The first solar-powered town in the United States can teach builders about blending a healthy, sustainable lifestyle with tech to appeal to new demographics of homebuyers.
Located in Southwestern Florida, the Babcock Ranch development is expected to be the most sustainable community in the U.S. once construction is finished. To achieve this goal, the community will rely on a utility-scale solar array and an integrated water system.
Babcock Ranch will encompass 19,500 homes, more than six million square-feet of retail and office space and around 50,000 inhabitants by the time it is fully-completed.
“We are trying to put a high-tech spin on being outdoors. The wellness aspect of the town was critical to us and will be second to none.” says Syd Kitson, chairman and CEO of Kitson and Partners, the developer of Babcock Ranch.
The project broke ground in 2016 and phase one is expected to be completed by February of this year. Multiple builders will be working on this project as it unfolds and TecHome Builder will be following this unique community closely.
Attracting New Demographics with Sustainability and Health Tech
The central themes at Babcock Ranch are sustainability, connectivity, health and wellness—elements that other developers can use to attract new demographics of homebuyers.
The developers have taken steps to promote a connected, healthier lifestyle. Through a partnership with Century Link, each home uses fiber gigabit Internet as standard. To encourage a healthier life, public areas and local trails are within Wi-Fi range.
“We are trying to put a high-tech spin on being outdoors. The wellness aspect of the town was critical to us and will be second to none,” says Kitson. Residents can also use telehealth applications to stay connected with a physician.
The developers are taking steps to encourage health and wellness in the community because Kitson believes homebuyers are driven toward a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle.
To promote environmentalism and sustainability, more than half of Babcock’s 17,608 acres will be set aside for parks, greenways and lakes. The community is bordered by two wildlife and nature preserves totaling nearly 150,000 acres of protected wilderness.
The First Solar-Powered Town in America
The community is primarily powered by one of Florida’s largest solar arrays—a $300 million, 400-acre array that produces enough electricity to power the community during the day.
When the sun is down, natural gas kicks in. According to Kitson, the town will rely on both technologies until the developers can choose a solar battery backup system that best fits their needs.
“The combination of solar and natural gas make Babcock the most sustainable town in the U.S.,” says Kitson.
In addition to the solar array, the developers have recently completed construction on a wastewater treatment facility that will supply the town with clean filtered water and greywater for irrigation.
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