June 29, 2017 – Bradenton’s Mirabella, the national award winning and the region’s only LEED Platinum residential housing community for active adults 55+ home buyers has announced the planned installation of solar power to its community center, spa and swimming pool. With the installation, homeowners will save an estimated $1,500 a month collectively.
“As developers, we wanted to further enhance what Mirabella has to offer to our residents and future home buyers,” said Marshall Gobuty, President and Developer of Mirabella. “Our builder, Rubi Akooka of Propel Builders, suggested reducing our carbon footprint that is already one of the lowest in the country for a community of our size. We decided that the pool, spa and community center would be better enhanced by adding solar power. By going solar Mirabella will reduce, and eventually eliminate, costs that the homeowners are presently sharing, as well as being, even more, green and friendly to the environment.”
To accomplish the conversion from propane and electricity Mirabella is partnering with the Florida Solar Energy Center at UCF and 15 Lightyears to expand Mirabella’s environmentally friendly sustainability objectives. By the end of the year, heating of the community pool and spa will no longer be from combustion emitting propane through the addition of the solar water heating system. This clean energy switch will also further reduce Mirabella’s greenhouse emissions by saving on fuel costs.
“This is something we can all be proud of,” said Gobuty. “With the conversion to solar power, Mirabella’s homeowner’s association will lock in another operational cost and not have to deal with fluctuations in propane or gas delivery for at least 15 years.”
The development will be generating its hot water right on our property. With the elimination of propane, Mirabella is saving an equivalent of approximately 1992 gallons of gasoline or the planting 459 trees. Residents can also expect to see payback in little over 18 months to two years as the existing propane heater will be turned off completely.
This solar powered hot water system will complement the existing equipment on site with the addition of 15 solar panels, called collectors, that are produced by Nuvis. The panels will be installed on the front of the community’s amenity center roof. The collectors are supported by a booster pump that augments the existing water pump to circulate the water through the filter and up to the panels and then back to the pool. Lastly, an auto flow control valve will be installed to divert pool water through the solar panels on the roof. With proper care and maintenance, the system should last for 20 years.
“This conversion of the amenity center to clean energy makes Mirabella a regional leader in greenhouse emission reduction,” said Gary Carmack, Vice President of 15 Lightyears, consultants on the project. “The automatic flow control sensor monitors the temperature of the pool water and the collector’s temperature. If the collector temperature is higher than the pool, it re-routes the water onto the roof panels to be heated. If the panels’ temperature is the same as the pool temperature, filtered water directly bypasses the panels and is returned to the pool.”
In an emergency or should the panels suddenly stop working, or if there is no sunlight for a couple of days, then propane will be used. “That scenario would most likely occur during thunderstorms with the pool remaining heated with the solar panels, but will only last as long as there is the sun,” added Carmack.
“Mirabella continues to be the leading residential community in Florida that has embraced the values and goals of the United States Green Building Council with the commitment of having all properties go through the LEED Platinum certification,” said Peggy Christ, who sits on the board of the Florida Green Building Coalition, and the USGBC. “As a board member of the USGBC, Mirabella continues to take the right approach to the environment while keeping the buyer’s best interests in mind.”