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February 13th Update

Iowa First!


Expected to be Iowa's first LEED-Platinum rated home, the new house at Cypress Villages nears completion.

To emphasize the significance of this historic home, recall the tremendous burden traditional construction has placed on homeowners. The Department of Energy estimates 40% of the energy used in the United States is used by buildings. And, buildings consume more than 70% of electricity. More than half of that energy is converted to waste heat. In other words, homeowners are “heating the whole darn neighborhood.”

Cypress Villages' first home represents a substantial step forward to total energy efficiency. Once completed in April, Cypress Villages will register the home with the United States Green Building Council (USGBC); specialists working on the project expect it to receive a Platinum rating. This would make the house the first of its kind in the state.

As part of the commitment to a Green Community, this is the first of 25 such homes to be built at Cypress Villages. The community will also include multi-unit buildings, such as the Jeffersonia slated for construction this Spring.

Envisioning A New Future for Southeastern Iowa

Walker Group, Inc. (WGI), the developer of Cypress Villages, and Green Building Supply turn their sights on a new future for Southeastern Iowa.

Plans for the development of a new “Green Commercial Park” or Sustainability Trade Center (TM) north of Fairfield are underway. Plans include the construction of 70,000 square feet of commercial and retail space, plus a new 7,700 square feet eight unit condominium complex. Both projects will be among the first of their kind in the United States and world wide. LEED-Platinum Certification guidelines for retail construction is still in the pilot phase, but WGI will register the bold venture when LEED 2009 launches this Spring. The pilot program for LEED-Platinum certification for retail spaces has attracted international attention with the participation of Office Depot in Austin, Texas, grabbing the imagination of investors who had long wondered when sustainablity would finally achieve mainstream realization.

That time has come. New investment for sustainable businesses, energy, and construction is available like never before. In Iowa, policy makers are viewing this as an opportunity to invigorate the economy by attracting young entrepreneurs as well as international businesses. Walker Group and Green Building Supply's vision for a Sustainability Trade Center (TM) north of Fairfield comes from years of expertise in Sustainability throughout the US. While in most parts of the United States one of the most significant barriers to Sustainability is the lack of a workforce knowledgeable in those critical technologies such as Sustainable design, Green Construction and Organic Farming, fortunately here in Southeastern Iowa there is a plethora of both knowledge and experience.

For decades, Fairfield has been a center for working and planning towards living harmoniously with nature. Organic food has been a hallmark of the community long before the advent of large grocers like Whole Foods or Bread & Circus in other cities. Maharishi University of Management led the way in bringing awareness nationwide to the possible dangers of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) famously turning down federal research grants to conduct genetic experiments, and initiating a grassroots student movement, SAGE, to inform the public. Experimentation with sustainable housing through dozens of forms and materials has also been a hallmark of development in Jefferson County.

The community is in the forefront of Sustainability. The university boasts the oldest Sustainability program in the country, offering both a BS and MBA in Sustainability; and boasts one of the first student centers in the United States seeking LEED Certification. EcoVillage Subdivision has also been groundbreaking in many areas, as well as other developments dating back to the early 1990s. Now, Cypress Villages is incorporating the highest nationally recognized standards of Sustainable Design, LEED, and Maharishi Sthapatya Veda's unique specifications for holistic living.

Today, Cypress Villages represents the most advanced addition to this remarkable history by aiming to make its homes Net Zero, LEED-Platinum certified, and affordable. By April, we will have completed the first LEED-Platinum home in Iowa, and among the first in the world, marking a new turn in development in Southeastern Iowa.

Working Through The Winter


WGI is to begin construction of a new eight-unit Jeffersonia building this Spring and is working through the winter to get Cypress Villages infrastructure ready. Also in the works is a groundbreaking for the new “Green Commercial Park” or Sustainability Trade Center (TM) for a retail park and new business space.

Also slated for the spring are new Aster and Woodrush high-efficiency single family homes. These homes are 800 and 600 square feet respectively, and are perfect for everyone who need a small efficient home for short stays or permanent sustainable living.

They are also a great investment for retirees looking to save on heating costs without having to turn down the heat. The high-efficiency of the new home out at Cypress Villages is one reason why WGI has been able to work through the winter.

The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) requires that LEED-Certified buildings have adequate natural light which means lots of windows. Yet with all those windows , a small heater managed to keep workers warm and in t-shirts. Next time it's a cold day see for yourself. It's the most remarkable home you'll visit.

For more information, contact Mike at WGI: 641-469-5900 or michael.lesniak@cypressvillages.com