Is this the world’s greenest neighborhood? Kaid Benfield, Director of Sustainable Communities for the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC), posed that question in an article for The Atlantic magazine in which he detailed his visit to Dockside Green. The 15-acre community nestled in Victoria, British Columbia gets its name from its geographic location along Victoria’s Harbour. The site, formerly used for light industrial purposes, is being redeveloped into a mixed-used community capable of housing 2,500 residents.
The ongoing project, which broke ground in 2008, will require 12 phases of construction, forming three distinct neighborhoods, and will eventually reach completion in 2018.
Much of the chatter regarding this project surrounds its commitment to extremely high standards of environmental stewardship and green design. The development aims to adhere to New Urbanism principles by taking into account the environment and impacts by those in the community.
Dockside Green has been lauded in its effort to obtain LEED Platinum certification, the highest such rating under the program. Additionally, the development will utilize renewable energy alternatives like solar panels and windmills and will host a biomass gasification plant (converts waste wood into gas that is burned to provide heat). This will enable the project to achieve carbon neutrality. Waste water will also be reclaimed and used for irrigation needs. A host of smart meters will allow property owners to regulate resource consumption, as well.
While the precedent it sets for future projects remains unknown, many folks will surely maintain a close eye on this model. Is this the greenest neighborhood in the world? Is it the greenest you’ve heard of?