CoHo has a long list of standard sustainability features (from solar panels to low-flow toilets), but the most important and powerful sustainability feature is community.

Community is a potent leveraging factor that supports ongoing sustainability.  In fact, community is identified as the “secret ingredient in sustainability” in newsletter 24.

Our desire to live sustainably was a strong component from the beginning of the community’s development and led to the adoption of the name CoHo Ecovillage.

The sustainability theme is woven throughout our Vision and Values and is the summary statement in our Purpose Statement–share the power of community to cultivate social and ecological sustainability within CoHo, the broader community, and the world.

When our Sustainability Action Team was formed, they created a slideshow to celebrate our sustainability efforts.  As the photos were assembled, it became clear that sustainably is firmly embedded in our culture, not just in our construction.  The slideshow is truly a celebration of community life overall and is now used for public tour orientations.

And now, the obligatory list of standard (and some non-standard) sustainability features at CoHo…


  • Adjacent bike path connecting to Corvallis’ network of bike lanes
  • Public transportation within 400 ft of site
  • Clustered homes to maximize preservation of the site’s natural spaces
  • Long-term restoration and management plan for the natural spaces
  • Outdoor gathering, visiting and play spaces for children and adults
  • Preservation of 2+ acres of mixed forest
  • Protection of most white oak trees on the site
  • Preservation of camas meadow
  • Facilitation of bike use by the construction of a bike storage barn
  • Clustered parking to minimize non-permeable surface and reduce parking spaces to minimum
  • Organic orchard and garden for food production
  • Permaculture landscape design with native, low water use plants and edible plantings–for people and for the indigenous inhabitants


Our three-tiered strategy: minimize energy use, incorporate non-conventional heating sources that can easily transition over time, and maximize use of solar energy.

  • Homes 30% more energy efficient than city code requirements
  • Homes oriented and sited to enhance natural ventilation and both passive and active solar opportunity
  • Advance framing optimizes insulation and reduces wood use
  • High-performance windows
  • Radiant heated homes via hydronic floors with ultra high efficiency gas water heater
  • Combination living space heating and domestic hot water system
  • Heat recovery ventilator, insuring good indoor air quality, while minimizing heat loss
  • Energy Star appliances
  • Energy-efficient lighting
  • Large windows designed to optimize daylight
  • Shared walls and roofs reduce energy use
  • Homes are solar hot water ready
  • Solar hot water heating system for common house kitchen and laundry
  • High-efficiency gas furnace in common house
  • Common house designed with tower for day lighting and natural ventilation


  • Grey water piping collection system in place for future irrigation use
  • 90% of all storm water run off is managed on site with the use of bioswales and constructed wetlands
  • Low flow fixtures throughout
  • Dual flush toilets in common house
  • Low water use landscaping and eco-lawn


  • Smaller footprint (850 to 1425 sq ft vs. average American home at 2100 sq ft)
  • Shared walls to minimize use of building materials
  • Low VOC paints and sealants
  • Natural linoleum in kitchen & bathrooms
  • Construction waste management plan carried out by contractor
  • 100% recycled polyester carpet–“Green Label” from soda pop bottles
  • Long-life building materials and design
  • Rain screen design to eliminate mold and mildew issues and prolong life of buildings

Social Community

  • Designed to encourage interaction between neighbors
  • 2800 sq ft common house with dining room and kitchen and pantry for vegetarian common meals, living room / library with woodstove, kids room, guest accommodations, recreation room, and laundry
  • Shared tools in workshop for metal, wood, arts and crafts
  • Good acoustical design for privacy
  • Convenient to share rides or cars
  • Convenient to share skills & help each other
  • Supportive community encourages reducing, reuse and recycling
  • Having interest groups within community reduces driving
  • Community encourages relationships which reduces materialism
  • Design for accessibility