric baseboard heaters (standard issue in any bathroom). Solar electric panels will also keep things toasty.
Said Matthew O’ Malia, the G-O Logic architect who helped design the village: “In our case, our heat load (for the homes) is so small … if this building were going to be heated to 70 degrees on the coldest winter night, it would only take the output of a hair dryer to keep the place heated.”
Take a tour of the ultra-chic eco-village below: