SELKIRK, — Audubon International has named WCI Communities as the first homebuilder to have a residential community certified as an “Gold Signature Sustainable Development.” The designation is Audubon's highest rating for environmental design, construction, and operation of new developments.

WCI received certification for two of its Florida residential communities: Evergrene, a 364-acre development in Palm Beach Gardens and home to WCI's newest concept green house -- the Geni G -- is located on the East Coast of Florida; and Sun City Center, an active adult community in Fort Myers, is located on the West Coast.

Geni G -- short for “Generation Green” -- is a 1,500-square foot home styled as an American bungalow, and is the culmination of hundreds of hours of research on cost-effective green-building techniques, systems, appliances, and finishes by WCI designers and engineers. It incorporates energy-efficient building technologies, recycled materials, and features that promote indoor air quality. It has bamboo flooring, a rain collection/storage system for irrigation, and paints and finishes that emit little or no fumes.

The $75,000 in green building options include carpet made from recycled soda bottles, touchless faucets that encourage water conservation, and fiber-optic cable lighting systems that allow one light bulb to do the work of 10 to save on energy costs. Evergrene’s grounds include 80 acres of wildlife habitat and a 36.5-acre lake.

Each home meets the 200-point green building benchmark set by the Florida Green Building Coalition as well as Audubon International's Principles of Sustainability, which include:

  • Understanding the unique attributes of each piece of designated land
  • Protecting local wildlife
  • Conserving and maximizing native and naturalized plants
  • Commitment to water quality and conservation
  • Commitment to green building
  • Dedication to education and outreach to foster sustainable communities

    "WCI's commitment to building sustainable communities is unmatched in the industry. The company's passion and dedication to constantly push the envelope, explore leading-edge green building opportunities and embrace educating customers and key stakeholders is what ultimately led to this well-deserved certification," said Audubon International President and CEO Ronald Dodson. "They back up their commitments with resources that lead to results."

    WCI is involved in other environmental initiatives. For example, it is working with Florida Gulf Coast University, known for its environmental studies, to develop a green building learning and demonstration center. In 2002, WCI was the first developer to provide facilities for bio-diesel fuel at a Florida marina. WCI also produces its own brand of mulch, made from plants cleared during site preparation. The company employs a full-time environmental stewardship manager, charged with educating employees about green building techniques, as well as natural resource managers and arborists.

    WCI and Audubon International are in the third year of working together on a commitment that spans ten projects in Florida -- the first agreement of this size between a builder and a non-profit environmental organization. During the past few years, WCI has invested $2.5 million in this effort, including a full-time team of four environmental managers dedicated to building sustainable communities and educating consumers, communities, and industry leaders.