Bubil: Green involves more than mere technology


Energy-efficient appliances, including air conditioners and water heaters, get a lot of attention when home buyers are considering a new or used home, but there is more to sustainability than that.

“Being green” also includes installing water-efficient landscapes and choosing home sites that do not require a trip in the car to do every little errand.

Such was the message a few days ago when the Sarasota Association of Realtors and the LEED for Homes Committee of the local branch of the U.S. Green Building Council held a seminar at SAR headquarters.

I moderated the annual event, this one titled “What Is Your Score?” The panel included Home Energy Rating System guru Dennis Stroer, Sarasota County sustainability manager Lee Hayes Byron, 40-year veteran contractor and green certifier Dale Lewis, communications coordinator Robin Grantham of the Southwest Florida Water Management District, and two experts on universal design (aging in place) — architect Larry Hale and certified life coach Irene Teesdale.

They shared information on green building and sustainability, from rooftop to landscape.

Grantham noted that regional water managers are looking to reduce water use per capita by 5 percent (in the Sarasota area) to 15 percent (in counties north of Tampa) by 2020 to assure sufficient water is available for residents, visitors and the environment as the state’s population and tourism increases.

She said the typical U.S. house with in-ground irrigation uses 58.7 percent of its water consumption in the landscape. About 5.5 percent is lost to leaks.

Improvement can be made simply by choosing drought-tolerant grass and making sure “the right plant is in the right place” — the mantra of every master gardener and proponent of “Florida Friendly” landscaping.

Landscape water usage also can be cut by matching the irrigation to plant requirements, making sure water is distributed evenly, and setting correct irrigation schedules.

As for where that landscape should be, Hayes emphasized the importance of the “walk/bike score” associated with a home’s location. If you can walk to the bank or store, rather than driving, then all the better.

You can check the “Walk Score” of any address at WalkScore.com. The higher the score, the more walkable the location, and the more money you save on gas and car maintenance.

Walking is good for your health, too. And your Realtor will brag that your home is “close to everything” when you list it.


The office of Sweet Sparkman Architects will host an “Atelier Talk” from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at 2168 Main St., Sarasota. Presented by Center for Architecture Sarasota, the monthly series provides a behind-the-scenes look at local design studios and builders.

Tickets are $10 for CFAS members; $20 for non-members. Reservations: CFASrq.org.


Harold Bubil

Recipient of the 2015 Bob Graham Architectural Awareness Award from the American Institute of Architects/Florida-Caribbean, Harold Bubil is real estate editor of the Herald-Tribune Media Group. Born in Newport, R.I., his family moved to Sarasota in 1958. Harold graduated from Sarasota High School in 1970 and the University of Florida in 1974 with a degree in journalism. For the Herald-Tribune, he writes and edits stories about residential real estate, architecture, green building and local development history. He also is a photographer and public speaker. Contact him via email, or at (941) 361-4805.
Last modified: November 15, 2014
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