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Welcome to USGBC Florida's Blog! Access articles and opinion pieces written and published with our members in mind. Please be sure to subscribe to the Blog's RSS feed for post notifications delivered to your email address. Lastly, we want this Blog to be useful, thoughtful, measured, factual (unless noted as an opinion piece) and be a resource for people to learn from local experts. To help us get there, please review our Simple Blog Rules. Submissions for consideration of posting should be sent to info@usgbcflorida.org.

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  • June 08, 2017 3:08 PM | Lee Cooke (Administrator)

    By:  Mahesh Ramanujam, President and CEO of USGBC
    Reposted from USGBC

    The U.S. and green building advocates must keep pushing for a sustainable future for all.

    As many know, the Paris Agreement, under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), establishes voluntary actions to address greenhouse gas emissions and global climate change mitigation and adaptation—and 194 countries around the world are signatories. The United States government has an opportunity to lead on this, and in so doing, to strengthen global partnerships, yet it has chosen to walk away. We are deeply disappointed to learn of the administration’s decision to withdraw from the historic Paris Agreement today.

    We are facing an important crossroads, and America must keep building. We need to keep building bridges and bonds and breaking barriers in the push for a sustainable future for all. Although the pullout of the U.S. government from the Paris Agreement will be felt across the world, the surge of climate commitments and actions by the private sector, nongovernmental organizations, governments, cities and states will only serve to strengthen the green building movement and keep pushing us forward.

    For 24 years, USGBC has led the green building movement with a strong vision—that buildings, communities and cities will regenerate and sustain the health and vitality of all life within this generation. Today, our efforts continue unabated and with commitment and hope that's stronger than ever.

    Yes, hope. We are hopeful for the future because we know that our movement is a community of 13 million strong, and it's growing. We are encouraged by the continued commitment of this community to build a sustainable future for all.

    U.S. companies, including many USGBC members, are already working to address business risks from climate change and to adapt their businesses to domestic and global opportunities created around climate-mitigation needs. Businesses and local governments are wisely seeking and investing in low-carbon fuels and technologies to stay on the cutting edge of the global economy. And with platforms like Arc, more and more companies and government entities are tracking their carbon emissions, committing to reduction targets and taking action.

    Right now, "business as usual" is no longer an option. With the work of our organization, our members, our volunteers and many others, we have reached the point where the transition to a low-carbon economy is inevitable, but making the transition remains urgent.

    All around us, we see new leaders who are ready to rise, inspired by the promise of a brighter future for our children and for generations to come. They are the big corporations and small business owners, educators and innovators, scientists and activists, nonprofit employees and policymakers, advocates and more who are working every day to change our world, definitively, for the better. To these leaders, green building is the key solution to pushing our built environment to be supportive and restorative of all life.

    At USGBC, we implore you to stay strong and focused and to keep building. And remember: we stand with you, and we are all in. Let’s continue to LEED on.

  • June 06, 2017 8:51 AM | Lee Cooke (Administrator)

    By:  Kathy Lawson, LEED AP BD+C, GGP, CDT
    Director of Sustainability, DCS Design

    In the last decade, the real estate industry has made substantial progress in the areas of green building, emissions reduction, and resource efficiency. Some design and construction professionals feel that, at this pivotal moment in American politics, that progress is under threat. We could easily look at the federal government’s efforts to roll back environmental regulations, such as fuel economy standards and the Paris Agreement, and to question the need for oversight agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, and conclude that the future of sustainability is at risk. However, sustainability has transcended politics and is now in the capable hands of the market.

    These market forces have given rise to an explosion sustainable technology and green building materials. With the unprecedented rise in automation, smart metering, and controls, our buildings are not only green, but now they are intelligent too. We have gone from dimming switches and occupancy sensors to full-spectrum, wifi enabled, circadian-correct lighting that can automatically turn on when you pull into your driveway and learn your lighting preferences at different times of the day. In the past 10 years, we have seen a 60% increase in solar panel installations and a 60% decrease in the price of those panels. (i) Global investment in renewable energy, at over $265 billion, was more than double investments in new coal and gas generation last year. (ii) Since 2008, the cost of a 60W equivalent LED light bulb has dropped from $30 to $3. (iii)

    Even more important than these innovations and advancements is the knowledge of and enthusiasm for sustainability among younger Americans. Many of the nation’s top universities now offer green building specific degree programs, such as Yale University’s Master of Environmental Design and Tulane University’s Master of Sustainable Real Estate Development. Millennials entering today’s housing market and workplaces have grown up with recycling programs and a changing climate as their status quo. Americans under 35 don’t ask for environmentally responsible apartments and office buildings, they have come to expect them as a minimum baseline.

