Article on Cohousing and Sustainability
From: MWorswick (
Date: Mon, 1 Jun 1998 17:14:39 -0500
   Daniel Krause from The CoHousing Company wrote that he was looking for some
examples of how living in a coho community has enabled people to live more
sustainably, including topics such as how the group process encourages
sustainable practices, site selection, site planning, sharing & reduced
consumption and architectural and technological environmental features.

    Fred Olson asked if those who have developed such information could share
it with the list....

Matt Worswick of Synergy Design responding -

     Quite a bit has been done, and written about, on this subject over the
years.  My own work as the designer of three different cohousing communities
has involved a substantial emphasis on energy efficient and sustainable design
strategies.   Working with Jim Leach of Wonderland Development, we have made
these features a cornerstone of the concept that cohousing can be a more
environmentally appropriate way to build.  We have compiled documentation on
some of the results in several reports & presentations over the years.

    The first extensive report, co-authored with Zev Paiss in 1993, was about
the specific strategies used at the Nyland Community in LaFayette, CO.  The
documentation and analysis were sponsored by grants from the EPA & State
Energy Office.  The Nyland residents were pioneers in creating what was called
at the time "the most energy efficient community in Colorado". It's 20 pages
long, without appendices.  A condensed version of the Nyland results was
published in Solar Today ( a publication of the National Renewable Energy
Laboratory ) in 1994.

    More recently, Jim Leach & I presented papers at the national conference
of Energy Efficient Builders last fall in Denver.  Mine was a case study of my
most recent Cohousing project and home-sweet-home , Harmony Village. Jim's was
a broader overview of multiple projects.  Both reports elaborated on what I
call the "social sustainability" aspects of cohousing as well as the
sustainable features of the physical infrastructure.  I believe both of these
are in electronic format that can be attached to e-mail.  I'm sending a copy
along to Daniel at the Cohousing Company.  If anyone on the list would like a
copy, please e-mail me directly at 

       MWorswick [at]

    You can contact Jim Leach for a copy of his paper at :

       jwleach [at]

    My personal hope is that cohousing will continue to be on the forefront of
sustainable building practices and lifestyles.  To all the rest of you out
there striving for the same thing - more power to you !!!!

    Matt Worswick
    Resident of Harmony Village - 27 southwestern style units completed in May
of 1997 in Golden Colorado, where it's supposed to hit 90 degrees today.  So
I'm particularly happy to be tucked in the shade of one of the huge cottonwood
trees that we carefully preserved on our site.
    Owner of Synergy Design -  specialist in energy efficient and sustainable
homes and communities.  (303) 278-1880

  • (no other messages in thread)

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.