Neighborhood Watch: Kfar Saba’s face to the future

The city’s residents are among Israel’s most ecologically aware – something that is reflected in the new ‘green neighborhood’.

kfar saba green living_521 (photo credit: Courtesy)
kfar saba green living_521
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Kfar Saba, located in the heart of the Sharon region, is a very old urban entity named after the ancient Capharsaba, an important settlement in the Southern Sharon during the Second Temple Period.
It was first mentioned by the historian Josephus, writing of King Alexander Yannai’s attempt to stop an invasion from the North: “He (Antiochus, who was called Dionysius)... made expedition against Judea, with 8,000 armed footmen and 800 horsemen. So Alexander, out of fear of his coming, dug a deep trench, starting at Chabarzaba, which is now called Antipatris, to the sea of Joppa.”
That was over 2,000 years ago. Today, Kfar Saba is a city of around 100,000 trying to distance itself from the image of a dormitory town serving the Tel Aviv metropolitan center. It is also at the vanguard of “green living” – building in a way that causes the least possible harm to the environment.
In the northwestern corner of the city’s municipal boundaries, opposite the northeastern section of Ra’anana, the Kfar Saba municipality has designated an area of some 560 dunams as a “green neighborhood,” and will issue building permits only for what the Environmental Protection Ministry has authorized as “green buildings.”
Kfar Saba Mayor Yehuda Ben-Hamu is very supportive of ecological development in his city.
“The ‘Green Neighborhood’ is part of our strategy of creating a green ecological city,” he says. “Our policy is to make Kfar Saba Israel’s greenest city and the most ecologically friendly urban entity in the country. I believe that this new neighborhood – the first of its kind in Israel – will serve as a model for the whole country.
“The reason Kfar Saba was chosen as the site of the first green neighborhood is because the residents are the most ecologically conscious in Israel. The municipality, for its part, is investing NIS 35 million in the area as part of its green agenda.”
But what does all this “greening” mean? According to the ministry’s regulations, a green building is one that uses “green” construction materials – often recycled raw materials – and is designed to consume the least energy possible in both heating and cooling.
THIS MEANS that the openings – windows and balconies – are situated so as to make the most of existing breezes, sunshine, and other natural phenomena. Solar energy is employed not only to heat water, but also to provide electric power for the lighting system.
A “green” building is equipped with filters to “clean” fumes from the kitchen, and water catchments to make use of rainwater for irrigating the garden – very important in a country with scant freshwater resources.
A green neighborhood is one with green houses, but also one with a high ratio of green spaces to the total area. It is a neighborhood with a garbage collection system that separates garbage for recycling; and one with a low noise level. In short, it is a neighborhood that ensures a high quality of life.
Such “extras” do not come cheap, and Alon Dayan, manager of Remax ONE Kfar Saba, told Metro that while building costs for a green building are “much less than we thought, they can still go from 5-10 percent more to as much as 15% more than those of a conventional building.
This does not seem to worry developers, who have already bought up most of the available land.
Eyal Gilad, general manager of Gilad and Enat Engineering and Development, told Metro:
“It is true that building green is more expensive, but that did not deter us because we believe that in the not so distant future most of the building in Israel will be green. Israel is a small country, a densely populated country, and we must protect the environment. “
Right now, we are constructing a project called VIEW – 164 residential units in five buildings seven to nine stories high.”
Activity in the Green Neighborhood is brisk. When completed, it will have nearly 5,000 apartments, which adds up to some 18,000 residents.
Many large, well-known real-estate companies such as Africa Israel, Shikun Ovdim and Minrab are involved in building the neighborhood. None of the projects has yet been finished.
Dayan says he is “pleasantly surprised by the level of demand. Green has great appeal among families of a high socioeconomic level, and it is demand from this quarter that is driving the prices.
“I have good reason to believe that prices will continue to rise. As of now, only a third of the dwellings authorized are under construction, but the steady demand indicates that the whole project will be finished as planned.
“Generally speaking, prices today are higher than those in Kfar Saba in general. In the past months, we have sold a 110-square-meter, four-room apartment for NIS 1.6 million; a five-room, 135-sq.-m. apartment for NIS 1.9m.; a 110-sq.-m. garden apartment with a 100-sq.-m. garden for NIS 1.95m., and a 180-sq.-m. duplex with a 50-sq-m. terrace for NIS 2.5m.”