    As the up-front cost of sustainability declines, the value-add for green building developers and owners increases. According to GreenBiz Group’s Green Building Market and Impact Report, LEED buildings command 5-17% higher rental rates than similar non-LEED buildings. Also, a Jones Lang LaSalle study of the Philadelphia market identified that green buildings have an average vacancy rate drop of over 3% as well as faster absorption into the market. (iv) Even in markets where a rental rate premium has yet to be quantified, savvy developers must ask themselves, ‘what is the risk of not building green?’. With the growing demand for green technology and the influx of millennials into the housing market, the risk of obsolescence, declining returns, and increased vacancy rates in the future, is high.

    The advancements in climate action and green building regulation on a local level are also on the rise. Federal enforcement and tax-credits may decline in the near future, but progressive Mayors and City Councils throughout the country understand the economic and environmental benefits of sustainability and are flexing their legislative muscles in surprising ways. Cities like Boston, Baltimore, Dallas, and Denver have already implemented comprehensive Climate Action Plans. Fourteen states and the District of Columbia have adopted the International Green Construction Code, establishing green building as the code minimum. Hundreds of municipalities, including Chicago IL, Arlington VA, and Bloomington IN require LEED certification for new construction. Some jurisdictions have gone well beyond LEED. The California Energy Commission is calling all new residential construction statewide to be zero net energy by 2020. (That’s only 3 years from now!) Thanks to mandatory recycling and composting, San Francisco diverts over 70% of its waste from landfill. Greensburg, Kansas, Burlington, Vermont, and Aspen, Colorado currently use 100% renewable energy and 7 other cities will join them by 2030. (v)

    Moving forward, it’s obvious that advancements in sustainability will be made, not by big government, but by passionate people who operate dedicated green businesses, participate in grassroots community groups, and take action on a municipal level.


    i  Source: Solar Energy Industries Association: http://www.seia.org/research-resources/solar-industry-data 

    ii  Source: “Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2016” report by FS-UNEP Collaborating Centre for Climate & Sustainable Energy Finance.

    iii  Source: U.S. Department of Energy

    iv  Source: Jones Lang LaSalle: http://www.jll.com/GSP/global-sustainability/sustainable-property-value

    v  Source: Business Insider: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-greenest-american-cities-renewable-energy-2016-8/#san-diego-california-1

  • April 21, 2017 8:24 AM | Lee Cooke (Administrator)

    In commemoration of Earth Day 2017, USGBC Florida asked our remarkable, amazing, incredible volunteer-members what they do to make the Earth happy.  Submissions were fun, from the heart and different.  Any consensus?  Just one:  It’s the only Earth we’ve got and everyone can make a difference!

    Spread the sustainable living message to as many friends and colleagues as possible. 

    Host discussions with both like-minded and curious people. 

    Attend an Earth Day event to lead by example.

    I became a Butterfly Hero by planting a Monarch Garden!

    I push the limits to create buildings that can produce more water and energy than they consume and create a positive impact on the environment.

    Provide our students with healthier schools.

    I make recycling and recycled materials a priority on our construction projects.

    Put on a GET (Green Education Tours)!

    Support the Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools Program, and continue to support the greening of every school in America within a generation.

    We’re big into saving and using our own leftovers, volunteering at a local food bank, and asking local businesses to donate the edible food they can't sell.

    Work on reducing my carbon footprint by switching to LED lighting, programmable thermostat, and sealing leaks in ductwork.

    I talked my daughter’s teacher into tucking The Importance of Recycling lesson into the class’ science curriculum. 

    Participate in a special Zumba event to promote Health and Wellness.

    I design LEED Certified buildings that, on average, use 20% less energy and 30% less water than baseline buildings, improve indoor air quality, and reduce the impact on our Earth.  Also, on a personal level, I work to reduce my meat consumption and purchase the majority of my family’s food from local farms.

    We reduce our personal impact on the earth by living small and comfortably, including living within walking distance of work, working in a green building (and supporting the owner by paying them rent), taking public transportation, driving a hybrid vehicle for the company car, recycling, composting, living in less square footage, in a dense area near needed services, and buying way less stuff.  Things we have to work on: We fly too much and eat too much meat.  

