As Catholics we believe God calls us to be stewards and caregivers of our many gifts, including our fragile home – planet earth.
That is why the Diocese of Orlando is implementing comprehensive changes to how churches, schools and other diocesan properties are built now and in the future.
For example, St. Anthony Garden Courts, a low income senior housing project that is currently under construction in St. Cloud features a host of “green” design elements, appliances and fixtures. The wide range of eco-friendly features will save precious natural resources. Additionally, the residents who will live there will save money on electric and water bills for years to come.
St. Anthony Garden Courts features:
- Low energy high SEER rated air conditioning units
- Highly insulated walls, windows and roof
- Low flow water fixtures
- Energy Star appliances
- Xeriscaping (Landscaping using more species adapted to the local environment)
- No or Low Volatile Organic Components from selected materials
- Motion sensor light fixtures
- Construction materials from local manufacturing to reduce transportation emissions
- Pollution prevention construction site
- High efficiency glass
“We are called to be good stewards of our limited resources and to be a good example to others. Sustainability is a responsibility we have as good stewards of the limited natural resources God has given us,” said Antonio Aguerrevere, Senior Director, Diocese of Orlando Design and Construction Services. Aguerrevere became a LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP) in 2008.
LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is administered by the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED and several other agencies have developed rating systems for construction projects and Aguerrevere incorporates many items that score highly in these rating systems into Diocese of Orlando construction projects.
These measures involve strategies to improve performance across all the metrics that matter most: energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.
“Factoring in the eco-friendly design and construction does cost more but we are doing it sensibly… balancing financial prudence with good stewardship,” said Aguerrevere. “The seniors at St. Anthony will benefit from lower energy costs and the environment will benefit too.”
Construction is on schedule for St. Anthony Garden Courts Apartments, a new low income senior housing complex in St. Cloud.
Catholic Charities received a $7 Million Neighborhood Stabilization Program grant from Osceola County to develop and manage the low-income senior housing project located next to St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church and School.
The 51-unit development is expected to open in September 2011 and will feature one and two bedroom rental units and will have a community center for recreational activities. Support services will be available on an as-needed basis, including limited healthcare.
The groundbreaking took place on February 15, 2011. Bishop John Noonan asked the Lord’s blessing upon the project and Arne Nelson, President and CEO for Catholic Charities of Central Florida, and dignitaries from the City and County, were present as well.
Catholic Charities of Central Florida developed and operates a similar facility, St. Joseph Garden Courts, in East Orlando for low-income seniors. “There is great need for developments of this kind. It is imperative that we reach out to our senior population. It is our moral obligation,” remarked Nelson. “We are grateful to Osceola County and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for choosing Catholic Charities of Central Florida to develop and operate this critical project.”
Applications for St. Anthony Garden Courts will be available in mid-June, 2011 at a pre-opening on site rental office.
Catholic Charities of Central Florida’s mission is to provide vital social services to people in need to improve lives of individuals, families and the community.