Kaupuni – A Community Living the Spirit of Aloha
By Lt. Governor James R. “Duke” Aiona, Jr.
In order to be a successful community, all community members must work together to develop, maintain and manage community resources. Nowhere will this be more evident than the new Kaupuni subdivision in Wai‘anae Valley, which is slated to be the nation’s first net-zero-energy community.
The families of Kaupuni will be living the Spirit of Aloha as they model to the rest of the world self-sufficiency and sustainability in energy and food products.
This unique 18-unit subdivision is an affordable-housing project by the State Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. The homes will consume little electricity and have a low environmental impact, and were designed with a blend of the newest energy technology and traditional Hawaiian practices to support a self-sufficient and sustainable lifestyle.
In the past, Hawaiians lived in a self-reliant, sustainable manner that did not depend on anyone beyond the islands or even beyond their own ahupua‘a.
Through the traditional practices of our past and the use of the latest and most innovative features and house design, the subdivision will be efficient in energy while producing food sustainability and promoting Hawaiian cultural values.
Specifically, the Kaupuni subdivision will have energy-saving and energy-generating capacity, and will include a food supply component with the addition of a community center that will have an aquaponics system that blends hydroponics and aquaculture.
The community center is expected to be the piko, or center, of the subdivision and members of the community are expected to participate in sustainable efforts to grow their own food and be equipped in other areas, such as financial literacy, economic development and higher education.
In addition, all of the homes will include energy-efficient features such as solar water heating, photovoltaic panels to generate electricity and energy-efficient lighting and appliances.
The homes will have a larger roof overhang for extra shade, dual pane windows, high ceilings, electric vehicle outlets, composite roofing, fully insulated walls and ceilings, and pervious concrete driveways for drainage.
Furthermore, the homes will also have an energy monitoring system so families can, at any given time, see their energy usage and the effects of turning on or off lighting and devices that use energy.
This project is made possible through $4.5 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and other contributors, including the University of Hawai‘i, Kamehameha Schools, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and Ka‘ala Farms.
This is a great opportunity for all the people of Hawai‘i to learn about sustainable lifestyles. It will be exciting to see how 18 families can come together as one strong community to reconnect to our past traditions through the ‘aina and pave the way for a lifestyle that we will share for our planned future projects across the state.
This is a unique project that fits into our Hawai‘i Clean Energy Initiative to make our islands energy independent and reduce our reliance on foreign oil. As a government, we need to lead by example, and this project is a great example of moving forward for a better, greener Hawai‘i through the Spirit of Aloha.