    We make the earth happy when we take care of one another. 

    I walk my son to school most days.  And I work with developers, building owners and design teams to reduce their projects’ environmental footprint.

    I promote bike-friendly street design in my city.

    My church is going to plant native species and wildflowers throughout our church property, creating a low-maintenance, beautiful and carefree garden space.  Go native or go home! 

    I help a local music festival reduce its impact on the environment and support local businesses as much as possible.

    The earth is happy when we gather the free energy that falls from the sky and use it to make our lives better without polluting the atmosphere.  The earth is happy when we walk.  The earth is happy when our kids play outside.  The earth is happy when we are humble.  The earth is happy when we conserve water and drink more wine (or maybe it is beer; my research continues).

    I will paraphrase a favorite character, Mark Watney (Matt Damon): “We’re going to have to science the shit out of this atmosphere.”

    My family and I and a couple of our neighbors are going to go out and clean up trash-filled areas near our community.

    Fend off the politicians!

    Recycle!  You’d be surprised what you can recycle and reuse!  Google “things to recycle” and start walking the walk and saving the Earth.  Last year we recycled hundreds of flip-tops from soda and beer cans, and bunches of batteries, VHS tapes and other things useful and not, in addition to loading up the yellow and blue bins every Wednesday!

    Stay optimistic!  Celebrate our achievements of the past year!  Though the economic and political winds are wildly askew and oftentimes scary, green building continues to thrive, and science and the next generations will win the day with climate change.  Truth!

    I try to remember to bring reusable shopping bags to Publix.  If I must use the plastic bags, I put them back in the car after I unload groceries at home, and take them with me next time and put them in the recycle bin there.

    And finally ...

    Continue to pee in the backyard!  I save hundreds of gallons of water in flushes every year, and this one particular tree in the backyard is looking surprisingly spry!   

  • February 02, 2017 4:18 PM | Sarah Boren (Administrator)

    Boca Raton, FL  (February 3, 2017) -- Florida ranked fourth in the number of LEED projects in the U.S. in 2016, according to an annual ranking produced by the US Green Building Council.  The annual ranking highlights states throughout the United States that made significant strides in sustainable building design, construction and transformation over the past year.  LEED is the world’s most widely used and recognized green building rating system.

    “This speaks volumes about Florida's commitment to environmental excellence and social responsibility,” said Mike Hess, Chair of the USGBC Florida Chapter.  "We applaud the companies, owners, municipalities and everyone who played even a small part in this effort to deliver environmentally responsible, healthy and resource-efficient buildings in 2016 and in the future.”

    Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts 

    In addition to ranking the number of LEED projects, the report, which includes commercial and institutional green building projects Certified during 2016, ranked states’ projects’ LEED Certified GSF, as well as the total square feet of LEED Certified space per resident based on U.S. Census data.  Florida finished fourth in number of LEED projects, 11th in LEED Certified GSF, and 29th in square feet of certified space per resident. 

    Across the USA, 3,366 projects were LEED Certified in 2016, representing 470.39 million square feet.  In 2016, Florida saw 204 new LEED Certified projects representing more than 15 million square feet.  Through January 10, 2017, Florida has 1,422 LEED Certified projects representing more than 125 million square feet.

    In 2016, 53 percent of LEED building space was Certified in LEED’s Operations and Maintenance rating systems, representing a shifting focus toward greening the nation’s existing buildings stock.  LEED for Building Design and Construction, which primarily deals with new construction and major renovations, represented 42 percent of the Certified square footage Certified.  LEED for Interior Design and Construction made up approximately 5 percent of total square footage Certified.

    University of South Florida, St. Petersburg

    The LEED green building certification system is the foremost program for the design, construction, maintenance and operations of green buildings.  More than 59,000 commercial, neighborhood and residential projects are currently LEED Certified, comprising more than six billion square feet of construction space in all 50 states in the U.S. and in more than 164 countries and territories globally.

    Green construction is also a large economic driver.  According to USGBC’s 2015 Green Building Economic Impact Study, green construction will account for more than 3.3 million U.S. jobs -- more than one-third of the entire U.S. construction sector -- and generate $190.3 billion in labor earnings by 2018.  The industry’s direct contribution to U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) is also expected to reach $303.5 billion from 2015-2018.

    "It's unquestionably the right thing to do for the communities in which we live, work and play.  Our Chapter’s amazing volunteers work hard to engage, educate and advocate for the adoption of green building policies and initiatives that will make our buildings, cities, communities and neighborhoods more resource- and energy-efficient,” said Mark Gelfo, Vice-Chair for USGBC Florida.

