At Wekiva Island, we are all about practicing sustainability. In fact, it is one of our three pillars, which drive our mission. We have actually taken on the 2030 challenge and pledged to become carbon neutral by 2030.
By incorporating sustainable design, generating renewable power, and/or purchasing renewable energy credits, we can meet the goals required to accomplish the challenge. We have also developed our own toolbox to help direct our efforts, titled CERO, which stands for Conservation, Efficiency, Renewables and Offsets.
We hope our guests see our efforts at Wekiva Island and are inspired to take that mission home. But, we understand if you’re wondering…how? There are so many ways for you to take small steps to reduce your carbon footprint. Today, we’re sharing four easy ways you might incorporate change into your daily life.
Rethink your landscaping
With our home on the Wekiva River, the Island has a front-row-seat to the majesty of Florida’s plant and animal life. That was part of the inspiration for us to replace the “traditional” landscaping around the Island with Florida natives. You can create a similar sanctuary for native flora and fauna at home. According to the National Audubon Society, many native plants are more effective at storing carbon than other plants. Natives are also meant to grow here, so not only do they make native insects and wildlife happy, they reduce the need for water and maintenance around the garden. That’s a win-win situation right there.
Find out what plants are native to your area here.
Switch out your lights
We pride ourselves on creating efficiency when using power at Wekiva Island. That’s why we have decided to use renewable energy sources and limit the amount of energy we use. A way that you can take this initiative at home is by using LED lightbulbs instead of incandescent. The Department of Energy says that LEDs (and especially EnergyStar products) use at least 75 percent less energy and last up to 25 percent longer than regular incandescent lighting. That means you, too, can be consuming less and making what you do consume more efficient, all in the time it takes to screw in a lightbulb!
Fun fact: our classroom’s use of LED lightbulbs contributes to its LEED Platinum certification. The LEED system is a globally recognized symbol of sustainability in green buildings, and Platinum is the highest certification you can achieve.
Remember to recycle
We bet you’ve heard of the three R’s: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) explains that recycling can reduce the amount of waste in landfills, conserve natural resources and raw materials such as timber and water and cut back on pollution and the amount of greenhouse gases created in producing new materials.
By making a few small changes, you can use less and reduce your overall impact. One way you can reduce waste and plastic use is by grabbing some reusable bags when getting groceries. Going to the gym? Why not bring a reusable water bottle instead of tossing another plastic bottle?
Next, why not make use of all those glass containers your food may come in? You can actually reuse these containers for many things—as a vase for flowers, to store leftovers, or even to create an herb garden in your kitchen.
Want to take it a step further? Try composting! At Wekiva Island, we recently started Wekiva Blooms, a composting partnership with O-Town Compost. Not only does this keep food scraps out of the landfill where they can contribute to greenhouse gas, it helps create rich soil for our local community. Learn more here.
Reduce your water usage
We know all too well how precious our water resources are. Keeping Wekiwa Springs clean and the Wekiva River healthy is our passion. But you can do your part to help keep the Earth’s water resources healthy with just a few small changes at home, too. According to the EPA, American households use an estimated 29 billion gallons of water per day. Not only is water itself a valuable resource, but getting it to you—clean—and heating it up for use also contribute heavily to your carbon footprint. You can do some easy things right now—like taking shorter showers, doing only full loads of laundry and fixing small leaks. If you really want to make an impact, consider choosing energy and water efficient appliances next time you are ready to upgrade.
Wekiva island is committed to sustainability, and we are proud to be a part of making a difference. We hope that you too can be a part of this change and join us in creating a more sustainable future.