The Seabrook Island Property Owners Association (SIPOA) has recently been designated as the first Certified Sustainable Community in the state of South Carolina after completing requirements and meeting the strict criteria of the Audubon International Sustainable Communities Program.
To become certified, Sustainable Communities Program members must develop and implement management practices and policies according to a community-driven Long-Term Sustainability Plan (LTSP) that has timelines and measurable goals addressing 14 focus areas, including wildlife conservation and habitat enhancement, water conservation, energy efficiency, health, and transportation. Receiving designation as a Certified Sustainable Community by Audubon International is contingent upon the quality and completeness of the LTSP and its implementation.
SIPOA President Ed Houff joined in congratulating the community on receiving the AI Certified Sustainable Community designation. “SIPOA residents have been tremendously supportive of the efforts to focus on preservation, conservation, and sustainability within our community. The hard work and many months of meetings and synthesis of materials and views has firmly established our relationship with Audubon International, culminating in this exceptional award – and in the process, Seabrook Island has become the first private community in South Carolina to achieve this status. Many community members have worked toward this goal and many thanks go to long-term committee members Jim Bannwart, Carl Voelker and Executive Director Heather Paton for their dedication and perseverance for the benefit of our community, environment, and quality of life.”
Seabrook Island, South Carolina is a 2,400-acre barrier island/maritime forest located approximately 23 miles SW of historic Charleston. Residents of this gated community enjoy miles of pristine, private beach on the Atlantic Ocean and North Edisto River. With 2,600 properties, the island is home to approximately 1,800 full-time residents and others who enjoy their homes part-time. Seabrook Island is also a popular guest/rental destination and many homes are rented to visitors on a weekly or monthly basis.
“As the first member in South Carolina to receive the Audubon International Sustainable Community Certification, Seabrook Island has demonstrated a strong commitment to sustainable living,” said Jessica Latus, Director of Sustainable Community Programs at Audubon International. “This community’s multi-stage, staff and volunteer-led effort will help to preserve their unique setting and enhance quality of life for all residents over the long run.”
To preserve its natural and recreational amenities, Seabrook Island is implementing action items from an adopted long-range sustainability plan and measuring initial progress towards its chosen sustainability targets. Seabrook Island’s accomplishments include:
- All SIPOA, Town, and SIC properties are designated smoke-free areas in an effort to help promote healthy lifestyles on Seabrook Island.
- The Oyster Catcher Community Center has been renovated. In 2016 the interior was renovated, and in 2017 pool renovations were completed. Sail shades were added to the Lake House pool demonstrating a decision to use sustainable materials to reduce harmful sun exposure, eliminate the costs associated with annual umbrella replacement and to improve aesthetics.
- SIPOA landscape and median lighting has been switched to LED. Dark sky lighting has also been installed in the Community Center parking lot. These efforts help in both utilizing more energy efficient technologies, but also in minimizing light pollution.
- SIPOA irrigation devices have rain sensors. This allows for a reduction in irrigation by installing smart controllers on the irrigation systems that turn off with rain.
- Multiple educational events are held every year on such issues as environmental stewardship, health and wellness, and technology.
- Seabrook Island is the 6th community in the world to receive this certification, joining Eufaula, Alabama; Williamston, North Carolina; Coconut Creek, Florida; Stowe Mountain Resort, Vermont, and Rio Verde, Arizona.
About Audubon International Audubon International is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) environmental education organization dedicated to providing people with the education and assistance they need to practice responsible management of land, water, wildlife, and other natural resources. To meet this mission, the organization provides training, services, and a set of award-winning environmental education and certification programs for individuals, organizations, properties, new developments, and entire communities. Through the Sustainable Communities and Green Neighborhoods Programs, Audubon International works to help community leaders and stakeholders embrace environmental stewardship and sustainability as a central element of planning, policies, and practices. For more information, contact Audubon International at (518) 767-9051 or visit the website at http://www.auduboninternational.org.