    University of North Florida Wellness Center

    The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green-building program, developed by the USGBC, is a voluntary, consensus-based international rating system for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings, homes and communities.  LEED addresses all building types and emphasizes state-of-the-art strategies aimed at key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials and resources selection, and indoor environmental quality.  The LEED Professional Credential demonstrates green-building expertise. 

    For the list of states in the USGBC report, see attachment with this release.


    The U.S. Green Building Council Florida Chapter, a nonprofit (501[c][3]) organization, embraces innovative building practices that conserve land, energy, water, resources and materials.  Its Mission is to transform the way buildings and communities are designed, built and operated, enabling an environmentally and socially responsible, healthy, and prosperous environment that improves the quality of life.  USGBC Florida has nearly 20,000 members, volunteers and friends providing educational programs and market transformation services to the Sunshine State from seven Regions -- Central Florida, Florida Capital, Florida Gulf Coast, Heart of Florida, Northeast Florida, Northern Gulf Coast, and South Florida.  Contacts:  Lee Cooke (Executive Director, 561-373-7367, lcooke@usgbcflorida.org) and Sarah Boren (Director of Policy and Programs, 904-535-0055, sboren@usgbcflorida.org).

  • January 24, 2017 2:15 PM | Sarah Boren (Administrator)

    Local architect unveils home with many different green features and green building certifications

    Photo Credit: Rory Reynolds

    St. Augustine, Florida: With sweeping views of St. Augustine’s Salt Run and the Atlantic Ocean, and an up-close and personal view of the historic St. Augustine Lighthouse, a uniquely modern single-family residence is close to completion in the nation’s oldest city. The home will be awarded multiple certifications in recognition of its sustainable design and construction — LEED Platinum from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), Florida Green Building Coalition (FGBC) “Florida Green” Home certification-platinum level, and Florida Water Star Gold from the St. Johns River Water Management District.

    On February 2, 2017 from 3–6 p.m., local realtors, builders and architects are invited to tour the home and learn about its “green” features. Representatives from USGBC, FGBC and the district’s Florida Water Star program will be available to explain the requirements of their programs. Nate Ritter, certifying agent for the home, encourages local professionals to come by and see how green construction practices can benefit St. Augustine and Northeast Florida.

    “This home is a wonderful example of what happens when sustainable design is incorporated into green construction practices,” said Ritter. “The home is very energy and water efficient, healthy indoor air all while preserving the best natural site elements.”

    Touted as one of the “greenest” homes in northeast Florida, “The Live Oak House,” named after­ the live oak tree featured in the courtyard, has attracted the admiration of locals and visitors alike. Owner and architect Rory Reynolds, of Rory Reynolds and Associates, designed, managed and participated in the build of this unique home.

    The home’s green features include passive solar lighting, an ENERGY STAR HERS index of 50, an Energy Recovery Ventilator-incorporated heating/cooling system, and low VOC (volatile organic compound) paints, adhesives and sealants. Hot water insulation and air filtering exceed building code requirements. All bathrooms and the garage have an enhanced local exhaust fan that operates on a timed interval. Additionally, all bathrooms incorporate water conservation with WaterSense toilets, faucets and showers.

    The outdoor landscape features unirrigated, drought-tolerant grass, site-appropriate landscaping, and a 100-percent permeable lot to maximize absorption of stormwater and reduce runoff into the adjacent Salt Run, a fishing and paddling hotspot. The large live oak tree, which Reynolds worked to preserve, protect and feature, provides shade to the home and a unique retreat for the courtyard. The roots of the tree continue to grow below the elevated home, undisturbed by the structure.

    To reserve a free ticket to this event, visit http://tinyurl.com/liveoaktour

    Event flyer

    To learn more about the event, please contact Deirdre Irwin, Florida Water Star program coordinator, SJRWMD at 386-546-8437 or Sarah Boren, Director of Policy and Programs USGBC Florida at 904-535-0055. 

  • January 10, 2017 10:52 AM | Sarah Boren (Administrator)

    Reaching for a dried-out pen during a stressful workday can make you want to pull your hair out. But it can also lead to prematurely tossing your supplies. Are there really ways to make office supplies last longer? Absolutely.

    The ink in your pens, highlighters and markers tends to dry up faster if they aren’t being used regularly. So, try using your writing implements one-at-a-time to ensure they won’t end up forgotten in the back of your desk.

