“Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
— World Commission on Environment and Development
Everything affects everything. A sustainable quality of life that includes economic vitality, fiscal and actual security, and a healthy population must be based on this belief.
Developing responsibly with sensitivity to the surrounding environment is essential to protecting the quality of life in fast-growing areas. Preserving the things that make Florida so special, like wildlife and the environment that sustains it, is vital in attracting new and growing businesses to the area.
The big picture for sustainable development includes urban redevelopment that provides residents with high-density, mixed-use communities that are walkable and transit oriented. But by incorporating green construction practices and conservation techniques into these redeveloped, mixed-use communities, we significantly reduce our demand on water and energy. We reduce, or offset, our carbon footprint (the amount of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere). We also reduce stormwater runoff, maintenance costs and the amount of garbage going into our landfills.
And all of these green technologies and materials save residents money on water bills, electric bills and transportation costs. With money going back into their pockets, residents are able to spend more money on their homes. This is the new model for affordable housing.
Going green may be a bit more expensive, but state and federal grants and incentive programs can offset these increased costs. Additionally, architects, contractors and others are rapidly embracing the green approach so finding qualified support and quality materials is much easier today than it was even a year ago.
When we develop green, sustainable communities, everybody wins: the developer, the residents and the community. The commitment to “go green” is a commitment well worth the investment in time and materials.
Inside this newsletter, you’ll find additional information about sustainable development and green building practices. We hope you find the information both interesting and useful. For additional tips on green living, you can also visit our Web site at www.gradypridgen.com.
This is our company philosophy. We think it’s the big idea that Florida must come to terms with if we are to have a sustainable quality of life that provides economic vitality while preserving our Florida lifestyle.
Green building is based on the idea that by making a small investment today, we ensure economic vitality for years to come. But it’s more than that. Global warming, skyrocketing insurance costs, water supply shortages, a decline in air quality and evaporating land resources make sustainability more than an “option” — it’s a necessity.
We have to think smart and we have to grow smart. This begins with planning. Our urban center populations are generally decreased from past years, but roads and other infrastructure are in place to accommodate revitalization of these urban centers. This makes urban redevelopment a sustainable alternative. When we make these communities mixed use, walkable and mass transit-oriented, we create communities that are even more sustainable. Plus, by incorporating money-saving green products and technologies, residents save money on transportation, electricity and water. This makes urban living convenient, healthy and affordable.
Everything connects to everything. That’s why it’s imperative to make our connections positive. At Grady Pridgen, Inc. we’re in the business of making positive connections. We create sustainable communities that preserve our environmental resources while providing economic vitality to our region.
For more information about urban redevelopment, please visit:
- Florida Redevelopment Association
- Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Brownfields Redevelopment Program
- Florida Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials
- Florida Brownfields Association
The La Entrada community will be a national model for green living — right here in Tampa Bay. La Entrada will be the nation’s first zero-carbon, sustainable, mass-transit oriented, urban infill, mixed-use, brownfield redevelopment with workforce housing.
In total, the La Entrada plan includes approximately 1.450 million SF of manufacturing space, 1.3 million SF of retail space, 5.9 million SF of office space and 2,495 multi-family residential units. Valpak, a high-tech marketing company plans to employ up to 1,800 workers and Halkey-Roberts, a high-tech medical device manufacturer, plans to have up to 500 employees. Combined, the companies are projected to provide jobs for up to 2,300 employees.
Incorporating smart growth planning principles, La Entrada will specifically include:
- Low-impact design (such as native landscaping);
- Pervious pavements;
- Green roofs;
- Alternative and energy efficiency;
- Grey water recycling; and
- Water quality enhancing technologies and processes.
The ultimate goal of these technologies is to reduce electricity, water, sewer and waste demand by 75 percent through solar energy production, energy-saving appliances and construction, and water conservation fixtures and recycling programs. By reducing monthly operating costs, we increase the affordability of our workforce housing. The use of clean solar power will reduce traditional energy demand, offsetting or reducing our carbon footprint. Additionally, La Entrada’s buildings will be more hurricane-resistant than conventionally built structures in Florida.
Combined, these advances amount to a healthier living and workspace, environmental protection and enhanced quality of life.
Solar energy is technology that captures usable energy from the light of the Sun. This energy can then be used to heat or cool homes and water, and provide indoor and outdoor lighting. When combined with photovoltaic cells, enough energy can be created to provide “off the grid” power to a home, completely eliminating energy bills.
Solar energy can also be used in daylight harvesting. Providing ample windows and appropriately placed windows can reduce the need for indoor lighting during the daylight hours. One effective way to harvest daylight is to use lighting controls that switch or dim lights either manually or automatically in response to available daylight.
Florida, known as the Sunshine State, is the ideal location for increased use of solar energy. With changes to our current energy policy, Florida could be a world leader in reducing our carbon footprint.
For more information about solar energy technology, please visit:
- Florida Renewable Energy Association
- Florida Solar Energy Research and Education Foundation
- Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Energy Office
- Florida Solar Energy Center at University of Central Florida
- American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy
Florida has taken progressive measures by creating the Century Commission and the Council for Sustainable Florida. But more needs to be done to encourage developers, builders and local governments to build with sustainability in mind.
The Century Commission, as the name implies, has been charged with looking 100 years into the future to project the needs of the state. Many countries, such as Hong Kong, Germany and China, already plan in 100-year increments.
The Council for Sustainable Florida promotes sustainable best management practices through collaborative educational efforts throughout Florida. These efforts include convening and working with regional grassroots sustainability organizations and Florida’s colleges and universities.
But to become truly sustainable Florida must look at initiatives and policies currently in place — and be willing to change some of these current policies to encourage sustainable development. For instance, municipalities should consider redistricting development areas by creating “no build” areas outside of employment centers. This is good for the economy and the environment.
Additionally, state and local governments should work together to develop new, realistic and holistic green growth-management rules. This should also include providing incentives for urban infill, in order to prohibit urban sprawl, and for developers who design high-density communities. Currently, it costs more to redevelop than to build on open, green space. Finally, road and infrastructure development should be tied to economic development.
We’re on the way, but there’s still a lot of work to be done. With holistic, environmentally friendly growth-management rules in place, we will develop sustainable communities that protect our quality of life for future generations.