Thursday, April 16, 2009

Babcock Ranch: Solar and Green Design of the Future

If everything goes according to plan, soon Babcock Ranch in Florida will be the archetype for solar and green design of the present. In essence it will incorporate everything I write about on this blog in regard to sustainability, including photovoltaics, water conservation, daylighting, and energy savings. It sets a precedent for Eco-friendly urban design, one that will not be easy to live up to. It will take about 25 years to complete and will probably be the greenest city around - literally, over half of the 17,608 acre city is alotted to greenspace such as parks, trails, and nature preserves. Even city rooftops will be 'green roofs' with vegetation to minimize cooling costs.

The city will be powered entirely by renewable solar energy. It will have the largest on-site solar plant in the world that will cost over $300 million. Electric vehicles will be charged at stations powered by the sun, and traffic will be eliminated thanks to the extensive system of pathways for alternative transportation, i.e. walking, biking, rollerblading, etc. No existing city would ever be able to retrofit to such high standards because the design is completed from the ground up taking into consideration all minute details before the site plan is even done.

While in my opinion 'green' and 'city' is an oxymoron, I've got to give them some credit for making a city - the epitome of consumerism and over spending, more sustainable. I still think it is 'greener' to live off-grid (solar and/or wind) in a rural area, raise and grow your own food, and collect rain water. Babcock Ranch is just a great attempt at taking the comfortable consumerism lifestyle and subtracting the guilt that some don't even feel while living like billions of others in the average city. It will be a great place for those who like city life but want to go 'green', which is impossible in any of today's cities.

To appreciate everything this city will have to offer you have to visit their outstanding website, the in-depth interactive presentation will answer all your questions and will leave just one - how can I get a place there?

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