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The Draw of Green Communities – 10 Environmentally Sensitive Communities

 

According to the National Land Trust Census, more than 37 million acres in the United States are protected through land trusts. Increasingly, those trusts are being initiated by home and community developers. green-communities-6As more and more home buyers express interest in living in communities that preserve open space and offer energy-efficient building options, developers are building fewer homes on more land and preserving larger areas of green space. In addition to protecting landscapes, developers are also promoting sustainable design and construction. According to surveys by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), one of the biggest priorities of homeowners today is conserving home energy use through sustainable building features, which may include anything from highly efficient heating and cooling systems to passive solar home design. Come take a tour of some of the leading new communities in the southern U.S. when it comes to environmental stewardship and sustainable building.

 
 
 
Communities Mentioned in this article Homestead Preserve
Rainmakers
Withers Preserve
Versant
Brunswick Forest
Tradition
River Island
Spring Island
The Peninsula at Golden Isles
Mantria Communities

Homestead Preserve, Hot Springs, VA

 

Situated on 2,300 acres of rolling pastoral and wooded landscape along the western slope of Warm Springs Mountain, Homestead Preserve is a resort residential community that has made a long-term commitment to environmental stewardship and historic preservation. green-communities-1Bordering the George Washington National Forest and The Nature Conservancy’s Warm Springs Mountain Preserve, the community consists of a maximum of 450 homesites and is situated on land that was once a part of a vast 11,500-acre tract owned by the Virginia Hot Springs company, formed in 1892 by J. Pierpont Morgan. Preserving the landscape of Homestead Preserve involved more than three years of intensive planning involving the study of the property’s topography, forest cover, streams and watersheds to determine which areas would be suitable for development and which should be preserved. Today, each Homestead Preserve homesite has its own ‘building envelope’ to restrict where structures may be placed to avoid disrupting the viewshed and to protect the forest canopy.

Rainmakers, Alto, NM

 

Situated at the southernmost tip of the Rockies in southern New Mexico, Rainmakers occupies more than 1,000 acres of scenic vistas outside Ruidoso. green-communities-4Rainmakers is the first New Mexico member of Audubon International’s Signature Program, which ensures that the development follows strict planning guidelines for developing a sustainable community that also preserves natural resources. “We were always interested in being good stewards of the land,” says Rainmakers General Manager Michael O’Brien. One of the most interesting features of the Rainmakers property is its Robert Trent Jones golf course, one of only two in the country that makes use of polymers beneath the surface of the green to hold water. This system helps to maintain a temperature at the roots of the grass that is 10 to 12 degrees cooler than the air, thus resulting in a 20% to 30% decrease in water usage for irrigation as well as a lush green that is less prone to bacteria. That environmental stewardship extends to home construction at Rainmakers. The community’s pueblo-style townhomes all feature structural walls made of Styrofoam Energy Panels (SEPs) designed to reduce heating and cooling loads by as much as 35%. All homes also have a rain catchment system designed to harvest rainwater from roofs for irrigation. The developers encourage the planting of native vegetation as well. “We don’t promote big, luxurious lawns,” explains O’Brien. “Homeowners can have up to 800 square feet of lawn, but they must use a root water irrigation system.” O’Brien says an inch of rain on a house will produce 620 gallons of water for irrigation.

Versant, Asheville, NC

Versant is one of only 38 development projects in the world that has partnered with Audubon

 

International in its Gold Signature Sanctuary Program, which requires the highest standards of environmental stewardship. green-communities-3“We wanted to be good stewards of the property,” says Managing Partner Robert Richey. “And fortunately, we didn’t feel we had to maximize the return on the land.” Richey says it’s important to Versant’s developers to minimize the community’s footprint on the environment. “The impact of development is becoming an issue in the North Carolina mountains,” he points out. “We’re eliminating our adverse impact.” Part of the developers’ plan is to limit the number of homes that will be constructed. Versant will have 159 single-family homes and 200 multi-family units. “We could have put twice as many homes on this property,” Richey says. While Richey says property owners will not be required to build ‘green’ homes, the development will encourage sustainable construction and maintains strict architectural guidelines to encourage home styles and colors that blend into the native environment, as well as the use of natural construction materials.

