Babcock Ranch Brings Sustainable Homes and Lifestyles to SWFL
If you are interested in sustainable homes, tucked into a corner of Southwest Florida about a half-hour from Fort Myers, Babcock Ranch is what developer Syd Kitson calls the most sustainable new community in America. It started when Kitson, a former NFL player, purchased the 91,000 acre ranch in 2006. He immediately struck a deal to sell 73,000 acres of the property to the state of Florida for a wildlife preserve. He then donated 440 acres to Florida Power & Light with the stipulation that it construct a solar power plant on the land. Today, that parcel is covered by 350,000 solar panels that feed electricity into the electrical grid.
Then Kitson went to work with local partners to design and build a new community of sustainable homes on the remaining 17,000 acres. Hence, the town gets most of its electricity from the nearby solar power plant during the day. Although the community has 10 small battery stations, large-scale battery storage is still too expensive, so at night or on cloudy days, the community draws power from the utility grid.
The first residents began moving in at the beginning of this year.
500 sustainable homes are expected to be completed by December. 19,500 dwelling units are planned over the next two decades. All of the structures in Babcock Ranch will feature the latest energy efficiency technology and offer 1 gigabit internet access. Alexa will handle all smart home functions. Outside, there are 50 miles of nature trails through the wildlife preserve next door. A farm-to-table organic gardening project is underway and a K-8 charter school is planned. Therefore, residents will be encouraged to leave their cars at home as they walk, bike, or take advantage of the electric autonomous shuttle bus fleet that will service the community.
This community is a unique opportunity to really implement sustainable technology in a practical way. Cities around the world have started adopting 100% renewable energy targets. It’s both intriguing and encouraging to see this happening from a developer.
Communities that have already transitioned to 100% renewable energy include Aspen, Colorado; Burlington, Vermont; Greensburg, Kansas; Rockport, Missouri; and Kodiak Island, Alaska, according to the Sierra Club. As a result, Babcock Ranch has designed sustainability into the entire fabric of the community from the beginning. Just as Tesla has driven change in the transportation industry, Babcock Ranch will encourage change. This is done by encouraging other cities to make sustainability part of their community DNA. Want to learn more about investing in Babcock Ranch and sustainable homes? Contact an expert member of the Land Wealth team.