When I hear the term "eco-village," I picture a bunch of green-minded people living zero-waste lifestyles on a sunny commune, trading dried beans for bamboo toothbrushes. (TBH, I'd love to move there for a few months.) But soon, Baltimoreans will have an eco-village of their own — albeit, a little more modern than the one I dream about. As reported by The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore lawmakers and a group of developers just announced that they are developing part of Baltimore's Tivoly Triangle into an "eco-village." All 79 houses in the neighborhood will produce net-zero emissions.
According to the Technical.ly Baltimore, the eco-village will consist of 79 homes, which will be a combination of 20 single-family houses and 59 duplexes. The developers estimate that each residence will cost between $250,000 and $290,000.
Mark James, president of Urban Green, LLC, the real estate development and renewable energy company behind the project, explained to Technical.ly Baltimore that the net-zero homes will not produce zero emissions. Rather, they will produce 100 percent of the energy they consume, thanks to renewable energy sources like solar panels. And according to local news outlet WMAR Baltimore, the eco-village will be the very first net-zero community in Baltimore.
Urban Green, LLC and LNW&A Development are leading development for the eco-village. It will be located on a nine-acre plot of land in the Tivoly Triangle area of the Baltimore neighborhood Coldstream-Homestead-Montebello. Homes are currently being demolished to make way for the new neighborhood, according to The Baltimore Sun.
The developers have partnered Blueprint Robotics, a company that uses robotics to construct buildings. Urban Green, LLC and LNW&A Development are also working with two companies, called Power 52 and Civic Works, which will both provide education on working with solar energy on the construction site, according to Technical.ly Baltimore. It's exciting that this project comes with an educational component regarding solar energy — hopefully that will help inspire local construction and development companies to make a shift towards renewable energy on future projects.
At the press conference announcing the eco-village, Baltimore's housing and community development commissioner Michael Braverman explained why Tivoly Triangle was chosen for this project. “This was among the most blighted spots in the City of Baltimore,” Braverman said, as seen in footage from the press conference. “It was difficult for this community to maintain property values, to attract new residents, to be the community that this community aspired to be with this block in the condition it was."
Democratic Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke also spoke at the recent press conference. As she explained, back in 2007, "Tivoly [Triangle] was so crowded with drug dealers in the street, that you could not drive down that street," and the neighborhood was in desperate need of revitalization.
"The housing department wasn't crazy about the idea of this project," Clarke continued, adding that it took years to get approval to start planning this. "We began the work, and at first it was mighty slow, but in recent days, in recent years, it's picked up speed, because the vision became shared and the city realized, 'Hey, this is important to the whole city.'"
This new development shows that green homes are the future of housing. Hopefully Baltimore's first eco-village won't take too long to build, because locals will certainly be excited to move in.