Monday, December 13, 2010

WTSP 10 News out of Tampa has a segment entitled "Why do they call it that?" They recently asked this question about the local municipality of Kenneth City. On Top of the World Communities' president, Kenneth Colen, sat down with WTSP 10 News to give the answer.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A whole lot of amenities and services for your dollar!

When you purchase a home at On Top of the World Communities, you’re not just buying a home, you’re getting a “world” of amenities, activities and services. Just take a look at the MANY things On Top of the World offers…all within the community! Just a golf cart ride away from your front door, you will find well over 250,000 square feet of fun:

Indoor and outdoor swimming pools, craft center, library, woodworking shop, golf courses, fitness centers with locker room facilities including showers, steam room, sauna, and whirlpool, full-time fitness director and cutting edge, age-specific fitness programming, conference rooms, over 200 resident clubs and organizations, full-time tennis pro, remote control flying field, auditorium/ballroom for resident dances and theatrical productions, ceramics studio, billiards room, card rooms, shuffle board, miniature golf, horseshoes, lighted tennis courts with Plexi-cushion surface, slow pitch softball, pickleball, indoor racquetball courts, open-air town square offering a farmer’s market, weekend entertainment and festivals, walking trails, dog parks, restaurants, community centers, full time social director organizing events throughout the year, cultural center presenting top name performers, life long education with over 700 classes each year, monthly community newspaper, home design studio with professional design consultants, meeting halls, recreation centers, world class day spa, AND MORE! Does the active adult community you are considering include all of this?

And that’s just the fun stuff! On Top of the World provides many services, too. Services offered include curbside trash pickup or central refuse disposal, recycling centers or curbside recycling pick-up, homeowner’s structural insurance (excluding contents and improvements), street maintenance, bus service to major shopping centers and malls, basic cable and internet connection, professional landscaping of community common areas, staffed or video-monitored gate operations, fire hydrants, street and community lighting, home exterior maintenance, lawn maintenance and more! Does the active adult community you are considering provide all of these services?

The level of amenities and services you receive at On Top of the World is based on the neighborhood in which you live. Two of our neighborhoods, Windsor and Renaissance Park, are considered “full-service” because they offer the largest number of services and amenities. Candler Hills and Indigo East each provide a different mix of services and amenities.
If you are moving to a community that offers amenities and services, chances are that you will be charged a monthly community service fee (CSF), or a homeowners’ association fee. The amount of this fee will be based on the level of services and amenities provided. When considering one active adult community over another, it is best to discover which amenities and services are included in the CSF of each community. Attached is a worksheet which you can use to compare communities as you “shop”. View it here! The worksheet lists the amenities and services provided at On Top of the World (by neighborhood) and provides space for comparing these amenities and services side by side with other communities you are considering.
The community service fee at On Top of the World is subject to annual adjustments based on increases in operational expenses only, not arbitrarily based on the rate of inflation. Can any of the other communities you visit say that?

No matter where you choose to spend your retirement, you are going to incur monthly expenses. It is wise to compare communities by reviewing which services are included in the CSF and which you will pay for separately. Just because a community offers a low CSF, does not mean that your monthly expenses will be low, especially if you have to go outside the community for the amenities and services you want. For instance, if your community does not include life long education but you take courses at a local college, what are the costs of those courses? Add that amount to your CSF amount. If your community does not have a full service fitness facility and you get a membership at a fitness center in town, what is the monthly cost? Add that amount to your CSF amount. Are basic cable and internet included in your CSF? If not, then add their cost to your CSF amount. Be sure to include ALL the costs in order to achieve an accurate comparison.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

On Top of the World News Gets a New Look

Welcome to the latest edition of On Top of the World News! Looks a bit different from what you've been used to. The new October 2010 edition has ushered in a new look for our free community newspaper. It's still loaded with tons of community information and relevant stories about current events, so enjoy! Get your copy here: World News - October 2010.