Withers Preserve, Myrtle Beach, SC

 

In the world of preservation, it is not uncommon to hear the term ‘adaptive reuse,’ but the community of Withers Preserve in Myrtle Beach takes the idea to a whole new level. green-communities-5The 900-acre community is located on a portion of the former Myrtle Beach Air Force Base and is part of a locality-wide effort to reuse and reinvigorate this former 3,000-acre military installation. Withers Preserve will consist of about 4,000 to 5,000 homes, including multi-family, single-family and townhomes. Every single one of those homes will be constructed in keeping with GE’s Ecomagination Homebuilder Program. Withers Preserve is, in fact, the first community in the nation to be part of this initiative, which is guaranteed to save homeowners at least 20% in household energy and water usage, and result in a 20% reduction in emissions when compared to conventionally built homes of the same size. Ecomagination home features at Withers Preserve will include the GE SmartCommand™ Dashboard, which monitors and provides up-to-the-minute feedback on a home’s electric and water consumption; GE Energy Star® rated appliances; compact fluorescent lighting; and high standards for energy efficiency in heating, cooling and construction of the building envelope. Homes will have heat pumps with high SEER ratings, roofs with radiant barriers and increased insulation.

Brunswick Forest, Leland, NC

Situated on 4,500 acres of lush coastal forest near the historic city of Wilmington, Brunswick Forest will feature a series of parks and trails interspersed throughout the community to preserve open space and create peaceful recreation areas for owners. The focus of the lifestyle here is on fitness and environmental stewardship, as trails encourage walking and biking while enjoying nature. In 2008, Brunswick Forest’s first green model home will open for public tours, featuring passive solar design and a variety of other energy-efficient features.

Tradition Hilton Head, SC

Going “green” at Tradition is a commitment and way of life. The developers, Core Communities, are dedicated to providing quality development with low impact on the environment. Located on more than 5,000 acres, even the Tradition National Golf Course (Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program member) is “green,” planted with drought-tolerant Bermuda grass and irrigated with treated reclaimed water. The same reclaimed water will irrigate community landscaping in both common areas and around individual homes (a separate water line will be run to each home for just this purpose). Tradition’s land use plan will collect runoff storm water and return in to its series of lakes. Tradition has even been chosen as the official site of the first-ever HGTV Green Home. Congratulations, Tradition!

River Island, Evans, GA

River Island has been designated a conservation community by the Central Savannah River Land Trust. All the greenspace in River Island is part of the Land Trust for the River. In support of their commitment to environmental stewardship, they employ an on-site naturalist who is responsible for maintaining the community’s nature preserve areas, providing wildlife education opportunities and promoting natural resource conservation practices.

Spring Island, Spring Island, GA

 

Before ‘green’ was ‘in’, Spring Island offered preservation by setting aside 1,200 acres of the 3,000-acre island as a nature preserve. green-communities-2Located between Savannah and Charleston, 12 generations of private owners have helped to preserve and enhance the land. This sense of stewardship of the land is passed on to the maximum 400 families who will inhabit Spring Island. The homes serve as examples of sensitive, eco-friendly design with respect for their surroundings. To further their commitment, the Nature Center houses the Spring Island Trust headquarters and three on-staff naturalists.

Mantria Communities, TN

Located in Middle Tennessee, Mantria communities have formed strategic partnerships and alliances with the EPA Climate Leaders and the TVA. Now, this forward-thinking community can offer greener utilities, use engineering principles to recycle pure water, replenish uprooted trees and more. The TVA/Mantria partnership offers buyers the option to purchase ‘blocks’ of power generated from three renewable sources-the sun, wind and methane gas. Mantria has also made every effort to be carbon-neutral by measuring CO2 emissions, reducing the emissions and purchasing carbon credits with renewable energy projects. Mantria’s commitment extends to donating three percent of all profits from homesites sales to The Rainforest Foundation, Native Energy and the Arbor Day Foundation. They also encourage buyers to contribute and provide the necessary education for homeowners and their children.

The Peninsula at Golden Isles, St. Simons Island, GA

The Peninsula at Golden Isles, a new environmentally-responsible waterfront community located in the heart of Georgia’s Golden Isles, is working towards certification as the largest EarthCraft Community to date. The 3,300-acre community is located on 13 miles of river- front property and nine miles of navigable freshwater lakes. To achieve EarthCraft Coastal Certification, The Peninsula at Golden Isles is being planned, designed and constructed with specific environmental standards, and each home will be required to pass all EarthCraft House diagnostic testing. “We are certainly proud of this significant achievement,” said Clay Sikes, CEO of Spring- Tide Communities, LLC. “With this certification, we can develop the community in a way that will minimize the impact we leave on the earth and leave it in better shape for the future.”


