Green tips

Pringle Creek Community is a pretty big project and features numerous cutting-edge sustainability features. It also incorporates New Urbanist planning ideas to foster community. We believe these are part of path to a better future. We applaud other developments doing similar things. We hope there will be many who follow our direction. In other words, we hope what we’re doing is part of something bigger.

In the same way, we all have to hope that when we make personal consumption changes--like installing an efficient showerhead--it leads to a greater movement by others who try to make a better future by making many little lifestyle changes.

Here is a website, The Daily Green, that we like. We have added to our list of websites on this page. This web publication regularly offers up new tips on greener living. You can sign up to get an email sent regularly.

Here’s my tip: Why not pack up your roller blades and ride your bike out to Pringle Creek for an hour of fun and fitness on our pervious streets, sidewalks and trails. It's just good to get outside and enjoy the fall colors.


Green + Solar Tour a Great Success

With over 350 participants and broad community support, the first-ever Salem Green + Solar Home Tour was a great success! Participants particularly enjoyed talking with homeowners at each of the 11 sites about the designs and products they’ve installed in their homes, from solar hot water systems to bamboo flooring. There were different types of homes represented on the tour, from single family to mixed-use condo, new construction to a 100-year-old remodel, a 3,000 sqft house to a 400 sqft house. The reception afterwards, at Pringle Creek, had over 150 people and was a lot of fun. I think the participants appreciated Pringle Creek’s involvement as host of the reception, and that we are an active supporter of the larger Salem community.

There was tremendous positive feedback and we will definitely be doing this event again next year. Thanks to the homeowners who opened their doors to the public and facilitated this valuable exchange of ideas. Also a special thanks to our community sponsors--your generous support made it happen.



Reasons for calling it "smart growth"

Most commuters want to drive less. Many homebuyers want to live in walkable neighborhoods. This Natural Resources Defense Council article is a two-page primer on smart growth. It describes the benefits of mixed-use and location-efficient communities.

Residents of communities designed using smart growth strategies drive as little as one-fifth as much as their counterparts in conventional sprawl developments. This reduced dependence on automobiles means less money spent on gas, increased outdoor activity like walking and cycling, improved rates of public transit ridership, and less global warming pollution released into the air. In fact, if all new communities were designed using smart growth strategies we could slash emissions by about 595 million metric tons after 10 years, or 10 percent of total U.S. emissions of global warming pollution.

This Smart Growth America article has research findings along the same lines, that building compact, walkable neighborhoods would prevent a lot of greenhouse gas emissions.

Implementing the policies recommended in the report would reverse a decades-long trend. Since 1980, the number of miles Americans drive has grown three times faster than population, and almost twice as fast as vehicle registrations. Spread-out development is the key factor in that rate of growth, the research team found.

The findings show that people who move into compact, “green neighborhoods” are making as big a contribution to fighting global warming as those who buy the most efficient hybrid vehicles, but remain in car-dependent areas.


Straub events

Pringle Creek Community supports the Straub Environmental Learning Center. They have a couple events coming up you might want to consider attending.

On Thursday, October 25, Dr. Dawn Wright will lecture on “Exploring the Deep: Cracks, Creatures, and Creative Maps of the Ocean Floor.” It’s at Salem Public Library's Loucks Auditorium, from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

On Thursday November 1, Josh Travers, from Oregon Department of Forestry, will teach an introductory class on use of compasses and topographic maps.
That is also at from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., but it’s at Friends of Straub Environmental Learning Center, 1320 A Street NE, Salem. The lecture is followed by a field trip on Saturday November 3, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., at Minto-Brown Park (a scavenger hunt in the park to reinforce skills learned in class). The cost is $5, registration is required, call 503-391-4145 or email fselc@fselc.org.


Big small article on the cottage

We have this link up on the Pringle Creek home page also: it’s a large pdf file of an annual publication, Green + Solar Building Oregon (subtitled “A Comprehensive Guide to Green and Solar Building”).

The pdf has two articles in it.
The first is about the history of the Green and Solar tours, one of which starts at Pringle Creek on Oct. 6 at 11 a.m. (and ends with a reception back at Pringle Creek). The other article is “Pringle Creek Cottage: A Very Big Small House.” It’s written by Christopher Dymond of the Oregon Dept. of Energy. Mr. Dymond takes a close look at the systems, the specifications, the statistics. It's technical in places, but in a good way. Here are a couple of the less-technical paragraphs:

Designed by Opsis Architecture and built by Bilyeu Homes, the Pringle Creek Cottage is on of few houses to date that is built efficient enough to qualify the builder for a $2,000 federal tax credit for energy-efficient new homes. In addition, the home will be the first to qualify the builder for a $3,000 state of Oregon Business Energy Tax Credit for efficiency and up to $9,000 for the renewable energy features.

. . .

Imagine living in a home like this with an energy footprint 35 percent that of a typical, comparably-sized home. Energy costs would have to more than triple before you would pay as much as someone living in an average two bedroom new home. It is worth remembering that when we measure the environmental impact of a home, the single largest impact over the life of the home is its energy use.