Derek Bayless and Amelia Malpas are two inspiring students at Credo High School, which will soon be based at One Planet Community SOMO Village in Rohnert Park, California. They have been working hard to bring One Planet Living to their school
SOMO Village, led by developer SOMO Living, became North America’s first One Planet Community in 2007, with its ambitious sustainability action plan endorsed by Bioregional. Situated on a former industrial estate, SOMO Living is transforming the existing buildings into over 1,700 homes and 77,000m2 of office, retail and commercial space. It has been certified at the highest Platinum level by the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership for Energy and Environmental Design (LEED-ND).
All residents will be within a five-minute walk of the town square, leisure facilities, amphitheatre, shops, a One Planet School, and job opportunities. There are already 30 businesses, including SOMO Living, with over 1,500 employees in the retail and office spaces at SOMO Village. A number of these companies are also committed to sustainability, such as Comcast, which received LEED platinum certification for its office space or Traditional Medicinals, a Certified B Corporation and California Certified Green Business. Credo High School, a Waldorf (Steiner) inspired school, moved its campus into SOMO Village in 2017. The school has its own endorsed One Planet Action Plan and highly engaged students leading its sustainability mission.
Powered by the sun
SOMO Village is also home to one of the largest privately funded solar projects in California. Over 16,000 solar panels provide 3.1MW of energy – enough to power 900 homes (50% of the development). It’s estimated that this will save $680,000 per year in energy costs. In 2018 a 1MW solar storage battery was installed onsite to meet peak demand. The community also has also 13 electric vehicle charging stations. In 2017, vehicle charging reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 23 tonnes.
Healthy, happy employees
The community is designed to support the health and happiness of all staff. For example, there are bicycles onsite for easy journeys around the campus. There’s also a SOMO Village staff wellness programme, where employees can participate in yoga classes twice a week. With its commitment to wellbeing, SOMO Living is a four-time winner of the Greater Bay Area 'Healthiest Places to Work' award.
Equity and local economy
Over 1,500 permanent jobs onsite already, representing approximately one job per proposed housing unit.
44% reduction in total water use from 2006–2015.
Land and nature
A two-acre farm for crops will be planted and maintained by the school, and 75 acres of land has been set aside to mitigate any impact of the development on the California Tiger Salamander