Tampa to join other Florida Cities promoting Green Buildings by Mitch E. Perry

04/20/06

Last summer a forum on defining “Green� or environmentally friendly buildings was held in downtown Tampa…One of those impressed by the presentation, sponsored by the group BEST and the Downtown Partnership–– was City Council woman Linda Saul-Sena, who said she hoped to bring some of the concepts discussed that day back to the Council.

8 months later, the City is finally going to work on exploring environmentally friendly buildings for the City of Tampa.

Today Liz Taylor of the Green Ribbon Coalition, a group of business, political and environmental leaders working to promote sustainable practices, came before the Council. The Coalition met for the first time last week with city officials about their ideas (roll tape#1 o.q.�building practices�)

Taylor said she also hopes that the City will create incentives for private developers (roll tape#2 o.q.�a new director of sustainability�)

St Petersburg City Council members passed a Green Cities resolution last summer- which created a system of seeing how various city departments are doing in terms of conservating water and energy.

But Sarasota is considered to be in the vanguard when it comes to promoting Green Buildings…The county passed a Green Building Ordinance last year, which mandates that all public buildings be built to green building standards, and provides incentives for private developers to do the same.

Taylor said Sarasota County built an office complex that uses 30% less water and 40% less energy than a traditionally designed building.

Sarasota also requires that anyone who gets county money for affordable housing build those homes to green standards….

Joseph Narkiewicz is Executive Vice President of the Tampa Bay Builders Association. He says not only does his organization support Green Buildings, but says they played a part in starting up the Florida Green Building Coalition.

He was asked City Councilman John Dingfelder if incentives offered by the City – such as fast tracking permits for those developers who build green - would be welcomed by his association ..Narkiewicz says the issue is more with homebuyers, not developers(roll tape#3 o.q.�more than anything�)

But back to the question - Joseph Narkiewicz from the Tampa Bay Builders Association says that incentives are okay – as long as they’re not designed as another form of regulations (roll tape#4 o.q.�etcetera….�)

As for what makes a Green Building, a standard was created in the 1990’s by the U.S. Green Building Council – LEED – which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. According to the NY Times , approximately 450 buildings in the US have been certified LEED standards, while around 3,600 have registered for such status.

Councilman John Dingfelder waxed nostalgic while referring back to his college days when Green Buildings were first being introduced (roll tape#5 o.q.�and other type of these issues�)

Linda Saul Sena suggested that the Green Building Coalition include The Tampa Bay Builders Association in their discussions with the City working on specifics…And she wants the Green Building Council to report back to the Council in June.

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