Published: Aug 08, 2011 11:15 PM EDT
Updated: Aug 08, 2011 11:19 PM EDT

SANIBEL ISLAND, Fla.- Plans are in the works to create Sanibel Island's first sustainable community. The high-tech, eco-friendly compound is scheduled to break ground in a matter of months.

What was originally planned as a small Sanibel subdivision, is now twisting into a sustainable look at coastal living.

"We decided to switch directions and we essentially took the plan that we had and threw it out," Mark Anderson of Benchmark General Contractors said Monday.

Benchmark is in the beginning stages of planning Sea Glass of Sanibel, a ten-acre community off Periwinkle Way.

The Fort Myers-based contractor is teaming up with the University of Florida's School of Architecture to develop plans for the community.

"We are dedicating a little over 5 acres to the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation and we're developing a little over 5 acres," Anderson explained.

The neighborhood will be comprised of twelve eco-friendly houses, topping out at 3,200 square feet. Even the street is aimed at reducing solar energy transfer, using a narrow grass strip instead of asphalt.

"It slows traffic down, it allows us to create a lane-look instead of a wide asphalt street," Anderson said.

Each home will be built according to a set of energy performance mandates to maximize efficiency and minimize waste. Electric car plug-in's will be standard in every home. Developers are also working with Florida Gulf Coast University to create a plan to use roof rainwater for irrigation and even to fuel the homes air conditioning.

"It's a lot more efficient to use fluid. You get about 25-30% higher efficiency than even the highest efficiency air source cooler," Anderson said.

Construction for Sea Glass of Sanibel is scheduled to begin in early 2012.