Longtime Decorah resident Craig Mosher recently moved from Decorah to Iowa City where he became a founding member of Prairie Hill Cohousing, a new eight-acre development that stresses a low carbon footprint, multi-generational community, socioeconomic diversity, common spaces, shared resources, privacy, and access to alternative transportation.
"We're talking about trying to build both community and the sense of privacy…. We live in our own private homes but we're in a community that is architecturally designed to bring people together," says Mosher.
All sixteen units and the common house at Prairie Hill are developed by the members of the community, who are pursuing LEED certification. LEED is a rating system designed by the US Green Building Council to evaluate the environmental performance of a building and encourage market transformation towards sustainable design. To achieve this, units are built with sustainably sourced materials, designed to be energy efficient, manage stormwater runoff, and have access to alternative transportation.
All new developments on the property are all electric and have solar panels that take advantage of the local utility's net metering policy to provide electricity year round. The homes are heated through a combination of passive solar design, air-source heat pumps and backup electric heat. The air source heat pumps also provide cooling during the summer months. The community offers unit sizes from 600-1600 square feet, shared tools and resources, and shared common spaces including a children's room, guest rooms, workshop, gardens, and natural space.
The Moshers are one of four families currently living at Prairie Hill. "Just 3 or 4 days ago Marcia and I were sitting on our front porch talking with our friends in the building and other people dropped by and we had this whole conversation and that's what [this community is] about."
More information about Mosher's speech Tuesday morning at the Winneshiek Energy Breakfast is available at www.energydistrict.org/breakfast.