KeepHealthCare.ORG – Mirabella development celebrates 100th LEED green home – News – Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Bradenton 55+ community meets highest standards
BRADENTON — One Mirabella resident monitors his energy consumption via computer all day long. His electric bill reaches just over $30 a month. Developer Marshall Gobuty enjoys telling that story about the homes in his eco-friendly, 55+ community.
On Tuesday, Bradenton Mayor Wayne Poston and Councilman Gene Gallo helped Gobuty celebrate the 100th Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum-certified home, the U.S. Green Building Council’s highest benchmark for energy use, water use and health.
The 35 people attending were joined by Mahesh Ramanujam, the Green Building Council’s president and chief executive, who flew in from Washington, D.C. for the celebration. The event included a ground-breaking on the 101st home.
Once Gobuty completes Mirabella, all 158 villas will be LEED platinum-certified. Those homes consume nearly 40 percent less energy than a conventional home and save 2,500 gallons of water per person every year.
“This is unique,” Ramanujam said in an interview before the ceremonies. “Florida is getting greener all the time.”
It’s all about making a better home, he said.
“Everybody’s got a different definition of green,” Ramanujam said. “But the reality is green is a way of living.”
Mirabella is one of the first production-built projects in the country to meet the Green Building Council’s highest standards on just about everything. Most green homes are custom-built, but an entire development of such homes lowers the purchase price.
“You don’t have to be rich to own a sustainable home,” Gobuty said. “It is not cost prohibitive. It’s actually enhancing their life.”
The cost is not daunting, and a homeowner can recover those expenses in only a few years through energy efficiency and other ways, Ramanujam said.
To achieve that LEED status, inspectors show up unannounced at all stages of construction to ensure eligibility via a points system. Components include special insulation; spray foam in all holes and gaps, including those around power outlets and plumbing; sealed duct work; moisture barriers; water-resistant flooring; attic air barriers; radiant board in the roof; windows with triple caulking; fire-retardant and termite-treated wood; erosion control, and special paints and glues to prevent breathing and other health problems.
These are resilient, healthier, energy-efficient homes, Ramanujam said.
And the villas are built to withstand the strongest hurricanes. Homeowner insurance costs are typically cut in half, Gobuty said, and Mirabella is not in a flood zone.
“There is no reason why everybody isn’t doing this,” Gobuty said. “This is what the market wants.”
A cultural shift toward sustainability is occurring, Ramanujam said.
“Marshall and his team lead by example,” he said. “They have been long-standing pioneers in the green residential movement and are one of the premier LEED developers in the country.
“They’ve streamlined the design, construction and certification of sustainable homes, opening sustainable homebuilding and living to everyone while showcasing the environmental, health and economic benefits.”
During remarks in front of the gathering in one of the homes, Gallo said, “This is the best development in the city of Bradenton. It will be tough to duplicate.”
Mirabella is in his ward.
“We’re very, very proud of this,” Poston said.