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Creating a Sustainable Tomorrow at Babcock RanchJuly 06, 2016
Babcock Ranch is powered by 3 things: solar, nature, and innovation.
We’re powered by solar through our Florida Power and Light (FPL) Babcock Ranch Energy Center. We’re powered by nature in that we want our future residents to be able to connect with the environment and live in the most sustainable way possible. We’re powered by innovation driven by our Town Makers, the talented individuals who have helped make the dream of Babcock Ranch a reality.
As we’ve developed Babcock Ranch, we want to educate the surrounding community about our impact on the local environment. The people behind the development of Babcock Ranch are those that care deeply about the environment not only in Southwest Florida, but in the world. We want to build our town sustainably and in such a way that allows future residents to live that way, too. Below are the ways we are working to build and live sustainably at Babcock.
Understanding the Environment
Our environmentally-friendly design began with a thorough understanding of the natural systems and locating development areas where they would have the least impact. That is why more than 90% of development is located on already impacted pasture, farm and rock-mined land. Our town layout is designed to improve existing flow ways and wetland ecosystems. It is part of an integrated water management system sets a new standard for watershed protection, flood control and water conservation – including 100% use of reclaimed “grey water” for all irrigation.
The FPL Babcock Ranch Solar Energy Center
“I want Babcock to be known as the first solar powered town in America.” – Syd Kitson
Syd’s commitment to creating a town powered by solar energy is unwavering. With that vision, we’ve partnered with FPL to create the FPL Babcock Ranch Solar Energy Center. Our state-of-the-art solar facilities will supply the town – and the local region – with 75mw of clean, renewable energy.
The FPL Babcock Ranch Solar Energy Center includes 400+ acres of solar panels located at the northwestern edge of town and additional “micro communities” of solar generating panels on commercial rooftops throughout the town.
The FPL Babcock Solar Energy Center will be complete in Q4 2016, producing more energy than the future residents of Babcock Ranch will consume – and the modern “smart grid” digital electric distribution technology embedded in Babcock Ranch’s infrastructure will optimize energy efficiency and lower utility costs for both residents and businesses. Telecommuting will be a breeze with our high-speed data communications network that will be enabled for Babcock’s future residents.
Transportation the Babcock Way
At Babcock Ranch we’re making it easy for residents to leave their cars behind. We’re locating homes within easy walking or biking distance to stores, restaurants, parks, schools and other community amenities – with expansive paths and sidewalks to get there. We’re also committed to become an early adoption site for an innovative transportation model of shared, autonomous electric vehicles. Using a smartphone app, residents will be able to “hail” driverless cars to deliver them from point A to B.
Use of the Land & Future Preservation
At the rate that Southwest Florida is growing, we’re excited to create a town that houses our new and current residents that leaves the smallest footprint possible. Our new town is the economic engine that made it possible to permanently preserve 80 % (73,000 acres) of the historic Babcock Ranch. Within the town, 50% of the footprint is set aside for open green spaces and lakes, with 50 miles of trails beckoning residents to discover all that nature has to offer. Environmental stewardship achievements and ongoing commitments at Babcock Ranch include:
- Completion of a regional wildlife connectivity study, which helped to create permanent wildlife corridors connecting parks and natural lands throughout SWFL.
- Planting for a panther habitat, converting 75 acres of farmland.
- Design and implementation of a comprehensive plan for storm water management
- Design and construction of a weir system to restore historical hydraulics of the Curry Lake ecosystem
Creation of the new town of Babcock Ranch has helped assure the Babcock family’s tradition of careful land stewardship will carry forward. As part of the master Environmental Resources Permit (ERP) for Babcock Ranch, the new town has assumed responsibility for a variety of ongoing activities to preserve the neighboring lands. This includes:
- Restoration of historical flows/greenways
- Maintenance of surface water quality
- Ecological restoration of disturbed uplands
- Functional habitat design for wildlife
- Enhancement of wildlife corridors
- Habitat for panther mitigation
As one of our Town Makers, Bill Waddill (the Senior Vice President of Kimley-Horn & Associates), put it, sustainability is about respecting the land, understanding the land, preserving the land, and developing the land in such a way that is sustainable. Whether that means using solar energy to power a town or using sustainable products, our commitment to building a more sustainable tomorrow is unwavering.