    And try to keep your pen tips clean. Inks naturally coagulate at the tip of your pen, making them trickier to write with over time. To avoid plastic waste (and frustration), wipe the tip of your pen with a cloth after each use, and store pens with tips pointing upward to prevent clogging.

    Also, keep all pens, markers and glue sticks (http://www.usgbcflorida.org/EmailTracker/LinkTracker.ashx?linkAndRecipientCode=m3x20N%2bSOD94HqYFUyZXy2TEIX30B4WeCIafadJ5k4P9%2bot6GOdmaYrZK%2f7xoTkt81Ufo4k0MftVfBL0h2Xl1Y92%2f7d19%2flrJdN6ozbCK8w%3d) in a cool, dry place – like inside a desk drawer or closet. Heat and exposure to direct sunlight can cause inks and glues to dry up and harden.

    For more tips, click here

    Source: earth911.com

  • December 20, 2016 2:00 PM | Sarah Boren (Administrator)

    Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Orlando’s City Commissioners, and its hardworking staff (shout out to USGBC Florida Board Member and City of Orlando’s Director of Sustainability, Chris Castro, and Sustainability Project Manager, Brittany Sellers – the two in the middle of the picture below) are commended for passing the Building Energy and Water Efficiency Strategy (BEWES) Ordinance

    This is a first-of-its-kind Ordinance in Florida and second in the southeastern U.S. after Atlanta. 


    With Orlando growing at a rate close to two percent each year, it’s critical that the City serves and supports generations to come.  Currently, energy and water use in Orlando’s buildings accounts for the majority of the City’s contribution to air pollution, and are often the second-highest costs associated with renting or owning a building space.  However, buildings often waste more than 30 percent of energy through inefficiencies and outdated technologies.  BEWES addresses this waste by requiring the owners and managers of Orlando’s largest buildings to track their energy and water efficiency, which will help drive efficiency in these spaces, diversify the local economy, and create high-wage jobs, saving businesses and residents money and fostering a cleaner and healthier environment.

    BEWES was developed through Orlando’s participation in the City Energy Project (CEP), a national initiative to create healthier and more prosperous American cities by improving the energy efficiency of large buildings.  Together, with nine other participating cities, this partnership serves to create multiple complementary strategies and energy-efficiency solutions that are unique, flexible and serve to support the following goals: promote efficient building operations, provide transparency for consumers, encourage private investment, and show city leadership.  CEP is a joint initiative of the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Institute for Market Transformation, which is generously supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and The Kresge Foundation.

    Policy Overview

    BEWES, as part of Orlando’s successful Green Works initiative, calls on existing commercial, institutional, multi-family buildings larger than 50,000 square feet to track whole-building energy use; report to the City annually; and make information collected transparent to the real estate marketplace.  The policy covers less than five percent of Orlando’s buildings, which account for more than 50 percent of total energy and water used by all buildings citywide.

    BEWES focuses on creating information that will enable better decision-making. Importantly, it does not require buildings to make any mandatory investments. The ordinance has three parts:

    1. Benchmark energy use (annually):  Covered buildings will track basic building information and whole-building energy use (electricity, natural gas, and any other fuels, including common spaces and tenant-occupied spaces) using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, a free online tool offered by the US EPA.
    2. Information Transparency (annually):  Starting May 2018, covered buildings will be required to share their benchmarking score with the City using the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager tool.
    3. Energy Audits or Retro-Commissioning (1x per 5 years):  Starting May 2020, buildings that score under the national average (ENERGY STAR score below 50) are required to perform an energy audit OR choose to perform retro-commissioning of their base building systems one time every five years.  The free OUC utility audit is eligible for compliance.

    Benefits and Impact of BEWES

    Based on an academic and market study performed by the GreenLink Group, between 2015 and 2030, the BEWES policy will:

