In the heart of the Negev, a brand new city is nearing completion.
Soon, Ir Habahadim, or “the city of training bases” will welcome its first residents.
The city, intended for use by the IDF, was built to be an example of green living in the Negev and has a number of innovative features to reduce water usage and harness the power of the sun.
Shalom Alfasi, the administrative director of the city, explained to journalists on a recent tour of the structure that the facilities will garner 60 percent of their energy from solar power.
To save on water, shower water will also be recycled for use in flushing toilets. The sewage will be piped to a nearby treatment plant nearby
The site is also providing, for the first time, sewage, water and electrical infrastructure to the remote region.
Alfasi said he hopes that the availability of these utilities will encourage others to move to the area, sparking more green development of the south.
“It’s an economic anchor for the environment,” Aflasi said.
Serving as a living laboratory for sustainable building in the desert, the new city is also using automatically adjusting lighting and temperature control to minimize energy expenditures and is considering installing a natural gas line to reduce the environmental impact even further.
To encourage the new residents to use green transport, a bike path from Beersheba to Ir Habahadim – roughly 30 kilometers in length – is also being considered to link the new town to other residential hubs in the region.
Currently 150 hectares of the 250 hectare plot owned by the IDF have been transformed into the new green town.
Alfasi, though, said that this is just the beginning. While the first residents will arrive in March, construction will continue until February 2016.
He added, once Ir Habahadim becomes fully operational, he expects more growth in the area will follow.
“We are the locomotive that is leading this whole train,”Alfasi said.