Program Urges Homebuilders to Go for “Gold”

Florida Water Star Gold display

Homebuilders in the District will soon have an edge over their competitors through a new certification program that will bring “gold” to “green” homebuilding practices.

The District’s Florida Water Star Gold (FWSG) certification program, launching this January, will certify and recognize builders who incorporate water-saving efforts into new homes. The program is a points-based certification that addresses indoor, irrigation and landscape conservation components.

“Builders realize they have a responsibility to conserve and protect our natural resources,” said Sylvia Durell, FWSG project manager. “The FWSG program provides an easy-to-follow plan that will positively impact the water resources.”

Both the builders and buyers will benefit from a FWSG-certified home. FWSG-certified homes are expected to have lower utility bills and require less maintenance by using low-flow plumbing fixtures, dual-flush toilets, ENERGY STAR appliances, efficient irrigation systems and a low-maintenance, Florida-friendly landscape. In addition, buyers will have peace of mind knowing their home is equipped with technology such as a water shutoff system for appliances, including washers, dishwashers and toilets, to stop the flow of water when a leak is detected.

“These enhancements add curb appeal and value for homeowners,” said Durell.

At the same time, builders can market the attractive features while demonstrating their commitment to the community by minimizing impacts on water resources.

The District’s Florida Water Star Gold certification program is an upper-tier version of the Florida Water Star Silver certification program, originally developed by the St. Johns River Water Management District in 2006. The District has collaborated with St. Johns to develop the “gold” level.

Through the District’s partnership with the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Science’s Florida Yards & Neighborhoods program, several existing landscaping and water conservation programs are already in place. Therefore, District staff recognized a need for advanced criteria to ensure consistency among current practices. The District will only promote the advanced level.

Future plans to expand the program include homeowner, community and commercial certifications. For more information about the District’s FWSG program, please contact Sylvia Durell at (352) 796-7211, ext. 4755.