    • Save Money and Improve Comfort:  This policy will save an estimated $208 million in energy costs over the next 15 years.  Enhancements to building energy efficiency will also result in improved comfort and productivity at home and in the workplace.
    • Improve Air Quality and Public Health:  When local buildings are more energy efficient, they consume less power, resulting in fewer emissions from power plants.  With this improved air quality, Orlando can expect $64 million in reduced healthcare costs citywide.
    • Increase Economic Development and Job Creation:  Improvements to energy efficiency spurs economic investment through reduced operating costs, increased asset values, and improved worker productivity.  In addition to benefitting existing positions, this policy will drive the creation of more than 500 local high-wage jobs.
    • Reduce Water Supply Constraints:  Electric power generation is the largest user of water, so reducing energy demand has a strong effect on preserving Orlando’s limited water supply.  As the City faces a significant impending water scarcity issue, building energy efficiency will conserve a critical 900 million gallons of fresh water by 2030.
    • Resilience:  BEWES will enrich Orlando’s security and resilience to unexpected energy- or water-related emergencies and avoid an estimated 1.1 million metric tons of carbon pollution.
    • Lead the Nation:  The policy will improve competitiveness and promote Orlando’s position as one of the nation’s leading sustainable cities, which will attract new businesses and investments and will help Orlando continue to succeed in the global marketplace.

    USGBC Florida’s Involvement

    USGBC Florida is proud of its involvement as an external stakeholder and coordinator in helping the City of Orlando pass this historic milestone and momentous step forward.  We were not alone.  Many partners (NRDC, IMT, Central Florida Energy Efficiency Alliance, League of Women Voters - Orlando, ASHRAE Orlando, Valencia College, Organize Now, FSEC, IDEAS for Us, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, NEMA, Lutheran Church), companies (Siemens, IKEA, First Green Bank, 15 Lightyears, ecoPreserve, Panasonic, exp, and AGPM), and individuals stepped up to work together to outline the facts to the City Commissioners and those opposing the ordinance that led to Orlando’s elected officials ultimately supporting the strategy.  We used tools such as Revolution Nation, social media, and twibbon; yet what really won the day was the passion and expertise of the supporters who helped promote engagement and shared their perspective in through their testimony.  Visit the videos of the ordinance readings and you will find some moving testimonies (full list of names and timings of their testimonies during the videos are listed at the very end of this piece): 

    We also tried to use earned media to push forward our perspective.  Here is a sample from IKEA Orlando:

    IKEA Supports Orlando’s Building Energy and Water Efficiency Strategy

    When it comes to creating a more sustainable planet, everyone must do their part to reevaluate business as usual and see what needs to change to make a better world. At IKEA we recognize a need to transform our business. To be able to fulfil future customer needs, promote equality and secure sustainable access to resources, while driving down emissions and maintaining our low prices, we need to do things differently. It’s no longer possible to use 20th century approaches to meet 21st century demands, which means we need to embrace the new, being bold, innovative and committed to taking action. It means taking many steps, both large and small, that, together, will have transformational impact.

    Here locally in Orlando, we are proud to support the Building Energy and Water Efficiency Strategy (BEWES) as a critical step necessary to transform Orlando into a leading sustainable city in the United States. This policy would require Orlando’s large commercial buildings (over 50,000 square feet), which are responsible for more than half of the city’s total water and electricity consumption, to benchmark that their energy and water use and make that information available to the public. IKEA practices benchmarking and finds it very valuable, and we want to hold ourselves accountable to the communities we serve by making our energy and water footprint clear and transparency. We will always work to make our buildings and products as energy and water efficient as possible.

    Similar policies have been passed in 16 other U.S. cities. This is a proven efficiency strategy that leadership cities have taken, and Orlando should join those ranks. By passing the BEWES, Orlando will attract even more corporations to the city that seek out Southeast locations that support more sustainability. Green business is good business, and will make the City Beautiful a more attractive choice.

    Alex Alaniz, Facilities Manager & Monica Bogstad, Store Manager, IKEA Orlando

    Next Up:  Implementation

    So now it is time for implementation of this ordinance!  The City of Orlando has set itself up for success with financing (PACE Program) and utility tools (rebates, free assessments, incentives and innovations by OUC), resources (Energy Star Portfolio Manager, green lease templates) and training (USGBC Central Florida has already hosted two free, sold-out Energy Star trainings supported through an Energy Foundation grant).  The deadlines for compliance are generous and the goals and targets are attainable if we all work together. 

    It is USGBC Florida’s goal to make compliance easy and knock success metrics out of the park for Orlando and the several other Floridian cities considering similar ordinances.