Monday, September 13, 2010

News for the Neighborhood eNewsletter - Sept/Oct 2010

The September/October 2010 edition of News from the Neighborhood - On Top of the World Communities' newsletter is now available! In the latest edition of our community eNewsletter you will find information about the incredible amenities at On Top of the World, great deals on move-in-now homes, Candler Hills Golf Club's Extreme Demo Day and an overview of activities at Circle Square Commons and throughout the community. Click here to learn more!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Home Energy Rating System (HERS)

Comparing Apples to Apples with Energy-Efficiency
The description “energy-efficient” is not a government regulated term.  It may be used by any home builder who incorporates even the least energy-efficient products on the market into their homes.  So how does a consumer compare one home to another in the area of energy-efficiency?  How does he or she know that one home’s energy-efficiency is equivalent to that of another home?  There are many factors that contribute to a home’s energy-efficiency.  It is in looking at the home as a whole, a combination of its individual, energy-saving components, that one determines the true comparative-worthy value of the home.

HERS, or Home Energy Rating System, is a numerical index which represents the energy-efficiency of a home as a number.  (See Figure A.) 

HERS is based on whole house energy use. This rating system is consistent throughout the country and is similar in application to the miles per gallon rating system for cars.  It allows consumers to compare a product based on an evaluation standard (like comparing apples to apples).  On the HERS index, the lower the number is on the chart, the more energy-efficient the home.   

As you can see on Figure A, a standard home meeting building codes for minimum energy-efficiency achieves a rating of 100. An ENERGY STAR®-qualified home, built to exceed the minimum building codes and improve energy- efficiency by certain minimum standards, achieves a rating of 85.  Homes which incorporate additional energy-efficient designs and improvements achieve a rating of lower than 85.  Each point on the HERS index represents 1% of energy.  Therefore, ENERGY STAR®-qualified homes offer a 15% decrease in energy costs over the standard home with a 100 rating.  Our homes here at On Top of the World offer an energy cost savings of 15% – 35%...and we are improving upon this amount each year.

Visiting other communities? Ask them what their HERS rating is.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Excellence in ENERGY STAR® Promotion Award

On Top of the World Communities has been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency with the 2010 Excellence in ENERGY STAR Promotion Award for its energy-efficient homes and consumer-education programs. Moreover, On Top of the World Communities was the only Florida builder and one of just six home builders across the country to be so honored at recent ceremonies in Washington, D.C. Winners were selected from more than 17,000 companies and organizations nationwide.

According to the EPA, On Top of the World Communities was selected “for its outstanding contributions to reducing greenhouse-gas emissions by educating new home buyers about the value of choosing an ENERGY STAR-qualified home.” All On Top of the World homes are steel-reinforced concrete block construction, and every home meets or exceeds ENERGY STAR guidelines ... verified by independent inspectors. And On Top of the World is Florida’s first active-adult community to receive 100 percent ENERGY STAR qualification on all new homes.

One example of On Top of the World’s continued commitment to this effort was last year’s decision by company officials to offer a solar-power option on every new home it builds. In fact, one home in the community's new model-home center – the 2,324-square-foot Huntley II – features solar panels as a secondary source of energy that saves as much as 75 percent on monthly energy bills. An average ENERGY STAR qualified home receives a Home Energy Rating Score (HERS) score of 85 or below. The Huntley II model received a remarkably low HERS of 18. That’s a lot of energy savings! In addition to introducing the solar model, the company hosted an “It’s So Easy Being Green” consumer expo last fall where home buyers could speak directly with building industry vendors about how their products and services support the ENERGY STAR program.

