SJHP Development for At-Risk Veterans Earns Florida Water StarSM Certification

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – A water efficiency certification program developed by the St. Johns River Water Management District is helping to serve at-risk Veterans while conserving water in St. Johns County.

Started nearly two decades ago, the Florida Water StarSM program offers an accessible and affordable path for builders and developers to follow so their projects use less water in landscapes, irrigation systems and indoors. Combined, these measures help achieve the water efficiency performance needed in new homes and businesses.

Patriot Place is the most recent development to receive the Florida Water Star certification. St. Johns Housing Partnership, a nonprofit that develops affordable housing, built Patriot Place.

The apartment home community for at-risk Veterans also received “Florida Green” certification from the Florida Green Building Coalition, the state’s leading certifier of residential and commercial construction projects, land developments and local governments,

“We are very pleased to receive the Florida Water Star certification for Patriot Place. Water conservation is a focus on building sustainable, durable, environmentally sound housing,” noted St. Johns Housing Partnership Executive Director Bill Lazar.

These six new, low-income residences help address St. Johns County’s critical need for housing for at-risk and homeless veterans while also saving water and benefiting Florida’s environment.

“We are glad they included water efficiency in this important project,” said Deirdre Irwin, the District’s water conservation coordinator. “It means so much that Patriot Place will provide homes for transitional veterans, and they’ll be saving water without even having to think about it.”

To achieve Florida Water Star certification, homes and commercial developments must meet the standards for indoor fixtures and appliances, landscape design and irrigation systems. Patriot Place uses WaterSense-labeled toilets, faucets, and showerheads and the dishwasher and washer in the units are Energy Star® listed. No irrigation was installed, and their landscaping meets Florida-Friendly Landscaping principles.

“They were able to save a mature live oak, which offers shade to the entire site,” Irwin explains. “That shade is not only a benefit for the veterans that live there, but it will make it that much easier for the landscape to succeed.”

District staff offer free inspections to not-for-profit builders pursuing Florida Water Star certification, making it that much easier for their clientele to live in sustainable homes that cost less to operate. A study by the University of Florida and Toho Water Authority showed Florida Water Star homes save up to 6,000 gallons of water indoors and 48,000 gallons of water outdoors annually, which can result in up to $530 in utility savings each year.

“Patriot Place is another example of what can be achieved when we work with builders,” Irwin said. “They are able to build a better, more water-efficient product for the end user.”

To date, Florida Water Star has certified over 10,000 residential houses and approximately 41 commercial and institutional buildings. To learn more about Florida Water Star, visit floridawaterstar.com.

For more information on Patriot Place contact Bill Lazar at (904) 824-0902 or [email protected].


Founded in 1996 the St. Johns Housing Partnership (SJHP) is committed to providing safe, decent, and affordable housing in North Florida. SJHP creates partnerships between public and private sectors including investors on projects that create low- and moderate-income housing, rebuilds neglected homes and revitalizes neighborhoods in disadvantaged areas while supporting programs that enhance community economic and social development including counselling on homeownership and finances. For more information visit www.sjhp.org.Photo Cutline:  Water Conservation Coordinators Gretchen Smith (left) and Deirdre Irwin (right) stand with Bill Lazar (middle), director of the St. Johns Housing Partnership, as Patriot Place receives its Florida Water Star certification.