EcoVillage, Ithaca New York
Written by Katelyn Neff
Eco Village Ithaca is a co-housing community. Co-housing is a form of community-oriented housing that has the privacy of individual homes with strong neighborhood ties and interests. Common houses are centered on sharing the space with one another, engaging in social activities like yoga, laundry, dinner, playtime, classes, etc. But the root of their foundation is living sustainable and leaving a significantly lighter footprint on the planet.
The buildings in EcoVillage are intentionally designed to be ecologically and socially sustainable. The community is home to an organic vegetable and berry farm, where teaching and learning is provided. Villagers are avid gardeners and can plant what they please in the community gardens. The food is grown in the community and stored in a neighborhood root cellar. The 175-acre site is also home to meadows, ponds, and woodlands. “Over 80% of the site is planned to remain green space, including 50 acres in a conservation easement held by the Finger Lakes Land Trust.”
The community’s backbone is teaching and engaging with not only it’s own community members, but educating their local and international neighbors in the importance of living sustainably and how to do so. The community offers hands-on experience for students in: Permaculture, Food and Farming, Governance, Human-Environment Relations, Hands-On Nature Connection, Sustainable Communities, Eco-Psychology, Communication, and Composting.
The buildings in EcoVillage are equipped with solar panels that generate over half of their electricity needs. Buildings and homes are designed to utilize natures natural energy. They are oriented toward the south and include large window walls which lets in natural daylight and heats the home easily when the sun is out. Homes are insulated and windows are sparse on the north side to keep out frigid north winds. The homes will also keep you cool in the summer with triple-glazed windows, and wooden trellises covered with vines that provide shade.
EcoVillage Ithaca is setting a high standard for what it means to live and breathe green.