BRADENTON, FLA.—Can the hotel building community learn green lessons from the residential building community? Of course. If you get a chance to visit a green home community, do it. This past weekend my family and I stopped by Mirabella in Bradenton, Fla. USGBC just awarded the owners of the 70 completed and occupied Mirabella homes LEED Platinum, the highest LEED designation.
Mirabella currently has 37 homes under construction with 53 lots remaining, with plans to have those 90 properties also earn the same level of certification.
What I noticed first when entering the model home was how quiet it was. Extra insulation is used in construction. For example, there is Core Foam Masonry Foam at the fire wall. Owners choose from different types of attic insulation to further add to the home’s energy efficiency. Other features helping to make the homes efficient: Energy Star appliances, Low E double-pane vinyl windows, LED lighting, irrigation controllers, 15 SEER air-conditioning system with digital programmable thermostat, low and no VOC paint and products, and low flow water fixtures. Carpet used in the home is GREENGUARD certified.
The HERS (Home Energy Rating System) was developed by the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) for inspecting and calculating a home’s energy efficiency, and determining if it meets Energy Star guidelines. Mirabella’s homes earned an average of 60 on the HERS Index, so they are 40 percent more efficient than the reference home (i.e. a standard new home).
The monthly cost of electricity in a Mirabella home? Only about $60 to $70.
Cottage Community Planned in Cortez
Steve Velliquette, a Sales Associate for Mirabella, told me the next development will be in Cortez, Fla. and will be called Hunters Point Resort & Marina. The 148 cottage community will feature 49 boat slips, a public marina and community center, all designed to provide a modern, environmentally respectful and energy efficient fishing village style community to the historic town of Cortez. Of the 148 “Cracker” cottages, 62 are designed as hotel rooms for short term rentals.
The coastal cottages, hotel buildings, and community buildings will be developed and constructed to receive EnergyStar certification and qualify to become LEED certified. In keeping with being environmentally conscious and energy conservative, Hunters Point will also use innovative green design techniques to conserve water, save energy and preserve the environment.
Cottages and the community center will feature EPA WaterSense faucets, toilets, showers and irrigation controllers, to reduce water consumption. By providing energy-efficient appliances, applying high-performance building techniques and thermally insulated construction, Hunters Point residents will see substantially reduced utility costs. Solar power charging of golf carts is also planned, with the property currently exploring rooftop solar photovoltaic energy for the cottages.