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New Traverse City development aims for net-zero emissions

Developer Dan Paulson cuts the ribbon at the EverGreen TC groundbreaking on Sept. 8, 2023. (Photo Credit: Izzy Ross/IPR)
Izzy Ross
Developer Dan Paulson cuts the ribbon at the EverGreen TC groundbreaking on Sept. 8. (Photo: Izzy Ross/IPR News)

This coverage is made possible through a partnership with IPR and Grist, a nonprofit, independent media organization dedicated to telling stories of climate solutions and a just future.

Dan Paulson sticks a shovel into the ground of a grassy lot to the west of Traverse City, as a crowd of onlookers applauds.

Paulson, president of the Grand Traverse Area Homebuilders Association, helped fund and develop what will eventually be here — a net-zero housing complex called EverGreen TC.

“This is really heartwarming,” he told IPR in an interview afterward.

Paulson worked with other developers for more than five years to plan a total of 126 townhouses on this site, near Gray and Cedar Run roads.

Net-zero housing means that over the course of a year the buildings will produce as much energy as they use.

Paulson and other developers hope they can help meet the region’s housing needs while prioritizing renewable energy. That hope was shared by others at the groundbreaking ceremony Friday, including state Rep. John Roth (R-Interlochen).

“We need more housing," Roth said. "That's just simple. So if project like this comes out at market rate, and is that — great! I'm all for anything that happens at this point.”

Developers across the world are exploring net-zero building. But factors like high initial prices, a shortage of trained workers and building code requirements can get in the way.

The townhouses are expected to start at around $355,000.

Paulson said they have already heard a lot of excitement about the project's potential to both provide what he calls reasonably priced sustainable housing and also model how to execute this type of project for other builders and developers.

“We're trying to prove that this is possible and practical in the marketplace,” he said.

Construction on the first set of townhouses will begin in about a month, and the first units will be available this spring.

Izzy covers climate change for communities in northern Michigan and around the Great Lakes for IPR through a partnership with