Bella Vista - Arkansas Private Community

Bella Vista - Arkansas Private Community

Bella Vista, Arkansas

Bella Vista is a private 36,000-acre, Member-based recreational community in Northwest Arkansas offering seven golf courses, seven stocked private lakes, swimming pools, tennis courts, trails, parks, pavilions, recreation centers, a gun range, an RV Park and many other amenities. Bella Vista was recently ranked one of America's Top 10 Best Healthy Places to Retire by U.S. News & World Report and one of the Top 25 best places for affordable homes by CNNMoney.com and Money Magazine.
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AR


Tidewater by Del Webb

Tidewater by Del Webb

Estero, Florida

The 55+ active adult community of Tidewater by Del Webb, perfectly situated in Estero, offers award-winning amenities and extraordinary lifestyle. Experience for yourself the two-story, coastal inspired clubhouse, with elegant community gathering room, state-of-the-art fitness center, group fitness studio, several activity rooms, 2nd floor balcony and catering kitchen. The famous Del Webb active adult lifestyle awaits at Tidewater.
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FL


The Peninsula on the Indian River Bay - Delaware Gated Communities

The Peninsula on the Indian River Bay - Delaware Gated Communities

Millsboro, Delaware

The Peninsula on the Indian River Bay offers an exquisite collection of homes in vintage coastal architecture. With a Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, unmatched amenities and instant access to Delaware's famous Atlantic beaches, there is simply no place like The Peninsula on the Indian River Bay.
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DE


The Retreat at Barbers Hill

The Retreat at Barbers Hill

Mont Belvieu, Texas

The Retreat at Barbers Hill will be known as the place where resort-style amenities will merge with everyday living for those 62 and better. There will be no lack of amenities in our spacious one and two bedroom homes for rent. Residents will have the option of choosing from apartment homes with elevator access or one-story cottages with attached garages.
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TX


Birchwood at Brambleton in Northern Virginia

Birchwood at Brambleton in Northern Virginia

Brambleton, Virginia

Life Refreshes at 55! Birchwood at Brambleton is the freshest, youngest feeling 55+ community in Northern Virginia. In fact, it is outright fun - tailor-made for people who never learned how to act their age and perfectly located for keeping connected.
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VA


Sunset Ridge

Sunset Ridge

Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina

Sunset Ridge is located in Sunset Beach, North Carolina and has been one of Bill Clark Homes' longstanding flagship communities. At its completion, it will showcase just over 400 single family homes and is planned for 100 townhomes. Just 3 miles from the Sunset Beach barrier island, Sunset Ridge offers its residents the easy access to both the beach and the Intracoastal Waterway all at a very affordable price point.
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NC


Las Palmas Grand - Active 55+ Resort

Las Palmas Grand - Active 55+ Resort

Mesa, Arizona

It's easy to see why so many of our residents feel like they're on vacation all year long. Las Palmas Grand is a world-class resort with year-round activities, luxury amenities and a friendly group of active 55+ adults who enjoy life to the fullest, just like you.
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AZ


K. Hovnanian's   Four Seasons at Ventana Lakes

K. Hovnanian's Four Seasons at Ventana Lakes

Peoria, Arizona

K. Hovnanian's ® Four Seasons at Ventana Lakes in Peoria, AZ, an active adult new home community for those 55+, will offer single-family new homes in an excellent Peoria location. There are multiple community centers including space for cards and games, a library, billiards, ping pong, quilting, crafts and a stage for programs, productions and concerts. The community features 4 pools and well as gorgeous lakes that are available for catch and release fishing. Several sports courts are available to residents including bocce, racquetball, shuffleboard, tennis, basketball, horseshoes, pickle ball and volleyball.
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AZ


Babcock Ranch

Babcock Ranch

Babcock Ranch, Florida

New solar-powered town near Fort Myers in sunny Florida promotes active, healthy living with 50 miles of trails to get out and explore. Take in 9,000 acres of preserved green space, farm-to-table restaurants, community gardens, and the Healthy Life Center that align with the Babcock Ranch vision with a focus on wellness and sustainable living. Residents can choose from a mix of affordable, moderate and luxury residences that blend with the natural environment.
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FL


