Audubon International Certifies First Earth-Friendly Communities

Audubon International Certifies First Earth-Friendly Communities

WCI Communities has become the first homebuilder ever to have a residential community certified as an Audubon International Gold Signature Sustainable Development.

Demonstrating its environmental commitment and incorporating green building principles into traditional home building, WCI has received certification for not one, but two of its residential Florida 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.

The Audubon International certification is a milestone in a two-year partnership between WCI and Audubon International, a not-for-profit environmental organization working to foster more sustainable human and natural communities through research, education, and technical assistance. Working hand-in-hand since May 2001, WCI and Audubon International are driving change in the homebuilding industry, encouraging the adoption of green building principles and the importance of building sustainable developments.

"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 G. Dodson. "They are a company that backs up their commitments with resources that lead to results."

WCI and Audubon International are in the third year of working together on a commitment which spans 10 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 some $2.5 million in this environmental effort, including a full-time team of four environmental managers dedicated to building sustainable communities and educating consumers, communities and industry leaders well into the future.

WCI broke ground on Evergrene in March 2002. From initial concept to build out, Evergrene embraces 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 on nurturing sustainable communities
Sun City Center, a retirement community, has also been built in accordance with Audubon International's sustainability principles. A 38-acre nature preserve located in the heart of the community has encouraged the return of native wildlife to the area. Residents participate in ongoing environmental education classes. In addition, WCI voluntarily re-engineered and upgraded the irrigation system on Sun City Center's 18-hole championship golf course after discovering water was not being utilized efficiently.

Other WCI communities in Florida that meet Audubon International's sustainability guidelines and are eligible for certification include:
  • Venetian Golf and River Club
  • Hammock Bay
  • Tuscany Reserve
  • Old Palm Golf Club
  • Parkland Golf & County Club
  • One Watermark Marina