STAR Island: Architects Designing Sustainable Communities


Forget about the stereotypical “desert island,” with one lone coconut palm and a ragged beachcomber waiting for a message in a bottle. The tiny, 35-acre Bahamian island formerly known as Cabbage Cay is set to become a stellar example of the art of the possible. Liz Mitchell reports this story in the Bluffton, South Carolina, Island Packet newspaper:

STAR Island, the name of the development, stands for Sustainable Terrain And Resources. It will incorporate everything from environmentally friendly features to organic coffee served at local restaurants. Energy will be generated by solar, wind and hydropower…Solar energy will power the island’s water treatment facility, which processes ocean water into drinking water. To avoid wastefulness, all rainwater will be collected in cisterns and reused. All trash will be recycled and converted into power.

The site of the project is ten sea-minutes from the northern end of Eleuthera. Architect David Sklar and developer Tom Jacoby are sparing no effort to create a community that will include both permanent residents and temporary visitors:

…STAR Island will contain 46 private residences, a hotel, 20 private bungalows and two condominium buildings with 10 units each. All structures are on waterfront property.

Prices for a night’s stay at the resort hotel are expected to range from $600 to $1500, and homes will start at $650,000. But these pioneers have more on their minds than simply selling real estate. They hope visitors will enjoy their STAR Island experience not only for its own sake, but as a living example of the possibilities for self-sustaining communities.

In addition, they seek certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program. LEED’s standards for sustainable green building and development practices are expressed in a detailed rating system. LEED certification and accreditation are for professionals whose practices result in conservation of water and energy, reduction of greenhouse gases, less waste, more safety, and lower operating costs. Along with respect and the good feeling that comes from environmental responsibility, LEED-consciousness provides tangible benefits, like more commissions and, in many localities, the ability to qualify for various incentives.

With no existing water supply or power sources, this project defines the concept of starting from scratch. $25 million later, by the end of 2009, it will be what Sklar described to Hotel Interactive as “a showcase for the latest and most innovative technologies, materials and practices,” proving that “uncompromising luxury and Earth-friendly practices are entirely compatible.”

This team has taken on a seemingly impossible task, given the limitations imposed by the environment. In the case of STAR Island, will environmental consciousness and sheer luxury turn out to be a match made in heaven?

SOURCE: “Local developers to build green resort on deserted island” 03/24/08
photo courtesy of tienvijftie , used under this Creative Commons license

2 Responses to “STAR Island: Architects Designing Sustainable Communities”

  1. 1 bahamaslass
    June 10, 2008 at 9:04 pm

    OK, the picture taken is most certainly not the barren rock we all once knew as Cabbage Cay and now renamed Star Island. As for eco-friendly, just take a look at the limestone quarry Mr. Sklar has left on the once pristine island of Eleuthera. His first ‘resort’ Sky Beach is now a barren wasteland. All vegetation and top soil has been stripped bare. When it rains the water washes away the remaining limestone ‘mud’ and causes roads to become blocked and dangerous. No, if that is Mr. Sklars idea of eco-friendly then forget it. It will take at least 20 years for any kind of vegetation to take hold on Sky Beach. The total lack of regard for this beautiful island is astonishing, and here he goes again, whitewashing everyone with his ‘no carbon footprint’ island. How do we get food, employees etc to the island every day if not by boat…not sail boat, but diesel!
    Mr. Sklar left Eleuthera in a cloud of bad feeling by locals only to resurface on a private island. Buyer beware.

  2. 2 Ruth Alan
    February 2, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    David Sklar…Star Island

    Your website is featured today on oddtodd.com…daily stuff…daily good news…economy edition!

    Ruth Alan

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