    If you would like more information on this topic, please contact Chris Castro, Director of Sustainability, City of Orlando (chris.castro@cityoforlando.net) and visit Orlando’s Green Works Program and/or Sarah Boren, Director of Policy and Programs, USGBC Florida (sboren@usgbcflorida.org)


    Mayor Buddy Dyer’s official signature on the BEWES ordinance

    • Initial Reading and Delay September 15, 2016 (BEWES content starts at 49:55); City presentation (49:55 – 1:26); Eric Rollings, Realtor (1:27 – 1:29); David Dunn, IFMA (1:29 – 1:31); Yulissa Arce, Organize Now (1:31 – 1:33); Scott Zimmerman, AGBM Property Manager (1:33 – 1:39); Michael Hess, USGBC Central Florida & Panasonic (1:39 – 1:42); Matesh Smart, ASHRAE Central Florida (1:42 – 1:46); Nate Boyd, ASHRAE Central Florida & Former Orlando Energy Manager (1:46 – 1:49); Bill Weinaug, exp (1:49 – 1:54); Jeff Benavides, 15 Lightyears, USGBC Central Florida & ASHRAE Central Florida (1:54 – 1:58); Matt Cox, GreenLink Group (1:58 – 2:00); Mike Aller, Energy Florida (2:01 – 2:05); Marty Sullivan, League of Women Voters Orange County (2:05 – 2:06); Clayton Ferrera, IDEAS for US (2:15 – 2:18); Delay/Table Discussion (2:48 – 3:01)
    • Formal First Reading of BEWES Ordinance November 14, 2016 (starts at 1:06 into the video); City presentation (1:06 – 1:27); Megan O’Neill, City of Atlanta Office of Sustainability (1:27 – 1:31); Leslie Cooke, U.S. EPA (1:31 – 1:37); Caroline Golan, GreenLink Group (1:37 – 1:44); Steve Beumer, Lutheran Church (1:52 – 1:56); Jim Fenton, UCF FSEC (1:56 – 2:00); Resham Shirsat, Valencia College (2:00 – 2:03); Ken LaRoe, First Green Bank (2:04 – 2:08); Clayton Ferrera, IDEAS for US (2:09 – 2:11); Penelope Canaan, UCF (2:12 – 2:16); Patti Riva, Valencia Collage (2:21 – 2:23); Rob Viera, UCF FSEC (2:26 – 2:29); Robert Phillips, Enervest Florida (2:32 – 2:33); Josephine Balzac, Environmental Attorney (2:39 – 2:42); Ivan Aron, Siemens (2:44 – 2:47); Patrick Hughes, National Electrical Manufacturers Association (2:47 – 2:50); Carol Davis, League of Women Voters Orange County (2:50 – 2:52); Marty Sullivan, League of Women Voters Orange County (2:52 – 2:54); Kathy Lawson, USGBC Central Florida (2:54 – 2:58); Michael Aller, Energy Florida (2:50 – 3:02); Mike McConnell, Colonial Properties REIT (3:02 – 3:04); Sarah Boren, USGBC Florida (3:05 – 3:09); Julio Rovi, Consultant (3:09 – 3:14); Michelle Suarez, Organize Now (3:14 – 3:15); Maria Bolton-Jobear, Sierra Club (3:16 – 3:19); David Dunn, IFMA (3:22 – 3:24); Chris Stager, City of Winter Park (3:24 – 3:26); Jim Callahan, Retired Resident (3:26 – 3:29); Eric Rollings, Soil & Water Conservation (3:29 – 3:32); Mayor & City Commissioners Discussion (3:32 – 4:12)
    • Formal Second Reading & Unanimous Passage of BEWES Ordinance December 5, 2016 (BEWES content starts at 39:33); Victor Rodriguez, Engineer Student at UCF (43:00 – 45:00); Rebecca McClane, Environmental Engineer Student at UCF (45:00 – 48:00); Susan Glickman, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (48:46 – 50:10); Ken LaRoe, First Green Bank (50:45 – 51:27); Sarah Boren, USGBC Florida (51:40 – 52:57); Deb Hall, Valencia College (53:20 – 54:08) $900k grant to start a new degree and training energy efficient professionals; Ryan Harrigon (55:00); Mary DeBoy, Resident of City of Winter Park (56:00); Chandra Kethi-Reddy, Industrial Engineering+ Student at UCF (56:50 – 58:38); Final vote and discussion (59:00 -- 1:08)

  • November 20, 2016 7:22 PM | Lee Cooke (Administrator)

    We're done voting. ‘Nuff said. It’s now profoundly and acutely up to us as representatives, champions and practitioners of sustainable businesses and organizations to carry a new economy forward with perseverance, fortitude and clarity of purpose.  

