A SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITY
The defining philosophy of Suncadia's design, construction, and maintenance is to respect and preserve the natural character of the site, nestled in a forested river valley on the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountains. Where many more urban "green" developments today emphasize density, Suncadia focuses on wide open spaces and restoring wild lands.
2009 Environmental Achievement Award. The Puget Sound Chapter of the Pacific Northwest International Section (PNWIS) of the Air & Waste Management Association
The Glade Spring Spa at received LEED® Silver Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council in June 2009
- Suncadia is a 3 Star Built Green Community and it's next phase of development in Nelson Preserve is committed to build only 3 Star Build Green certified or better
Open Space & Land Management
- The Suncadia Master Planned Resort (MPR) contains approximately 6400 acres. When complete roughly 80% of the project will be in various types of open spaces, including the KCT easement lands described further below and perimeter buffers, parks and golf courses.
- Suncadia helped create and helps fund the Kittitas Conservation Trust (KCT). The KCT board consists of representatives of the Yakama Nation, The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Suncadia. Approximately 3,753 acres has been placed into conservation easements held by the KCT which are also subject to Land Stewardship Plans. These consist of 1,200 acres subject to river corridor conservation easements, 900 acres subject to perpetual natural open space easements and 1,600 acres subject to managed open space easements.
- Suncadia is performing significant restoration work on lands that were historically impacted by coal mining, logging and sand and gravel mining. This work includes rehabilitating two former sand/gravel mines, mitigating underground coal mining hazards, forest health and restoration, restorative and interpretive work on the historic remnants of the abandoned coal mining operations.
- Suncadia is building networks of paths, trails and interpretive resources to protect, educate and inform visitors, residents and guests.
- Suncadia supports and sponsors numerous projects and activities by the KCT.
Site Development & Landscaping Principles
- The resort developer and individual homeowners must minimize changes to the natural topography and to properly manage storm water flows.
- Homes must be designed according to strict guidelines intended to ensure that they properly fit the land. The guidelines also specify natural coloration of home exteriors, ensuring a welcoming wildlife habitat and neighborhoods designed to fit within the natural surroundings. Adherence to the International Dark-Sky Initiative minimizes the amount of upward escaping light pollution and keeps the stars of the night sky bright and visible.
- Individual homeowners are required to use native landscaping with no fences, building on the continuity of the open space throughout the community. Very few of the homes throughout this Washington eco-friendly resort community have lawns or traditional yards - the vast majority are landscaped with native plants requiring a minimum of fertilizer, pesticides, and irrigation. Homeowners are restricted in the amount of irrigation they can use, usually only enough for native plants to get established before they become self-sufficient.
- Storm water management throughout the green resort is carefully engineered to follow natural stream and groundwater flows as much as possible, and to infiltrate the water back into the soil and the water table. Rather than change the land to fit the system, the engineers fit systems to the land, using a wide variety of state-of-the-art techniques depending on the conditions at each location.
- Roads, trails, and golf courses follow the same philosophy of minimizing cut and fill, following the contours of the land, and remediating existing damage. Roads throughout the resort are cut with as little earth movement as possible, following the shape of the land and often reclaiming old logging roads. Roads in Suncadia will largely have no sidewalks; rather residents will walk and bike on 40+ miles of winding trails through the trees. Suncadia's trail system permeates the entire property, including the wildlife corridor.
- For its golf courses, Suncadia chose course architects such as Tom Doak, who seek to "find" the holes in the existing contours of the land, moving as little earth as possible.
Residential & Commercial Design and Construction
- Suncadia is a 3-star Built Green residential community, the highest community rating
- Homes at Suncadia are built with an array of green construction strategies, and all of the homes will meet the equivalent of a Built Green rating of 2 to 5 stars
- A 5-star Built Green demonstration home serves as inspiration to builders and homebuyers for materials and techniques
- Suncadia's Nelson Preserve neighborhood focuses intensely on environmental principles, and all homes there will be of Built Green 3-star rating or better. Check out the Green Access Home at http://www.greenaccesshomeatsuncadia.com/ located in Nelson Preserve.
- The Inn at Suncadia has many green features such as an advanced hydronic heat pump that conserves energy and comprehensive recycling programs
- The resort community is equipped with fiber optic telecommunications that will enable the use of a "smart box" on each home for maximum energy conservation
- Suncadia is establishing a recycling facility and providing pickup because there is no existing recycling program in the area around Roslyn and Cle Elum. All of the resort's offices are supplied with recycling services for paper, cardboard, glass, plastic, and aluminum cans. Hospitality/operational facilities generated plastic, glass, tin and cardboard is collected and recycled.
- In Suncadia Village, all of the commercial buildings like the golf clubhouses and facilities, and the Inn at Suncadia, include several green features. The Inn in particular employs an advanced hydronic heat pump that conserves considerable amounts of energy in the building by recovering the heat exhausted by freezers, coolers, ice machines, and other water-cooled units. Rather than dumping the heat to the air, the system absorbs it into a closed water loop that distributes heat to needed locations throughout the building. The same type of system will recycle heat evaporated from the swimming pool in the Swim and Fitness Center, through a cooling coil that condenses water out of the air.
- Other green measures at Suncadia facilities include low-energy lighting and a comprehensive recycling program that encompasses glass, paper, wood pallets, and kitchen grease. Staff regularly maintain and change HVAC filters to reduce energy consumption, while notes in the guest rooms give guests the option of having towels and bedding reused for multiple days to reduce the use of water and cleaning chemicals. Suncadia switched its decorative holiday lighting from incandescent bulbs to LED-based light strings, resulting in a projected 90% energy savings, and is currently looking for a service provider to begin a composting program for kitchen waste. It also looks forward to buying produce from a local organic grower starting operations in nearby Ellensburg.
- To reduce water use, Suncadia's golf courses use a computerized irrigation system that controls every head individually. With this system, course managers can program an appropriate water level for heads on flat areas versus slopes, or for specific soil conditions, so that just enough water penetrates the surface to reach the root zone. The computer also links to a weather station that records temperature, humidity, wind speed, and rainfall, calculates the evapotranspiration rate, and increases or decreases the water use as needed. The system conserves 30-35% of the water used on a traditional course, and uses only a third of the water that would go into farming the same acreage. All of the plantings in the roughs and shoulder areas are indigenous, drought-tolerant species that require minimal maintenance.
- Suncadia management maintains 24 special programs addressing all of the different environmental aspects, each with a dedicated captain. Among these are community outreach programs that seek to use Suncadia's resources to enhance environmental awareness in the region. Suncadia staff sits on the boards of several local community groups, and are lobbying to create a set of Built Green guidelines specific to the climate of Kittitas County. The resort is also helping push for Built Green guidelines on commercial buildings that would improve on the existing LEED standards.
- Looking to the future, Suncadia has installed all fiber optic telecommunications lines rather than conventional cabling in anticipation of new "smart box" devices coming to market. By themselves, fiber optic lines are a lower impact material, with much less copper for example than conventional lines. They are significantly more efficient in terms of the amount of conduits and cabling required, and they combine telephone, Internet, and television into one service. But the lines can also be used to translate optical signals for a smart device in a home that regulates energy use from a central computer. When available, these devices will enable the most effective possible home energy management, changing the home's energy use for patterns when a homeowner might be at work, at home, or asleep.