Preservation Point

Preservation Point

Wilmington,

Preservation Point is the newest and most unique waterfront community in beautiful Wilmington, NC. This exclusive community sits on the banks of the majestic Cape Fear River, just 1 mile from historic downtown Wilmington. Residents will enjoy large home sites with gorgeous hardwoods, a 7-acre private island with a marina and a West Indies styled clubhouse with pool and workout facility.
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NC


Fawn Lake

Fawn Lake

Spotsylvania, Virginia

Spanning over 2,350 acres of gently rolling countryside just nine miles west of the historic city of Fredericksburg VA, Fawn Lake offers the unique opportunity to live in the relaxed resort atmosphere of a gated community and carefully preserved trees with a 288-acre deepwater lake with over seven miles of shoreline plus and an Arnold Palmer...
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VA


Traditions of America at Silver Spring

Traditions of America at Silver Spring

Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania

Traditions of America at Silver Spring is a 55 and over community located in the #2 "least stressful place to live" in the United States -Greater Harrisburg, PA. Ask any of our homeowners and they'll say a move to this active senior living community is a stress-free decision!
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PA


Cresswind Peachtree City

Cresswind Peachtree City

Peachtree City, Georgia

At Cresswind Peachtree City, residents enjoy a long list of amenities specifically designed for those 55 and over. Located among 400 wooded acres with rolling hills and winding trails, Cresswind Peachtree City offers a haven for active living in an ideal location near Atlanta, Georgia. With a focus on fitness, nutrition and relationships, Cresswind Peachtree City is designed to help residents live better, longer. Cresswind Peachtree City features a brand-new 17,000-square-foot community clubhouse, offering a fitness center, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, tennis, arts & crafts room, and more.
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GA


Fairfield Glade & Fairfield North - Tennessee Resort Communities

Fairfield Glade & Fairfield North - Tennessee Resort Communities

Fairfield Glade, Tennessee

If you are looking for spectacular mountain beauty...look no further than Fairfield Glade. This well appointed community is located high atop Tennessee's Cumberland Plateau at 2,000 feet elevation, which accounts for the near perfect seasonal changes with very comfortable summers and mild winters.
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TN


Albemarle Plantation - North Carolina Gated Communities

Albemarle Plantation - North Carolina Gated Communities

Hertford , North Carolina

On the North Carolina's Inner Banks is a golf and marina community with a lifestyle like no other! Perched between historic Edenton and Elizabeth City, NC, it's an easy drive to any major city along the coast going north or south. With easy access to Tidewater Virginia and the Outer Banks of North Carolina, you will experience small town charm and big city culture at its finest.
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NC


Shepherds Cove

Shepherds Cove

Shepherdstown, West Virginia

Shepherdstown, convenient to Metropolitan Washington, D.C. nestled in the Shenandoah-Potomac Valley Highlands, was chartered by Colonial Virginia's General Assembly in 1762. Today it still offers its quaint and unspoiled charm to the sophisticated adventurer with Boutique Shops, Refined Dining and Culture, and a diverse array of Activities and Entertainment.
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WV


Spring Creek Golf Community

Spring Creek Golf Community

Zion Crossroads, Virginia

Nestled among the rolling hills of northern Virginia, Spring Creek is a gated golf community with easy access to both Charlottesville and Richmond. Whether your priorities are privacy and security, amenities and activities, or great homes at a great price, Spring Creek has everything you are looking for and more!
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VA


Savannah Quarters  - Modern Savannah Living.

Savannah Quarters - Modern Savannah Living.

Pooler, Georgia

Developed by Freehold Communities, Savannah Quarters, Savannah Quarters is a master planned community ideally located less than 15 minutes from the center of historic Savannah, GA.
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GA


Lakewood Ranch | Best Places to Live in Florida

Lakewood Ranch | Best Places to Live in Florida

Lakewood Ranch, Florida

At Lakewood Ranch, it's all about the good life. Health, family, and fun are the focus. And, there's an activity to fit every lifestyle. The community hosts 54 holes of golf, a country club with two clubhouses, and tennis and athletic centers. Additionally, it's home to the Sarasota Polo Club and seven world-class polo fields. Lake Ranch polo tournaments attract players from around the world. Still, the list continues with a 75-acre premier sports campus, A-rated schools, and a hospital and preventative medical clinic.
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FL


