Guest post: Sustainable Living – A Daybreak Case Study

by Sustainable Kyle on August 31, 2011 · 0 comments

in Miscellaneous Schmidt

Philip J Reed, on behalf of Daybreak, has put together an interesting article for us:

Sustainability is, and should indeed be, a popular topic right now.  We hear the word everywhere, and sometimes it seems to get tossed around so frequently that it starts to lose meaning.  Any company (or organization, or even individual) can claim to do their part when it comes to operating sustainably, but it may be wise to question them before taking them at their word.

The Daybreak community in Utah is taking sustainability seriously, and they’re making their efforts very clear to anybody interested in what that entails.

For starters, they are working closely in conjunction with Garbett Homes, who makes a point of using solar panels to generate energy for the houses that they build.  That in itself might not sound too revolutionary, but the real significance lies in the fact that this solar energy is built standard into each home that they construct, resulting in around 300 new homes per year taking advantage of sustainable energy.

We spoke to one solar-friendly resident while preparing this article, and she reported that her energy bill for one entire summer month was a measly $7.  (Just in case you think this resident is a significant exception, nearly all solar-friendly residents of Daybreak average between $10 and $15 per month for their energy bills.)

Daybreak is also the first community in Utah to require that every home be built to EPA Energy Star standards, and they are also the first community in the United States to require that all new homes be tested and rated by HERS (Home Energy Rating System).  In addition, the community is designed to maximize a car-free lifestyle, taking into account walking and biking distance for employees, shoppers and even elementary school children.  Their “5 Minute Rule” means that no resident will live further away than five minutes’ walking distance from a park or trail.

Sustainability is also being embraced by Daybreak in their standard, day to day practices.  After all, sustainable living doesn’t end when the home is built; it needs to continue forever!  To this end, they plant 35 trees each week, employ a storm-water retention and reinfiltration system, and recycle more than 75% of their construction waste.

The Daybreak community is doing its best not only to negate its own environmental impact, but to assist the healing process of the environment overall.  It’s a great start to what could really become a new standard in community development.

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