    Options, education opportunities and conversations are many, but I want to direct you to the upcoming Companies Versus Climate Change Conference in Fort Lauderdale, November 30 through December 2.

    Featuring ...

    • 21+ conversations. No really, we really do mean conversations.
    • 35+ speakers.
    • 200+ attendees.
    • Very few presentations.
    • Amazing GREENworking opportunities including an unconference on Day #3 to analyze and debrief all that we heard and saw.
    • A passionate community of thinkers and practitioners.

    Personally, I’m most excited about USGBC Florida joining hands with USGBC Puerto Rico to host a trendsetting panel on leading-edge sustainable urbanism. This discussion -- Urbanism 3.0! -- will be held Friday, December 2 at 9:30am. The OUTSTANDING panel (visit here) will focus on unveiling how cities in the USA and across the world, led by visionary businesses and local governments, can accelerate urban-scale solutions to climate change with unprecedented speed.

    There is zero debate that Florida is ground zero for the economic impacts of sea-level rise, with the greatest value of assets at risk in the world.  YOU need to be a part of this conversation.  I hope to see you on Friday morning, December 2 at the Hyatt Regency Pier 66!

    The logistics ...

    • Venue: Hyatt Regency at Pier Sixty-Six, Fort Lauderdale
    • Dates: Nov30 - Dec2
    • Website for more: solveclimatechange.com
  • August 04, 2016 9:58 AM | Sarah Boren (Administrator)

    USGBC Florida Launches New Website Full of Tools and Helpful Information

    BOCA RATON, FL - (August 4, 2016) -- The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Florida Chapter is pleased to announce the launch of its new website, www.usgbcflorida.org, as part of its recent merger. The website has extensive content for each of its seven Regions around the state and many new features and useful tools including a Florida bill tracker, LEED statistics, and resource links.

    USGBC Florida's new website contains comprehensive information for the individual, company or organization and community no matter if they are just starting their green building and sustainability journey or are advanced leaders in the field. The goal of the website is to connect people to what they want to know quickly and seamlessly.

    As part of its objective to provide high quality and critical information on the fast growing green building market, the nonprofit organization is proud to offer a blog platform to keep the community up-to-date on all that is happening in Florida regarding green building, sustainability and resiliency, as well as a forum platform where the community can ask questions, engage, discuss and collaborate to advance the movement. The website also provides real time data and statistics on LEED projects and accredited professionals in Florida.

    The new platform also serves as the first consolidated database of USGBC members, volunteers and contacts from around the State of Florida -- nearly 20,000 such contacts. Seven formal Regions' activities and calendars sync in the single platform to provide statewide and local coverage, focus and voice.

    "I look forward to watching this website harness the amazing passion and energy of our members and volunteers, as well as to how it will leverage and advocate for better buildings, including the expansion of LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, the world's most widely used green building rating system," said Mike Hess, Chair, USGBC Florida. "This website will make it easier for Florida residents to adopt green practices, find out about how they can get engaged, and what is happening at a state and local level."

    The new website was designed with help from Nicasio LLC.

    About the U.S. Green Building Council Florida Chapter 

    The USGBC Florida Chapter is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan organization whose vision and mission is to achieve a sustainable State and green buildings for all in Florida within this generation through open, transparent, and collaborative education, leadership, and action.  With seven regions, 1,500+ members, 11,000+LEED Accredited Professionals, 1,250+ LEED certified buildings covering over 115 million square feet, and an additional 243 million square feet of LEED registered projects in the pipeline, the Chapter is affecting market transformation, sustainable change, connecting people and businesses to local talent, products, and services, and by creating demand for green building is in return creating jobs.  www.usgbcflorida.org

  • July 17, 2016 8:17 AM | Sarah Boren (Administrator)

    USGBC Florida hosted the annual USGBC Convergence gathering in Jacksonville, FL this June.  It was a huge success in bringing 400+ of the USGBC family together to build capacity and further advance the green building movement.  

    Here are some quick highlights and photos:

    • Video of USGBC Florida Board Chair, Mike Hess, welcoming the crowd to Florida, sharing a few Florida initiatives, and some poignant moments about recent incidents in Orlando.
    • Recap video by USGBC of Convergence
    • Photo gallery 
    • Statistics
      • 400+ people attended
      • Eight Community Sustainability Service Projects completed
      • Great party at Jessie Ball duPont Fund (225+ people)
      • Many connections and memories made!
    Many, many thanks to our sponsors of the USGBC Florida Convergence party:
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