Babcock Ranch’s resilient design earned the sustainable new Southwest Florida town top honors in the internationally recognized Edison Awards ceremony in Fort Myers on April 20. The Game Changer designation honored Babcock Ranch for its groundbreaking innovation in the resilient design category. The Edison Awards, named after American inventor Thomas Alva Edison, not only recognizes world-changing innovations, but also the brilliant minds behind them.
The Edison Awards previously recognized Babcock Ranch for its game-changing leadership in sustainable development practices back in 2021. This year’s recognition focuses on the water, power and technological infrastructure designed to allow residents to shelter in place and quickly recover in the wake of a major storm.
“Until last September, we were known as America’s first solar-powered town. But then came Hurricane Ian, and our focus shifted from renewable energy and sustainability to resiliency,” said Syd Kitson, chairman and CEO of Kitson & Partners and the Founder of Babcock Ranch. “Ian put all that preparation, all that hard work and planning, everything, to the ultimate test.”
At Babcock Ranch, resiliency starts with location – away from the coast, and on high ground. An innovative storm water management system is designed to mimic natural systems to capture and clean surface water within restored wetlands and a network of inter-connected ponds, keeping structures high and dry. Storm hardened transmission lines and underground transmission within the community kept power flowing throughout the storm.
“The resilience of Babcock Ranch is not an accident. We have an incredible team that has factored storm safety into every element of the community,” Kitson said. “This award is also a testament to the vision of all the local and state agencies that allowed us to be pioneering in our design.”
All nominations were reviewed by the Edison Awards Steering Committee with the final ballot determined by an independent judging panel. The panel is comprised of more than 3,000 senior business executives and academics from the fields of product development, design, engineering, science, marketing and education, as well as past winners.
Ranked the nation’s No. 5 best-selling master-planned community in 2022 and encompassing 18,000 acres, Babcock Ranch is planned for 19,500 residences and about 6,000,000 square feet of commercial space. Created by Kitson & Partners with the philosophy that smart growth and sustainability work hand in hand, half of Babcock Ranch’s town’s footprint is set aside as greenways, parks, and expansive lakes, providing recreation and scenic backdrops for Babcock Ranch’s homes and the Founder’s Square downtown district.
Babcock Ranch offers homes from national and regional homebuilders, including D.R. Horton, Lennar, Meritage Homes, Pulte Homes, Toll Brothers, WCI and William Ryan Homes and custom homes by AR Homes by Arthur Rutenberg, Divco Custom Homes, and Florida Lifestyle Homes. Christopher Alan Homes will also soon introduce new homes at Babcock Ranch. Built to Florida Green Building Coalition standards, homes emphasize energy and water conservation, innovation and have a full gig of fiber-optic connectivity.
Babcock Ranch homebuilders offer more than 50 home designs ranging from 1,120 to more than 4,000 square feet and a choice of low-maintenance townhomes and villas, traditional and custom single-family homes. Prices range from the upper-$200,000s to over $1.5 million.
Babcock Ranch continues to explore higher environmental standards in homebuilding at Innovation Way, a neighborhood of seven showcase homes serving as a testing ground and living laboratory. National homebuilders Lennar, Pulte Homes, and D.R. Horton are evaluating the possibilities for a new wave of homebuilding solutions, implementing cutting-edge technology, new materials and construction practices to create the most energy-efficient, water-preserving and health-forward homes on the market. Florida Power & Light Company is analyzing energy efficiency throughout the testing period.
For more information about Southwest Florida’s new hometown, located just northeast of Fort Myers off Babcock Ranch Road/State Road 31, visit the Woodlea Hall Discovery Center at 42850 Crescent Loop in Babcock Ranch, call 877-709-6620, or visit www.BabcockRanch.com.
About The Edison Awards:
Established in 1987, the Edison Awards is a program conducted by Edison Universe, a non-profit 501(c)(3) non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to fostering future innovators. The annual competition honors excellence in new product and service development, marketing, design and innovation. Past award recipients include Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, and leaders of global corporations such as Coca-Cola, Genentech, Teneral Electric, General Motors and Campbell Soup Co. In 2022, the Edison Awards introduced the inaugural Lewis Latimer Fellowship program designed to celebrate, connect and bring together a community of innovation Black thought leaders. For more information, visit www.edisonawards.com.
Angela Bell, Gravina, Smith, Matte & Arnold Marketing and PR, 239-275-5758, Angela@gsma.pro