A client of ours recently introduced us to Olivette, a new farm and residential community located on the French Broad River just outside of Asheville. Our client had originally planned to build in another community, but decided to build a home in Olivette instead.
We recently joined her on a visit to this new venture and left thinking it’s a perfect example of how restorative design works — not just at the residential level, but as a community and commercial venture.
An agrihood community
Olivette covers 346 planned acres with a vegetable, fruit and flower farm and spectacular amenities. Seven acres of riverfront beach, a large private river island, trails, community gardens and fiber-to-home broadband internet are just the beginning.
The development combines a farm committed to re-localizing food production in Western North Carolina with a residential community dedicated to experiencing life in the mountains (and the beauty of the French Broad).
We loved it all, but what really had our hearts racing was the flexibility of Olivette’s contemporary design options for homeowners and the developers’ commitment to geothermal heating and cooling. Their vision and investment are going to cut homeowners’ energy bills for heating and cooling, with a sustainable, proven technology.
Why geothermal’s hotter these days
If you’re looking at geothermal heating and cooling, you’ll end up digging a few 200-foot deep wells for most locations. A pump uses the earth’s temperature by running circulating liquid through the ground and then your heating and air conditioning, “kick-starting” your unit’s effort to reach comfortable temperatures.
Olivette has geothermal wells for the entire community and homeowners connect to these wells, paying only a tap fee. This makes all kinds of sense — the developers made a significant upfront investment and require that the homeowners make the same commitment to renewable energy, by adding geothermal heating and cooling.
The tap fee, together with the energy bills, will offer costs substantially lower than those normally associated with traditional heating and cooling technologies.
Restorative design is winning more converts
We can make a strong case for restorative design on the economics alone, but seeing its principles come to life in a remarkable community like Olivette is even more compelling. We think everyone who lives in this development will have a story to tell their families and friends.
Take a look at what they’re doing at www.olivettenc.com and see for yourself!