How to Build Green
The City of Clearwater encourages developers to consider pursuing LEED certification in their buildings. LEED is an established, recognizable brand of building, and it stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. LEED, or green, building is achieved through established standards that are expanding into a variety of development circumstances. To build a LEED building, developers must apply for the certification in advance, submit appropriate plans, go through the commissioning (or audit) process, and maintain that certification once it is received.
The era of stable, inexpensive energy seems to have ended. Steep fluctuations in the cost of energy make it difficult for municipalities, individuals and business entities to budget accurately. Reducing energy costs as a percentage of overall operating and capital budgets minimizes fiscal impacts and uncertainty.
LEED currently offers programs for Commercial Interiors, Core & Shell, New Construction, Schools, Hospitals, Laboratories, and Homes. Programs for Retail and Neighborhood Development are currently in pilot. There are currently four LEED certification levels: Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum. LEED certification is a credible third party source that provides measurable accountability.
LEED offers cost management tools. Public sensitivity, awareness and acceptance of the need for energy policy by various levels of government are at high levels because of media attention.
LEED complements and supports these goals:
- Sustainable Community
- Smart Growth and Transportation Growth Management
- Healthy Citizens
- Waste Management – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
- Local and Regional Market Development for green industry
- Energy Use Policies and Management
- Open Space, Resource Land Management
LEED Program Summary
There are currently four LEED achievement levels: Certified, Silver, Gold, or Platinum.
LEED points are achieved by fulfilling specific accreditations in the following categories:
- Sustainable Sites
- Water Efficiency
- Energy and Atmosphere
- Materials and Resource Selection
- Indoor Environmental Quality
- Innovation and Design Process
In efforts to enhance the sustainability and environmental feasibility of the infrastructure in Clearwater, the City of Clearwater encourages developers to seek LEED achievement levels in their building plans.
Critical factors for successful LEED implementation include the following:
- Citizen acceptance and buy-in of plan
- Business sector acceptance and buy-in
- City Council adopts enabling legislation
- County, State and Federal Government acceptance and support
- Stable or increased property values
- Decreased energy costs
- Equal or nominal (< 3%) increase in construction costs
- Market acceptance, leading to market preference
- Lower unit cost of government per dwelling unit
Implementing LEED standards in a new, green building produces quantifiable, measurable benefits:
- Reduced water consumption and sewer usage
- Street infrastructure
- Energy savings with a reduction in carbon footprint
Brownfields Sites & Building Incentives
The growing green sector of the economy covers everything from green building construction to brownfields environmental site assessments, asbestos abatement, to brownfields cleanup. Clearwater has moved aggressively to receive $4.3 million in brownfields grant funding from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), State of Florida, and other agencies.
The Brownfields Program is administered through the Economic Development & Housing Department. More than 70 private sector projects and 17 City-related projects have used the brownfields source of grant funds.
Learn more about the city's brownfields program and completed project site
The City of Clearwater's Economic Development and Housing Department is working with partner organizations to promote the Green Lodging benefits to Clearwater's hotel/motel industry.
The Florida Green Lodging Program was established in 2004 by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) with the intent of recognizing and rewarding environmentally conscientious lodging facilities and their operators in the state. The lodging industry is one of Florida's largest commercial sectors. In 2005, according to research conducted by VISIT FLORIDA, 83.6 million people visited Florida. The City of Clearwater attracts around 900,000 visitors annually. With this many visitors, the lodging industry can have a significant and positive impact on Florida's natural resources. Properties of all sizes and types are encouraged to join the program.
Three of the most significant benefits that a facility earns when it becomes designated with the Florida Green Lodging Program are:
- Saving Money and Reducing Utility Costs
- Marketing to a New Audience
- Free Advertising
To learn more about Green Lodging, visit www.dep.state.fl.us/greenlodging or call the Economic Development and Housing Department at (727) 562-4024.
Green Building Resources