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Babcock Ranch: Making Sustainable Living EasyJanuary 18, 2017
People are quick to tout a community’s sustainability, but what does that term really mean? First, a definition of sustainable living, courtesy of the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences:
It’s based on the idea that our economy, culture and quality of life are closely tied to the environment. Sustainable-living practices enable us to meet our current needs without compromising the next generation’s ability to satisfy their own needs at the expense of the environment.
Babcock Ranch is the perfect illustration of turning the theory of sustainable living into practice.
Front and center at Babcock Ranch is the state-of-the art solar facility that will supply the town and the surrounding region with clean, renewable power.
In a unique partnership between Florida Power & Light and developer Kitson & Partners, Babcock Ranch’s 440-acre solar plant will generate enough power to sustain the needs of the town’s projected population of 50,000 residents. In fact, Babcock Ranch will become the world’s first new town where solar-energy production will exceed residents’ energy consumption.
In a recent statement, Florida Power CEO Eric Silagy noted that the Babcock Ranch facility will enhance the utility’s standing as one of the cleanest in the nation while keeping customer bills about 30% below the national average.
Sustainable Town Planning
While the solar project has attracted global attention for its scale, extensive planning for the town occurred behind the scenes to make sustainable living easy for future residents. That’s why Babcock Ranch has been designated as a Florida Green Building certified town.
Before the solar field was conceived, developers of Babcock Ranch chose to locate the development where it would have the least impact on nature. Indeed, the Babcock Ranch land totaled about 91,000 acres and only 18,000 acres is reserved for the town, leaving 71,000 acres in conservation for perpetuity.
The land for the town already had been used for agriculture purposes by the Babcock family and their ranch business funded generations of good stewardship. Nevertheless, about half of the 18,000 acres reserved for the town of Babcock Ranch won’t be developed. What’s more, Kitson is restoring water flows using ecological restoration and an environmentally sensitive storm-water system. In addition, Kitson has identified wildlife corridors connecting Babcock Ranch to surrounding lands for the protection of species such as the Florida panther.
Clean transportation is a key element. The town’s planners are working on a plan to become an early adoption site for shared, autonomous electric vehicles where individuals can “hail” driverless cars using their personal devices. In addition, the town will be carefully designed to provide alternative transportation and pedestrian orientation, with basic amenities and facilities in neighborhood commercial centers within walking distance of homes.
Green Home Design
When it comes to the homes themselves, the eco-centric town is raising the bar on efficiency and energy conservation. Builders in the town will adhere to rigorous standards for sustainable living. For example, porches and raised foundations will provide cooling naturally and the landscaping around the homes will require little watering.
Homes will achieve energy savings through established and reliable building technologies. Some of the features include: high performance windows and insulation, tight construction and ducts, efficient heating and cooling equipment, and energy saving lighting and appliances. All fixtures, faucets, shower heads, and toilets installed in homes will have WaterSense compliant fixtures.
Your commitment to sustainability begins the moment you choose Babcock Ranch, Florida as your home. By simply moving to Babcock Ranch, you can begin to live a more sustainable life. To learn more and take a personal tour of Babcock Ranch, contact us here.