Cohousing development offers community, cost savings, and sustainability

The first co-housing development in Texas is being built in east Houston, as more families are looking for a lifestyle offering a sense of community, cost savings, and sustainability.

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The Cohousing Association of America reports there are 165 cohousing communities in the US, with another 140 in the process of forming.

Isolation during the pandemic, and the rising cost of living, are leading more people to choose cohousing communities.

Greenspace, a Common House, and 33 condos are going up in Houston's East End.

"So inside your home, it feels like any other home. But when you step outside there’s a group of people there committed to building a sense of community," explained Kelli Soika with CoHousing Houston. Soika and her family plan to live in this development, having already lived in cohousing in Colorado.

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The community will share some meals and activities in the Common House, plus enjoy the outdoors together through shared green space.

"The green space is a combination of growing vegetables and interactive space," Kathleen English with English and Associates Architects said, showing us renderings.  "Every unit has a direct connection to this shared common area."

Cohousing participants save money by sharing resources, such as groceries, and cooking shared meals, which cuts down on the cost of eating out.

"A $40 meal out might be $109 per person," said future resident Lynn Morstad.

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Plus they save by sharing things such as child care, the internet, and carpooling.

"Gas savings is a big one. Also, time, instead of me having to be the person driving them everywhere all the time," explained Soika.

The project is designed to be environmentally friendly and efficient.

"There’s that dark blue iridescent cover, that would be the solar panels along the fourth floor," English showed us.

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It includes geothermal underground wells that will exchange heat to preheat water and cool air, eliminating the need for individual water heaters and air conditioning units.

"The geothermal does have an extra cost at the beginning, but the payback is there from lower energy use," English continued. "Also, there are tax credits available for that as well."


And the community will give participants a sense of an extended family.

"I don’t have to wait for the next hurricane to experience that marvelous outpouring of neighborliness," said Morstad.

CoHousing Houston says 31 of the 33 condos have been purchased, priced between $300,000 and $800,000.  

Residents hope to move in by the end of the year.