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Bringing Sustainability to Southwest FloridaJuly 19, 2017
Years ago, Southwest Florida developers indiscriminately dug canals and roads without any regard for the environment. If you travel the local back roads you’ll see some communities continue to live with the consequences of this lack of planning.
Fast-forward to 2017: Kitson & Partners, the developer of Babcock Ranch, is bringing real sustainability to Southwest Florida.
The firm is at the vanguard of the idea that our economy, culture and quality of life are closely tied to the environment. Sustainable-living practices at Babcock Ranch will enable residents to meet their current needs without compromising the next generation’s ability to satisfy their own needs at the expense of the environment.
Babcock Ranch embraces a commitment to conserving, preserving natural resources, creating a context for personal growth and the fulfillment of personal dreams and aspirations. Kitson believes that sustainability begins with environmental conservation because it’s not possible to promote economic and social progress without it.
Florida’s well-earned moniker as the Sunshine State means it should be at the forefront of solar energy. Kitson has taken that to heart at Babcock Ranch because the new town is the first in the nation to be powered completely by the sun.
In a partnership between Florida Power & Light, Babcock Ranch’s solar plant will generate enough power to sustain the needs of the town’s projected population of 50,000 residents. What’s more, Babcock Ranch’s solar-energy production from 338,448 photovoltaic panels on 440 acres will exceed residents’ energy consumption.
FPL says the Babcock Ranch facility will be one of the cleanest in the nation while keeping customer bills about 30% below the national average. Building large-scale solar facilities are the most economical way to build solar in Florida because these plants can produce 2.5 times more energy than private, residential-rooftop solar for the same dollar invested.
Sustainable land use
Life at Babcock Ranch is designed to reduce residents’ impact on the environment. Extensive planning for the town to make sustainable living easy for future residents earned Babcock Ranch the coveted designation 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.
In addition, Kitson restored water flows and established an environmentally sensitive storm-water system. In addition, Kitson identified wildlife corridors connecting Babcock Ranch to surrounding lands for the protection of species such as the Florida panther.
Babcock Ranch will have 50 miles of paths for residents to use and biking will be one of the preferred modes of transportation.
At Babcock Ranch, you’ll be able to bike from your home to secluded wilderness areas or to the shops, restaurant and wellness center downtown. That’s because the community is designed to encourage biking and walking and reduce the need to drive a car or truck.
For example, you might enjoy riding your bike through the woods to meet friends for lunch at Table & Tap restaurant on Founder’s Square, the heart of Babcock Ranch’s downtown district.
Builders in the town will adhere to rigorous standards for sustainable living, including building homes with materials such as high-performance windows and insulation. Porches and raised foundations will provide cooling naturally and the landscaping around the homes will require little watering.
You can watch videos of Kitson & Partners executives discussing sustainable living, here. Give us a call at 877-484-4434.