In addition to reducing the carbon footprint of our homes, building energy-efficient homes also makes for happy homeowners:

"For years we have been ENERGY STAR® advocates. Once we decided to retire, we searched for the perfect place that would afford us beautiful weather, friendly neighbors and the perfect energy efficient home. We went online to and clicked on our state of choice, and found On Top of the World Communities. We wanted a well constructed home with low carrying costs and a home that was certified energy efficient. At On Top of the World Communities, we found all that and more." - Joseph and Linda Patanella

The EPA reports that last year alone, Americans ... with the help of ENERGY STAR ... saved $17 billion on their energy bills and reduced greenhouse-gas emissions equivalent to what is produced by 30 million vehicles.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Commitment to Building ENERGY STAR® Qualified Homes

The Area's Most Energy Efficient Builder

On Top of the World Communities, Inc. has always been environmentally-minded over the years. From our commitment to ENERGY STAR® qualification of all new homes starting in 2000 to the relocation of animals displaced during land development to using water-saving techniques in landscaping, we have sought to be good stewards of the world’s resources. The building products and techniques used in the construction of a home as well as the decorative elements we offer that make

a home personally yours, are all a part of On Top of the World’s increasing support of environmental sustainability.

Building a Eco-friendly Home – Building Now and for the Future

The homes we build are of the highest quality. We continually strive for excellence in building the most energy efficient homes. By incorporating the following products in our homes, we also provide energy efficiency. To date our lowest HERS (Home Energy Rating System) score on new home construction has been a 62, which is exceptional. We surpass ENERGY STAR guidelines with our homes scoring an average of 70. This compares to a typical existing home receiving a score of 130 and a standard ENERGY STAR qualified home at a score of 85. The lower the score, the higher the energy savings. But we’re not satisfied with 62. We will continue to improve our homes and the products we use to better this score for our homeowners and for the environment.

Low-E Double Pane Windows

• Tile Flooring

14 and 15 SEER HVAC Systems by Goodman

• Reflective Radiant Barrier on Roof Sheathing

• Recessed Can Lighting in Kitchen (IC-rated with sealed cans and CFL bulbs)

• ¾” Cellulose Foam Board Wall Insulation

Planting a Water Saver Yard

On Top of the World Communities is committed to using water-wise, Florida-friendly landscape practices and conservative irrigation design principles in its commercial and residential areas. Each neighborhood’s common areas are uniquely landscaped to create individual character, but all designs use drought tolerant sod and native plants/grasses which require minimal irrigation. In addition, we install drip irrigation systems with pressure regulated irrigation heads to promote water conservation. This commitment has earned On Top of the World recognition as a Florida Friendly Landscape Community.

Choosing Eco-friendly Vendors and Products

We want the products we use in our homes to be of the highest quality, to be beautiful to the homeowner and to support our commitment to sustainability. Because of this dedication On Top of the World chooses to partner with eco-friendly manufacturers who share our commitment to being “green.” These manufacturers use environmentally-friendly practices such as using recycled materials for packaging, using energy-saving methods during production, reducing fuel costs for shipping product, reducing production waste, and/or they offer products that provide energy or water savings to the end user:

Amarr Garage Doors

Centurion Stone

Cambia Quartz Countertops

Anderson Hardwood Floors

Color Wheel Paint

Quick Step Flooring

Mohawk EverStrand Carpet

Delta Faucets

Wellborn Cabinets

But we don’t stop here…

Encouraging Eco-friendly Practices

Curbside recycling programs are offered to our residents to encourage everyone to be eco-friendly. Waste Management provides this convenient service, known as single stream recycling. No separation of recyclables is required.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Building Envelope - Crucial to a ENERGY STAR® Qualified Home

It’s blustery cold outside. The temperature is low; the wind is whipping. You go inside your home, but the cold follows you, seeping in through various leaks in the building envelope of the house. The heater runs continually trying to fight the intruding cold air. You are not warm; your heating bill grows larger. Will this ever improve?

The answer is YES when you live at On Top of the World Communities.

For years, On Top of the World has been building the highest quality home, actually surpassing ENERGY STAR® minimum guidelines. What makes our homes so much more energy efficient than the homes of other builders? What is it about a home that makes it seamless, without drafts, without air loss? The answer to both questions is the building envelope.

