BY SHELLY WEST
A net-zero waterfront community in historic Cortez.
Nestled within Cortez’s charming historic fishing village, Hunters Point is a trailblazing achievement – a net-zero waterfront community that seamlessly merges sustainable living with picturesque aesthetics. When looking at this unique neighborhood, one is immediately struck by the stately tall structures that utilize a smaller footprint by going vertical. Two stories set on top of the garage make an efficient use of space. Painted in subtle coastal colors, the homes have white trim on the porch railings and trims that accentuate the serene palette against the backdrop of the endless Florida sky. But beyond their eye-catching façades lies a deeper purpose transcending the mere housing concept. These homes embody a revolutionary approach to modern living, where intelligence and sustainability unite in harmony.
Sustainability visionary Marshall Gobuty of Pearl Homes, Hunters Point, is a testament to the joining together of history and the future. Gobuty’s vision was to forge a community that paid tribute to Cortez Village’s historical past and pioneered a new era of self-sufficiency. The result is a community that generates more than it consumes, alleviating strain on the local community and the environment.
Cortez is an active fishing village with a heritage that traces its roots to the era of Native Americans and Spanish explorers, the region’s earliest inhabitants. Originally called Hunters Point, Cortez was settled in the 1880s, and many of the original families’ descendants still live in the village. A staggering 97 of the buildings in Cortez are on the National Register of Historic Places.
A net-zero or low-carbon footprint is at the heart of Hunters Point’s sustainability. This innovative approach allows these homes to operate entirely off the grid, propelled by solar panels that absorb sunlight during the day, converting it into energy stored within batteries. As the sun sets and the night descends, these batteries seamlessly take over, ensuring a continuous power supply that sustains the entire household. The brilliance of this system lies in its ability to mimic a miniature power plant or solar farm, effectively managing and distributing energy requirements akin to a larger utility service.
The implications of such a design extend far beyond the confines of this waterfront community. While LEED certification is a well-established marker of sustainable construction, Hunters Point elevates the concept by showcasing a fully self-sustaining neighborhood. This groundbreaking accomplishment has not gone unnoticed, as evidenced by the prestigious 2023 LEED Power Builders Award the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) bestowed upon Pearl Builders. This accolade, reserved for those who display an exceptional commitment to LEED and green residential buildings, underscores Pearl Builders’ dedication to pushing the boundaries of sustainability.
Other features of this community include reclaimed water for community irrigation. Using energy-efficient appliances and smart home features allows residents to remotely control their home’s lighting, temperature, and security systems. Reducing energy consumption, these features provide a direct route to sustainable and responsible practices.
The builder has also partnered with WaterSense, which is an EPA-sponsored program. They have installed high-quality, water-efficient fixtures certified to use at least 20% less water and save energy without sacrificing performance. So not only does the community conserve water, but it also reduces the strain on the municipal water supply and wastewater management.
Gobuty emphasized, “We are focused on Bradenton in our backyard. As a regional small builder, we work closely with the commissioners and county inspectors, who see and share the vision and believe in our project. Our whole identity and integrity are to do what we say, and we did that. We have produced 35% more power and consumed 25% less than we originally estimated. We take pride in our community and are proud of what we have done to benefit our community. “
Hunters Point reaches beyond its role as a housing development. It emerges as a pioneering forerunner, marrying architectural beauty with ecological awareness. By harnessing the sun’s power and embracing smart technology, this community encourages residents to enjoy a serene modern lifestyle while allowing them to become stewards of the environment. As the sun dips below the horizon and the homes’ solar batteries seamlessly take the reins, one can’t help but appreciate the brilliance of a community that has truly captured the essence of sustainable living, forging a path others will follow.
Another project by Pearl Homes is the MET, an affordable workforce housing-centered community located in Downtown Bradenton. The project will consist of 200 studios and one-, and two-bedroom units along 14th Street West. The community is focused on providing affordable apartments in a bustling urban setting, allowing residents to live close to work, shopping, restaurants, and entertainment. As with all other projects by Pearl Homes, The MET will implement LEED certifications utilizing solar panels and on-site battery storage technology. In addition, they will continue to use energy-efficient appliances and building practices.
For more information, go to pearlhomesdevelopments.com