On Top of the World participates in the Florida Water StarSM certification program, which addresses water conservation needs specific to Florida. This voluntary certification program is designed to increase water efficiency in our landscapes, irrigation systems and indoors. OTOW chooses to follow Florida Water StarSM criteria when developing residential, commercial, and community areas to conserve water and protect our environment. The program benefits the community by:
- Providing water-efficient options for homes and landscapes.
- Saving homeowners money on monthly utility bills.
- Saving homeowners energy by conserving water with the use of approved fixtures and appliances.
- Reducing monthly landscaping costs.
- Increasing property appeal by adding resale or leasing value.
- Easily integrating with other “green” certification and recognition programs OTOW participates in, such as ENERGY STAR®.
OTOW isn’t required to be certified by the Florida Water StarSM program, but we believe in proactively taking part in programs that will directly benefit our residents when making construction and development decisions.
We asked On Top of the World Landscape Superintendent, Phillip Hisey about our involvement in the program:
How is OTOW a pioneer for Florida Water StarSM?
The Florida Water StarSM program was started several years ago by the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) to not only provide an opportunity for saving water indoors and outdoors but also provide recognition to those participating. The program takes into account the use of shower heads, faucets, toilets, shut off valves, piping, landscaping and irrigation to name many components. On Top of the World Communities, Inc. was instrumental in providing the teaching grounds and input for the program and we continue to partner with the Florida Water StarSM program and SWFWMD. When Florida Water StarSM started we partnered with St. Johns River water management district to pilot many of the Florida Water StarSM practices in place today. What is unique about this partnership is that we are not even governed by SJRWMD. Our water management district is Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD), they were in the infancy stages of the program. Our cooperation with SJRWMD has led to some lasting relationship building with our partners at SWFWMD and SJRWMD. On Top of the World Communities sits on the Florida Water StarSM technical Advisory Panel as a Builder/Developer to help with continued development of the program and also to articulate to the panel any issues we may see from Builders/Developers or landscape and irrigation contractors that participate in the program.
How is OTOW committed to getting better?
On top of the World employs a full time staff of landscape and golf professionals to maintain homes, common areas and golf courses. Our landscape staff adheres to the Florida Green Industries Best Management Practices for Florida. Our Golf staff adheres to the Best Management Practices for the Enhancement of Environmental Quality on Florida Golf Courses. Several members of the Landscape and Golf Staff sit on professional advisory boards throughout the state of Florida sharing knowledge and gaining knowledge from other communities and industry professionals to provide the best atmosphere for our residents. We are committed to conservation through knowledge and sounds environmentally stable practices.
How are we already better than the competition?
On Top of the World Communities, Inc. partnered with Bay Laurel Center Community Development District to develop strict irrigation standards to adhere to so that every home constructed will incorporate the highest quality, conservation oriented irrigation system available. Here are the attributes of the system:
- Sod irrigation zones shall be separate from shrub irrigation zones, and no irrigation zone shall include both sod and shrub irrigation.
- Irrigation for all shrub beds shall be point source drip irrigation not exceeding two (2) gpm for shrubs three (3) gallon and larger, shrubs one (1) gallon and smaller shall be irrigated with low volume emitters. Spray type emitters shall not exceed fifty-three hundredths (0.53) gpm. All irrigation zones shall not exceed twelve (12) gpm. Due to pressure fluctuations in the water distribution system a zone may test at thirteen (13) gpm, which will be allowed.
- Irrigation installations shall use pressure regulated irrigation heads as approved by the District.
- Irrigation systems shall be hydro-zoned and matched precipitation rates to achieve maximum efficiency.
- On sides of homes where coverage is limited due to proximity of adjacent homes, the use of End Strip/Side Strip nozzles shall be required.
- Large sod zones shall be irrigated using rotors or similar device to achieve maximum irrigating efficiency.
- All irrigation zones shall have matched precipitation rates for best coverage.
- Rain sensors shall be installed on all irrigation zones, and shall be Hunter Solar Sync Evapotranspiration Sensor, or equal sensor based technology that automatically adjust watering schedule and flow according to atmospheric or soil condition or equal “smart irrigation technology” approved by the Irrigation Association and the Bay Laurel Center Community Development District.
- All irrigation installations will include a Pressure Vacuum Breaker Back Flow device per Florida Building Code.
- Rain sensor and related wire shall be installed per manufacturer specifications and shall meet manufacturer’s wire gauge specifications.
- Customers will be allowed a thirty (30) day grow in period upon installation of landscape material and sod; after thirty (30) days customers shall be responsible for adhering to irrigation restrictions.
- All additional or more stringent landscape/irrigation requirements imposed by the Water Management District, and/or Marion County Land Development Code from time to time, are incorporated into and made a part of this Policy and shall control over less stringent requirements of this Policy.
Additionally, the program also aligns with the Florida Green Building Coalition’s green standard and the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program, which On Top of the World takes into consideration in our new designs.