The Building Envelope
The building envelope is just what it sounds like, the outer layer of the home. It encompasses components such as insulation, windows and doors, roof, wall and penetrations in the walls, their fit and interaction and the entire efficiency of the final product. Each of these elements can leak air into or out of the home. Collectively, if they are leaking, there can be a lot of conditioned air seeping out or a lot of outside air coming in…not to mention moisture. Builders may focus on one area or another, but if they are not guaranteeing all of them, then you are at risk. For example, a high R-value in a ceiling may seem like a good selling point but can be completely offset and negated by exterior leakage around windows, doors or ductwork. At On Top of the World, we are committed to a tight building envelope.

Low-E, Double Pane Windows
Heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer through a home’s windows can account for up to 50% of that home’s heating and cooling expenses. A window’s energy performance is measured by the heat loss through the window on a cold day (U-value), heat gain through the window on a hot day (solar heat gain coefficient), and air leakage around the window’s edge. The lower the rating in each of these areas, the better the window’s energy performance. The use of low-E, double pane windows at On Top of the World combined with the installation practice of tightly sealing the windows’ edges guarantees high energy performance in this area.

R-30 Attic & R-13 Wall Insulation
The primary purpose of insulation in the home is to reduce the exchange of heat between the inside and outside of the home. The effectiveness of the insulation can be drastically reduced if it is not installed properly. A high R-value is important, but it can be undermined by gaps, voids and compression in the insulation. That is why our homes are inspected during the construction process by a third party inspector to insure that what is going on behind the walls is done to the highest standards. At On Top of the World, insulation R-30 in the attic and R-13 in the walls is installed without any gaps, compressions, or misalignments. This continuous boundary of insulation between the inside and outside maintains temperature efficiently and keeps the home comfortable and quiet.

Duct Sealing & Insulation
The duct system is the equipment by which conditioned air is distributed throughout the home. The potential for energy loss through this system is very high if the ducts are not installed, sealed and insulated properly. Proper sealing of the ducts prevents dust, pollen, pests, moisture and fumes from entering the home. This, in turn, improves air quality. On Top of the World seals air ducts with an advanced sealant that significantly reduces leakage in the duct system, improving the comfort and air quality of your home, while reducing utility bills. Ducts that are tightly sealed can increase your heating and cooling system’s efficiency by as much as 20%.

Tight Construction, Positive Pressure & Air Quality
Sealing all exterior penetrations is one of the most critical features of a tight building envelope. Caulking, foaming, and gasketing of windows, doors and wall penetrations in the home helps reduce energy losses, which lowers utility bills for heating and cooling. In an On Top of the World home, a tight building envelope creates positive air pressure within the home. As a result, infiltration of moisture and outside contaminates is reduced. Fresh outside air is introduced into the home via the return side of the Air Handler unit. The outside air is circulated over the coils of the air handler allowing it to be conditioned before entering the home.

Seal of Approval
In days gone by, the envelope of a letter was marked with the seal of the sender…signifying the credibility of the message. The credibility of our homes’ building envelope is determined by a third party inspector both during the construction of the home and then again at its completion. Upon inspection, the home is then marked with the “seal of approval” from ENERGY STAR. Each home displays this “seal” (or label) on its breaker box.

Interested in becoming a homeowner is Florida’s most energy efficient community? Schedule a visit today to learn how. For information about our Guest Visitation Program, call 800-421-4162.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Local Solar Home Heats Up National Headlines

