Florida Scientists Plan Environmentally Friendly Community
Science Daily — With more than 1,000 people a day moving to Florida, the Sunshine State is starting to get a little crowded. To help manage some of the pressures associated with such relentless growth, while also improving energy efficiency, sustainability and overall quality of life, Florida State University’s Center for Advanced Power Systems (CAPS) has partnered with three other organizations to design a new community that could revolutionize the way future residential developments are constructed.
CAPS is part of a team that recently was awarded $1.8-million from Florida’s Renewable Energy Technologies Grant Program to develop a residential community in rural Calhoun County. The community, to be known as Sky, will be designed to be one of the most ecologically friendly and energy-efficient developments of its kind in the United States. The team’s proposal was among eight selected from more than 180 applicants to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. FSU’s portion of the award, totaling $722,000, adds to CAPS’ current efforts in sustainable energy analysis and development funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Office of Naval Research.
“It’s very exciting to have the opportunity to apply our expertise in renewable and sustainable energy technologies toward such a unique development,” said David Cartes, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering in the Florida A&M University-Florida State University College of Engineering who will lead CAPS’ involvement in Sky. “This project has the potential to serve as a model for future developments throughout the United States.”
The focus of Cartes’ excitement is Sky, a 571-acre community being planned by the development company White Starr Inc. on land it owns in the small Florida Panhandle town of Clarksville. Current plans call for 624 new home sites, an equestrian complex with miles of riding trails, public gardens, common agricultural fields with a farmers market, a lodge, office space, a general store and a conference center. More than one-half of the land will be set aside for agriculture and open space.
The homes will be grouped together into small “pods” modeled after Old World European villages. The plans for this “New Urbanism” approach were developed by the renowned design firm DPZ, a pioneer in these types of developments.