Sunbridge Engages Sustainability Partners to Develop Region-Wide Environmental Stewardship Plan
- Local and state partners are conducting applied research to develop sustainable landscape and development strategies to sustain healthy, native landscapes throughout the Sunbridge region’s 27,000 acres
- In addition to the region’s 13,370 acres of dedicated open space and conservation land, Sunbridge is pioneering innovative sustainability solutions allowing people to live and thrive with the land
- Partners include the University of Florida, University of Central Florida, OUTSIDE Sustainable Landscape Collaborative, Cherrylake, Life Soils and Toho Water Authority
Sunbridge, Fla. (Oct. 12, 2022) – Sunbridge, a new region taking shape from the developers of Lake Nona, has engaged a team of sustainability leaders as partners in developing custom, data-driven programs designed to prioritize the natural world and native ecosystems. Driven by a commitment to celebrate Florida’s natural ecosystem, Sunbridge is conducting real-world, outcome-based research. This approach will demonstrate the efficacy and market value of adopting sustainability innovations and integrating them with a new Florida land development model to ensure the region’s natural environment is protected for future generations.
“Sunbridge is a community that embraces the call to do more for our land, water and wildlife,” said Clint Beaty, senior vice president of operations for Sunbridge developer Tavistock. “We’re excited to collaborate with like-minded partners to find solutions that give people an opportunity to live in a way that honors and respects our natural resources. We’re hopeful the new programs we implement in Sunbridge can be replicated in other communities across the globe.”
Working in partnership with the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) and the Sustainable Floridians Benchmarking and Monitoring Program, University of Central Florida, OUTSIDE Sustainable Landscape Collaborative, Cherrylake, Life Soils and Toho Water Authority, the Sunbridge Stewardship Plan focuses on five key areas: water quality preservation, water resource conservation, renewable energy and efficiency, ecological preservation and community engagement.
The Stewardship Plan focus areas are directly interconnected, with each playing a crucial role in protecting and enhancing the Sunbridge ecosystem. The sustainability team is currently conducting applied research on advancing strategies for:
- Water Quality Preservation To protect the quality of the region’s 1,620 acres of natural lakes and waterways, an applied research and monitoring plan will be used to identify and track critical biological and ecological water quality indicators, low-impact development opportunities and green stormwater infrastructure practices over time. The Sunbridge team is also working on a Lake Use Plan designed to protect, restore and reduce human impact on water quality of freshwater lakes.
- Water Resource Conservation A conservation program is being designed and implemented to substantially reduce average household water use by at least 50% (by 2030) and outdoor water use by 75% (by 2040). Landscape standards in the Sunbridge Weslyn Park neighborhood are focused on minimizing or eliminating landscape irrigation and fertilization needs by improving soil health with organic compost amendments and using predominantly native and drought-tolerant plant species. These standards are currently being studied to evaluate environmental benefits and economic savings to home builders and homeowners.
- Renewable Energy and Efficiency The homes and buildings in Sunbridge are being held to a high standard of energy efficiency and investing in renewable energy supply from the sun. The Sunbridge team is working closely with homebuilders and other industry leaders to develop renewable and efficiency standards for homes in Weslyn Park. These currently include a standard 4.25kw rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) system, pre-wire for battery back-up, electric vehicle (EV) charging and the use of advanced in-home technology for managing energy consumption.
- Ecological Preservation Nearly half of the Sunbridge region, 13,370 acres, of open space and natural ecological habitat are being preserved. In addition, Sunbridge partners are evaluating innovative strategies for regenerative soils, prudent irrigation protocols, advanced composting treatments and the use of native and drought-tolerant plant palettes to encourage a symbiotic relationship between the built and natural environment. Unlike typical land development projects, Sunbridge is dedicating significant resources to tagging, protecting and transplanting heritage live oak trees throughout the community. Since 2020, 31 trees have been given new homes with plans to relocate more than 200 in the next few years.
- Community Engagement By engaging residents, visitors and other partners with educational programs, fun events, volunteer and citizen science opportunities, Sunbridge is working to ensure community-wide support of its Stewardship Plan. Currently, we are exploring opportunities with Osceola County Schools to create ways to add sustainability, conservation and ecological research to the curriculum for the new K-8 school scheduled to open in 2024.
“It’s very exciting to work with the team at Sunbridge because we have the opportunity to introduce homebuyers to sustainable Florida landscapes. This new way to approach the American yard creates inviting and livable communities that help protect and preserve the natural resources all Floridians enjoy,” said Timothee Sallin, Co-CEO of Cherrylake.
This week, Sunbridge is the presenting sponsor of the OUTSIDE Sustainable Landscape Collaborative conference, Oct. 13 – 14, in Lake Nona. The two-day event will feature workshops and panel discussions designed to increase the adoption of sustainable landscape practices that create a more vibrant, healthy, and sustainable future for all Floridians. The conference also includes an exclusive tour of Sunbridge focused on research plantings at Weslyn Park neighbrohood and Basecamp info center. For more details on the conference, visit https://outsidecollab.com.
To learn more about the Sunbridge Stewardship Plan, visit https://sunbridgefl.com/stewardship.
To learn more about the native plant testing at Sunbridge, click here.
For Sunbridge images, click here.
Sunbridge is the latest community from the creators of Lake Nona, Tavistock Development Company. At the forefront of the region’s next wave of connective smart growth, the community encompasses more than 27,000 acres across both Orange and Osceola Counties in Central Florida between metro Orlando and the Space Coast. Built on the success of Lake Nona, Sunbridge carefully mixes residential, recreational, businesses and civic uses designed to create connections to nature. Sunbridge is preserving large stretches of Florida nature and giving people unprecedented access to oak forests, lakes, wetlands, and waterways. The community opened in 2020. For more information, visit SunbridgeFl.com.