CONTACT: John Heagney | Holiday, Fla. | (727) 942-2718
JANUARY 8, 2010
Local Solar Home Heats Up National Headlines
OCALA, FLA. – Green Builder magazine has placed the national spotlight on a new line of solar-optional homes being built at On Top of the World Communities, the 12,972-acre master-planned community offering sustainable, high-performance homes and state-of-the-art amenities for 21st century active adults at 8445 SW 80th St.
According to Kenneth D. Colen, President, On Top of the World Communities, Green Builder featured a story about the 2,188-square-foot Huntley II that features optional solar panels as a secondary source of energy. And the remaining six homes in the community’s newly opened model home center ... as well as all homes built by the company ... also offer solar power as an option.
Colen says solar power on these homes can save home buyers as much as 75 percent on their monthly power bills. And even if they don’t select the solar option, owners will be purchasing some of the most energy- efficient homes found anywhere.
On Top of the World Communities’ commitment to energy-efficient homes began when the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy introduced the ENERGY STAR program, which integrates energy-efficient products and building techniques in its homes to ensure long-term energy savings for its home buyers.
Now, as a result of its early investment in the program, On Top of the World Communities became the state’s first active-adult community to receive 100 percent ENERGY STAR qualification on all new homes and has built more ENERGY STAR homes than another other community in Florida. ENERGY STAR homes feature:
• R-30 ceiling insulation to reduce heat gain/loss and improve the home’s durability.
• Low-E, double-pane windows to reduce condensation and heat gain/loss while protecting the home's
interior from the sun's damaging rays
• Tight construction to seal and maintain the home's temperature efficiently while acting as a sound barrier
• Efficient heating-and-cooling system to improve air quality and enhance comfort while saving energy
On Top of the World Communities has been named to the list of America’s 100 Best Master-Planned Communities by Where to Retire magazine and Best Neighborhood for 55+ by Ocala magazine. Its builder and developer has built about 4,500 homes in 14 neighborhoods in this central Florida location since construction began in the 1980s.
One of the community’s most compelling features is the Master the Possibilities Education Center, where 600 classes, lectures, presentations and film series are taught by a professional faculty. Also located here is the 830-seat Circle Square Cultural Center, Ocala’s largest indoor venue for concerts, art exhibits, conventions and social functions.
On Top of the World offers 13 residential designs in three distinctive series – Premier, Estate and Custom homes.
For more details, visit

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Environmental awareness is a core belief at On Top of the World Communities and is reflected in its seven new model homes ... all offering optional solar power as part of a sustainable design package that saves the homeowner money, while saving the planet.

On Top of the World Communities’ commitment to energy-efficient homes began when the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy introduced the ENERGY STAR® program. The company embraced this effort immediately, integrating energy-efficient products and building techniques in its homes to ensure long-term energy savings for its home buyers.

As a result, On Top of the World Communities became Florida’s first active adult community to receive 100 percent ENERGY STAR qualification on all new homes.

ENERGY STAR homes include more than two dozen building products and practices ranging from R-30 insulation in ceilings to low-E, energy-efficient double-pane windows, tight construction and efficient heating-and-cooling equipment.

On Top of the World Communities ensures adherence to ENERGY STAR guidelines by performing onsite inspections by an independent third-party expert before and after drywall is installed. Test results compare the energy efficiency of homes here with other area homes built only to local building codes. Then, home buyers are given a report of anticipated energy savings for cooling, heating, lighting, hot water and appliances. And with consistently better energy ratings, On Top of the World homes qualify for Energy Efficient Mortgages, and have higher appraised values.

Currently, the community is pursuing LEED certification, an international green-building-rating system of the U.S. Green Building Council, recognizing practical and measurable green-building design and construction.

“We didn’t have to change any of our building practices when we applied for LEED certification because we were doing these extra things already as part of the ENERGY STAR and Builder’s Challenge programs,” notes construction manager Sheryl Johnson. “We’re very proud of that fact.”

As for solar-capable homes – the Huntley II model actually is fitted with solar panels – On Top of the World Communities is among the area’s first home builders to incorporate alternative sources of energy as options in new homes. You may view the production of energy by the Huntley II at the On Top of the World Model Center.

“This is a great opportunity for homeowners to see solar power in action,” Johnson explains. “And from everything we’ve seen and heard, 70 percent of home buyers say they want a high-performance home that is good for the environment.”