Saturday, September 29, 2012


On Thursday, we received our Florida Water Star and Florida Friendly Landscape certifications from our rater, Lorna Bravo. We earned Florida Water Star's highest certification, Gold, for our water conservation measures, and the Florida Friendly Landscaping certification recognizes our sustainable landscape practices. Lorna, a brilliant sustainable construction consultant and master gardener, guided us through the certification processes, and James Jiler, the landscape designer about whom we've written before, is responsible for creating a native wildlife-sustaining habitat and food forest that does not require irrigation.

The Florida Water Star benchmarking program helps designers and building owners develop strategies for reducing water use below the levels of conventional buildings built to current code standards. The certification is so stringent that our dual-flush toilets - which used to be the height of water conserving technology - don't qualify for Gold-level certification. Our house earned enough points through our rainwater harvesting and graywater systems that we qualified for Gold status.

The Florida Friendly Landscape program is organized by the University of Florida to provide criteria for designing and maintaining landscapes that sustain native plant and animal species and don't tax our already overburdened water supply systems.

We can't say enough about our team. James is a visionary who understands landscapes as a stage for everyday life, and Lorna has an understanding of building technologies and techniques that awes us. They are both driven by an understanding of the urgent need to reduce our environmental footprint, and by the enormous possibilities that good design can bring to our communities.

[James Jiler (left), Lorna Bravo (center) and David show off the Florida Water Star and Florida Friendly Landscape plaque and certificates the garden behind tin box, surrounded by butterfly-sustaining plants. Not pictured: Holly, who was stuck at another engagement.]

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