Green building standards serve as benchmarks for sustainable construction and development performance. They are usually part of larger education and certification programs. In Fort Lauderdale, we recommend learning more about the FGBC certification, LEED certification, and a variety of other standards respected worldwide.
Be aware that obtaining certification may have fiscal and operational benefits, but that it can be very costly to attain in both time and money. The City of Fort Lauderdale applauds those developers, project managers and property owners who have gone the extra mile and invested in certification. However, even when budgets do not allow for the certification process, utilizing the standards mentioned here as construction and renovation guides helps our City to achieve our sustainability goals.
Florida Green Building Coalition (FGBC) Certification
South Florida's low elevation, porous geology, semi-tropical climate and seaside location present unique challenges for the property owner. Humidity, abundant and strong sunshine, salty air, and an array of unusual insects and animals demand special consideration. That is why the first source of green building standards that any Fort Lauderdale property owner should look to are those created especially for Florida. The FGBC Certification serves this purpose.
Certification standards exist for homes, commercial buildings, high-rise projects and land development, as well as for local governments. Projects earn points for meeting each standard and can earn additional points for innovation. Based on the number of points earned, a level of certification is awarded. The City of Fort Lauderdale has achieved FGBC Gold.
If you are looking for ways to incorporate sustainable elements into your new construction or renovation, then you could consider applying for this certification or at least using the standards as a guide. It is important to note that if you are applying for a one of the FGBC designations, standards or policies required by the FGBC do comply with the South Florida Building Code (SFBC), however following standards set by the FGBC does not cover everything in the Code. It is necessary to cross-check the SFBC policies and standards and ensure that they are followed first.
Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED®) Certification
LEED is a green building certification program developed and administered by the U.S. Green Building Council. It is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. Operating on a point-based rating system; it addresses multiple project types including: Homes, Neighborhood Development, Building Operations and Maintenance, Interior Design and Construction, and Building Design and Construction. The rating system works similar to others in that a project earns points for satisfying specific green building criteria, and based on the amount of points earned, is awarded one of four levels of certification.
Becoming LEED certified or simply building to LEED standards produces benefits to you as well as the environment. LEED certified buildings are efficient in their construction and also energy efficient in operation, therefore tend to utilize fewer scarce resources in the construction phase and cost less to operate. LEED buildings also retain higher property values, have faster lease-up rates and may qualify for various incentives including tax rebates and zoning allowances.
Please keep in mind that LEED standards are national standards and do have a chance of conflicting with the SFBC. Where conflicts exist, the SFBC shall govern construction in Fort Lauderdale.
Other Green Building Standards
There are five additional green building standards which are generally accepted in the United States. Each has its merits and all should be explored if you are thinking about any certification. The last two listed here are mandatory, mainly for specific types of commercial and high-rise buildings, and the others are voluntary. Green Globes is utilized worldwide. You can get more information on each by clicking on the links provided.
- Green Globes™
- The International Living Future Institute's Living Building Challenge™
- ICC 700-2012: 2012 National Green Building Standard
- International Code Council's 2012 International Green Construction Code
- ANSI/ASHRAE/USGBC/IES Standard 189.1-2011: Standard for the Design of High-Performance Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings