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12 March . 2015

FishHawk Ranch Becomes the Largest Community in Tampa and the First in Hillsborough County to be a certified “Green” Development

Sustainable development may feel like a new concept to some, but at FishHawk Ranch, environmentally responsible development has been an essential component of the master planned community since its creation more than 10 years ago.  And, today, Newland Communities is proud to announce that FishHawk Ranch has been officially certified as a green development by the Florida Green Building Coalition (FGBC), making it the largest community in Tampa, and the first residential community in Hillsborough County to receive this designation.


“From the very beginning, we embraced environmental responsibility in creating FishHawk Ranch, so it’s truly rewarding to be recognized in this way,” said Rick Harcrow, senior VP of operations for Newland Communities.  “At FishHawk Ranch, we were green before green was cool.”


Although new home sales at FishHawk Ranch began in 1996, the idea to begin the FGBC certification process began just about a year and half ago when Newland Communities established its cornerstone of Healthy Living Systems company-wide.  And, as the  Newland team  began evaluating various ways to plan, develop and certify all of its future Tampa Bay area communities as sustainable, they quickly realized that FishHawk Ranch was already highly certifiable as green, even though much of the community was already built.  The community presently has about 3,700 homes, 10,000 residents and over 3,000 acres.


“FishHawk is a great case study proving that sustainability on the front end not only makes good environmental sense, it also creates long term desirability and value to the homeowner and the community at large,”  said Rob Vieira, certification reviewer for FGBC.


The FGBC is a nonprofit that provides a statewide green building program that defines, promotes, and encourages sustainable efforts with environmental and economic benefits. Within the FGBC’s certification process, there are six key categories:


1)     Preserve and protect the existing land

2)    Provide an alternative to automobile transportation

3)    Utilities

4)    Community Amenities

5)    Covenants, Codes and Restrictions

6)    Education


The process itself is very thorough and takes about six months requiring, data, metrics and analyses. 


Working very closely with Drew Smith president of Two Trails, Inc. to complete the certification process, FishHawk Ranch met and exceeded all of the criteria, where applicable, with noteworthy scoring for its reclaimed water system, low maintenance landscaping and the use of native vegetation.  Additionally, the community shone because of its 25-mile trail system with interpretative signage, parks within a quarter mile of every home, and community recreation centers giving residents access to swimming pools so they don’t need to build their own energy-intensive backyard pools.  FishHawk also did well because of their commitment to encouraging home builders and homeowners to build in accordance with a green standard when renovating and building new homes and for backing that commitment up with an education program.


“The fact that Newland had its commitment to healthy living systems in place and company-wide was very compelling to the FGBC,” commented Vieira. “This illustrates a genuine commitment to sustainability.”