Saddlebrook Resort -Buildings, Transportation & Energy Systems

Saddlebrook Resort- Wesley Chapel, Florida


**I interviewed the resort’s General Manager Pat Ciaccio for this assignment.

The resort I chose to do for this assignment was not a coastal destination, but one that allow guests to experience a side of Florida that many never see a little further inland from the coast. The resort is located within a 480 acre gated nature preserve that is nestled away among native cypress and magnolia trees, home to wildlife such as Sandhill Cranes, herons, egrets, turtles and alligators. Saddlebrook Resort not only has 540 suites offering a vacation destination for some, but also has an Arnold Palmer signature course, 45 tennis courses that are facilitated by The Tampa Tennis Academy, a 7,000 sq. ft. European style spa/salon, catering/banquet services and an award winning conference center.

There was not much information available regarding the sustainability of the construction process upon its opening in 1981. There has not been any retrofits done in terms of sustainability to the building structure or materials used within. These initiatives will be taken into consideration in future remodels. Their heating and cooling system is mentioned in the energy section of this report. The resort does hold a Florida Green Lodging Certification.

Saddlebrook Resort takes pride in being a car-free “Walking Village”, this was part of the original design upon opening 1981. This type of design allows guests to easily walk throughout the resort, without the need of a transportation system while providing a nature preserve. When pulling into the resort all guests use the valet system to park their car and hopefully that will be the last time they need their car for the length of their stay. Walking is encouraged at the resort, but a fleet of electric golf cart “shuttles” (that can hold up to 8 people) are available at all times to move the guests throughout the property. If guests need a ride to somewhere off the resort, there are small shuttle vans that offer a point to point drop off and pickup if needed. All employees of the resort use golf carts as their mode of transportation from area to area. There were several specialized carts for catering, landscaping and luggage that I saw on my visit. By using a model of central parking, golf cart system for their team members and guests, it is calculated that this is saving on average about 200 miles per day of cars being driven on the roads.


The resort has colored wildlife brochures for the guests to take along with them on their walks through the property. The brochure has trail maps along with information and pictures of native birds, alligators, turtles, reptiles, insects, deer, armadillo and vegetation that they may see along their walks. The property has several length trails to choose from: 5.5 miles, 4 miles, 2.2 miles and 1.5 miles. Having a variety of trails, walkways and boardwalks encourages walking, jogging or biking amongst the guests throughout the property.

Throughout the golf courses there are 31 ponds and 8 of them are used for the irrigation system for the course. Those 8 ponds pump and drain into a central pond amongst them, that central pond being the point of collection for the irrigation system. The water used on the course, comes through this water recycling system. Saddlebrook just recently completed a nearly $2 Million renovation on the course, this includes the addition of this advanced irrigation system. This system uses only a fraction of the water required by a typical Florida golf course. Reclaimed water is used in the other general public areas throughout the resort.

The eco-friendly laundry facility (Eco-Lab) features a digital controlled system for the water temperature and detergent release, along with the use of mild biodegradable detergents.

With over 40% of electrical energy consumption associated with climate control, Saddlebrook has installed active climate control systems in all guest rooms and meeting facilities. The conference center is computer controlled to cool only the rooms that need it, at exactly the right levels. This is done when the electronic conference facility booking system talks to the Tracer System (what heats and cools the spaces). The rooms automatically start cooling an hour before the booking starts and has been completely shut off within an hour after the booking has ended. Similarly, when guest rooms are unoccupied, thermostats are turned down to a predetermined setting, which keeps the room fresh, but does not cool excessively.

Recycle bins are placed in all of the guest rooms and throughout the property for employees and guests to use. The resort pays to recycle the following items: cardboard, batteries, light bulbs, aluminum, gas electronics and even their cooking grease.

Additionally Saddlebrook maintains beautiful natural corridors, which not only enhances their guests’ enjoyment, but serves to protect several plant and animal species indigenous to the area. This includes the Great Egret and the Bald Cypress Tree, two key endangered species of flora and fauna that are fighting for a place in the local wetland ecosystem. The resort also works very closely with the Audubon Society. The resort evens pays to have aggressive alligators relocated to the Everglades and nuisance boars relocated to Dade City. Saddlebrook definitely sets the bar for environmental conservation and is continuously evolving eco-friendly initiatives throughout the resort.







Allen, H. (2018). Saddlebrook Resort -Buildings, Transportation & Energy Systems. Retrieved from

1 Comment

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Heather Van Allen (Author) wrote: 01-30-2018 23:20:20

my pictures would not load into the site!