Plantation Bay Golf and Country Club — Florida Golf Communities

Plantation Bay Golf and Country Club — Florida Golf Communities

Ormond Beach, Florida

An abundance of sparkling new facilities take this prestigious private community to luxurious new heights, with two clubhouses, a magnificent 7,000-square-foot Spa and Fitness Center, 10 tennis courts and 45 holes of golf to challenge and delight players of all levels. Plantation Bay is the perfect place to get pampered, stay in shape and play, all right in your back yard.
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FL


Traditions of America at Southpointe

Traditions of America at Southpointe

Canonsburg, Pennslyvania

We're coming to YOU! Traditions of America is excited to bring the 55+ Live Better lifestyle to the South Hills of Pittsburgh. With downtown Pittsburgh only a short drive, Traditions of America at Southpointe is the prefect location near all that you will need!
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PA


Briarwood - Active 55+ Resort

Briarwood - Active 55+ Resort

Port Orange, Florida

Step into this active 55 plus community just minutes from the beach in Port Orange, Florida and be amazed at how affordable a resort lifestyle can be! You will discover friendly people, luxury amenities and homes for sale and rent.
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FL


Wellen Park

Wellen Park

Venice, Florida

Wellen Park is a vibrant new gated community in Venice, Florida that offers new homes and resort-style amenities. Located in the fast-growing, master-planned community of Wellen Park, we offer new homes that will complement this beautiful Sarasota County area. Get ready to enjoy the Southwest Florida lifestyle and great weather all year long. Choose from an array of thoughtfully-designed Paired Villas and Single Family Homes with unique curb appeal. Amenities will include a clubhouse, pool, tennis, pickleball, bocce, full-time Activities Director and events, parks and more. You'll love living just minutes to Downtown Venice, award-winning beaches and I-75. Quick move-in homes are available.
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FL


Lakes of Mount Dora - Central Florida 55+ Community

Lakes of Mount Dora - Central Florida 55+ Community

Mount Dora, Florida

Lakes of Mount Dora has been selected among the Top 50 Best Master-Planned Communities in the United States by Where To Retire Magazine! Combining Southern hospitality with small town charm, this 55+ active adult community was developed with a special vision in mind - to create a unique place where people can live in a central Florida waterfront home with classic Florida architecture near one of the most impressive small towns in the country.
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FL


Riverlights

Riverlights

Wilmington, North Carolina

Enter the home of your dreams and the lifestyle you crave in RiverLights ™, Wilmington's newest waterfront community. Designed to foster a coastal, wellness-centered environment, RiverLights offers the energy of a city amid miles of tranquil beauty. Set along the naturally magnificent Cape Fear River, it's a new kind of community that celebrates family, honors nature and breathes new life into Southern heritage.
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NC


Amblebrook Gettysburg

Amblebrook Gettysburg

Gettysburg,

Amblebrook is so much more than a community. It is where small town America meets modern culture. It is a way of life that incorporates the full spectrum of your well-being, including health and fitness, lifelong learning, social engagement, arts & culture, family connections, and the goodness of nature.
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PA


Del Webb Bexley

Del Webb Bexley

Land O Lakes, Florida

Del Webb Bexley is a 55 Plus Active Adult community near Tampa in Land O Lakes FL. Love life to the fullest in this gated, master-planned community. Enjoy the coastal life of Florida.
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FL


Hot Springs Village - Arkansas Communities

Hot Springs Village - Arkansas Communities

Hot Springs Village, Arkansas

Experience the natural beauty of Arkansas in Hot Springs Village, spread across 26,000 acres of the Ouachita Mountains with breathtaking vistas, sparkling lakes and lush forest.
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AR


Verona Oceanside

Verona Oceanside

Ormond by the Sea, Florida

Verona Oceanside offers beachside luxury and community living. This sought-after development off A1A will feature custom single-family homes and townhomes with direct ocean access. Verona will offer an all-new set of casual lifestyle floor plans for this exciting community accentuating outdoor living with front and back porches, an abundance of windows and plenty of open spaces.
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FL


K. Hovnanian's  Four Seasons at Orlando

K. Hovnanian's Four Seasons at Orlando

Kissimmee, Florida

Four Seasons at Orlando is a 55+ community in Kissimmee, Florida. This active adult community is situated within the 600-acre Mystic Dunes Resort & Golf Club, offering a championship golf course, recreation, and an array of amenities and activities. Planned amenities include a 12,000-square-foot clubhouse with swimming pool, fitness center, a card room, arts & crafts room, a cafe and more.
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FL


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