A New Port Richey apartment complex is the first in Pasco County to be certified under the Florida Water StarSM Community standard.
Greencastle of Bayonet Point recently received its Florida Water StarSM certification. Florida Water StarSM is a voluntary certification program for builders, developers and homeowners. It encourages water efficiency in appliances, plumbing fixtures, irrigation systems and landscapes.
The 80-unit apartment community, for low-income residents 62 and older, had to meet requirements in three categories: landscape, irrigation and indoor. The property also must meet an irrigation water budget not to exceed 20 inches annually. The community installed water-efficient items like low-flow toilets and showerheads and drip-line irrigation.
When the four-story building opened in 1994, it wasn’t as water efficient. But the managing company Consecra Housing Network was awarded a federal grant for $826,000 under the Green Retrofit Program. This was the first green renovation for Consecra.
Improvements began in the apartments. Dual-flush WaterSense® toilets were installed that had a 1-gallon maximum flush. Residents and staff said they are pleased with their new commodes.
“We’ve only had two maintenance calls on them since they were installed and one was because someone tried to flush a head of lettuce down one,” said Tom Duquette, lead maintenance manager.
New showerheads that flow at 1.5 gallons per minute were installed and faucets in the common areas are now metered. Rather than change out more than 80 bathroom faucets, they chose the simpler and less costly approach by changing out the aerators.
Solar panels were installed on the building’s roof and are used to provide energy to the water heater.
The outside landscaping also received a makeover. Old-fashioned sprinklers that soaked the parking lot as much as the vegetation were replaced with drip lines for Florida-Friendly LandscapingTM . The complex also uses a rain gauge to regulate its irrigation system.
“We schedule it to run a couple times a week, but if the gauge says it doesn’t need it, then it doesn’t come on,” said manager Kathleen L. Casagrande. “It really saves us water and money.”
Casagrande said the renovations have been worth it.
“Not only are we saving water and energy, we are saving taxpayer money,” she said.
Since the water-saving changes, the community’s monthly water bill has reduced by half. And the residents love the changes.
“I think what they’ve done to the building is great,” said 9-year resident Jane Blauvelt. “Every little bit does help, and we all want to do our part.”
For more information on the Florida Water StarSM certification, visit the District’s website at WaterMatters.org/FWS/.
Greencastle of Bayonet Point Facts
- About 1.3 million gallons of water (56 percent) were saved in a one-year period.
- Nearly $975 (54 percent) was saved on average each month during a one-year period.
- Only 13.9 inches of water will be applied annually to the landscape, using less than half the amount of water permitted for this site.
- About 35 percent of the landscape is not irrigated, thanks to the addition of drought-tolerant plants.