“We wanted to create a path for people to follow who are aware of the way their lifestyle impacts our environment,” said Michael Whelan of Big Island Sustainable Homes, LLP, the firm behind a new type of residential community situated along Hawaii’s Hamakua Coast in Laupahoehoe. Known as Kuwili Lani (“to embrace the heavens”), the landmark neighborhood, which has just received final subdivision approval, is now operational, and is the first-ever sustainable so-called agrihood on Hawaii Island.
Created in response to demand from people looking to live on Hawaii who are mindful about the environment, the project, which was more than 10 years in the making, is a planned ‘intentional community’ designed to be low-impact, where residents can enjoy a sustainable lifestyle while still having a comfortable living and access to modern technology. With an emphasis on independence from the energy grid and the wise use of natural resources, the community is designed with an array of renewable energy systems, features the latest in green building practices and is designed to take maximum advantage of the region’s rich soil so that residents can grow their own food.
Situated on the often-overlooked east side of Hawaii Island, Kuwili Lani offers a quiet country lifestyle, where the Hawaiian heritage of the land is honored and protected. The gated 13.9 acre site, which consists of 11 one-plus-acre lots, benefits from its own private water and energy systems, as well as a wifi service, and is the result of extensive research into how our built environment affects the health and well-being of its occupants and the planet at large.
As food produced within the agrihood will not be dependent on outside availability, means of transport or the use of fossil fuels to deliver it, this not only saves fuel but offsets the site’s carbon footprint. And residents are encouraged to combine their efforts in order to grow a wide variety of foods, which can then potentially be distributed among all households.