LOOKING BACK: Venetian Golf & River Club Met FGBC’s ‘Florida Green’ Standard.

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VENICE, Fla. — The Venetian Golf & River Club, by WCI Communities, Inc. reached another environmental and healthy home milestone in 2004, earning the Green Development Design Standard certification by the Florida Green Building Coalition.

The Florida Green Building Coalition’s (FGBC) prestigious certification was WCI’s first for a master-planned community.

Overall, The Venetian, based in Venice, Fla., was the fourth and latest development in Florida to pass the group’s community-wide green building standards.

Realizing the value this certification adds to a development project, a number of other developments throughout the state are also in the process of obtaining this environmental certification from FGBC.

The Venetian was up to the challenge of meeting FGBC Green Development Design Standard certification; the community was third in the world to be certified as an Audubon International Gold Signature Residential Sustainable Development for its land development practices and was designed in accordance with Audubon International’s principles of sustainability.

To earn FGBC’s certification, The Venetian passed a rigorous process of auditing and documenting its design and operating practices. The group’s green building standards help reduce a community’s impact to the environment and can improve the environmental value of land.

To achieve certification, a land development must meet minimum requirements in the following categories: ecosystem and conservation of natural resources; creation of a green circulation system; green utilities practices; amenities that reduce environmental impacts; incentives or requirements for green certified homes and commercial buildings; and education programs to help achieve green living practices.

FGBC guidelines encourage water conservation through budgeted irrigation and reclaimed water use as well as landscaping with native plants, which The Venetian uses liberally with a minimum of 50 percent native plants community-wide and 100 percent native vegetation on its 18-hole championship golf course. More than 2,600 trees have been added on the property’s 1,100 acres.

To save and restore wildlife habitats, The Venetian has wildlife corridors between preserves where wildlife can traverse the property for food and water. Other green building considerations include prevention of runoff and protecting trees. To that end, The Venetian has three large preserve areas where wetlands have been restored from damaged pasture, and the introduction of native plants increased the property’s biodiversity. Preserves are connected by wildlife corridors that are a minimum of 50 feet wide.

Every home built at The Venetian is designed to meet FGBC’s 200-point, green home benchmark. The community’s Casa Verde model, which includes a green building demonstration center and over 100 green and healthy home features, recently was named “The Greenest Home in Florida” by FGBC, scoring 325 points. The previous record, 317 points, was held by WCI’s Generation Green home in its Evergrene community in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

Green points are awarded in eight areas: design, energy, water, site, health, materials, disaster mitigation, and general. Homes at The Venetian are expected to improve indoor air quality, attain 30 percent greater energy efficiency, and conserve water. About 60 percent of The Venetian is dedicated to conservation areas, wetlands, lakes and the golf course. The championship golf course, designed by noted architect Ted McAnliss, is an Audubon International Gold Signature course. Among the numerous amenities is a 70-acre nature park along the Myakka River for residents to enjoy the natural beauty of Florida.

Contact FGBC @ (407) 777-4920 or e-mail info@floridagreenbuilding.org.