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Developer FivePoint Valencia broke ground on a new 21,000-home project that will become the largest net-zero community in the country. Homes will be built across 15,000 acres by production builders KB Home, Lennar, Toll Brothers, and Tri Pointe. The community will feature affordable housing, commercial space, and multifamily units. FivePoint has worked on this project for nearly 20 years, an extended timeline due to legal battles between environmentalists and real estate planners, says CNBC. Each home will have solar panels, electric vehicle chargers, and high-performance features that limit the need for air conditioning, heating, and ventilation.

The neighborhood’s pools will be heated through geothermal exchange technology. Recycled wastewater will be used for all irrigation through high-tech sewer pump stations, and landscaping will be drought tolerant and low combustible. That, however, will only get the community halfway to net zero.

“You have to be very creative and you have to challenge yourself and you have to think differently than yesterday,” said Haddad.

As offsets, FivePoint is earning carbon credits through several other projects costing tens of millions of dollars, according to Haddad. They are launching a methane capture program at a California dairy farm and installing rooftop solar in disadvantaged neighborhoods in Los Angeles County. FivePoint acquired the state’s 170-acre Pine Creek Forest, adding a permanent conservation easement.

It is even replacing traditional three-rock cook stoves in sub-Saharan Africa with clean-burning stoves and saving California’s endangered Sonoma spineflower by carving out preserves for it at the development.

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