Lakewood Ranch is one of the largest “green” communities in the United States.
“We are the largest green community, certainly in the state and I believe we’ll show we’re the largest in the country,” said Rex Jensen, president and chief executive officer of Schroeder-Manatee Ranch, developer of the community.
The community’s green philosophy starts with how it treats the natural world and then it extends to how homes are built.
Half of the 8,500-acres within Lakewood Ranch have been set aside as nature preserves, community parks and other open spaces.
When the villages of Lakewood Ranch were built, they were stitched together with more than 100 miles of trails and patches of lakes, parks and preserves.
Natural habitats for sandhill cranes, otters, tree toads and deer were left intact, making sightings of these creatures a regular event.
Even land clearing is done with surgeon’s precision, so as not to harm sensitive ecologies.
New plantings are limited to trees and plants that are indigenous to the region.
And all the water used for irrigation is reclaimed and recycled.
As far as the homes themselves, since 2005, every new village has been built to “green” specifications, including using building products that are energy-efficient and environmentally responsible.
In November 2008, Lakewood Ranch won the American Trail Developers Award for its system of trails.