A first in Tampa: 'Green' building
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04/04/08 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Friday | Listen to this entire show:

Tampa finally has its first green building that will achieve LEED certification. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is the sustainable building accreditation standard.

The building opened Monday on West Kennedy Boulevard and is the new home of the marketing company Walker Brands.

Nancy Walker, owner and president of Walker Brands, said one of her favorite sustainable design elements of the building is the recycled content, especially the pine floor.

Because the building is so new, it still has not been certified by LEED, but based on the new construction sustainability credits – or green features – Walker expects that it will get either the basic or LEED Silver certification.

LEED certification operates on a point system and one of the points that Walker says the building will earn deals with teaching others about green buildings.

Walker started planning the building with Beck Construction two years ago. Construction took 10 months and cost just over $2-million.

David DeVaney is a project manager with Beck Construction. He is a LEED Accredited Professional and oversaw the design and construction. DeVaney told WMNF about the water-saving features of the building.

The building uses 46 percent less water than other buildings its size. That exceeds even LEED’s requirements. It also uses 20 percent less energy, because of a reflective roof and other features, DeVaney said.

LEED accreditation was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council in 2000. On Thursday, Walker Brands received an Award of Excellence in the Green Building category at the Planning Commission’s Community Design Awards ceremony. DeVaney said he’s “extremely proud” of building the first LEED-certified building in Tampa and he hopes others will follow suit.

Large windows fill the two-story building with natural light, which doesn’t just cut down on electricity use, but also gives the building a spacious feel.

Nancy Walker said that during construction they ran into permitting trouble because city staff did not have experience with permits for green construction.

Tampa City Council member John Dingfelder says the city should be flexible. City Council has proposed a series of ordinances and resolutions with incentives for green building. Dingfelder said that the green ordinances were sent to the legal department a month ago and he anticipates workshops later in April.

Learn more:

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design

U.S. Green Building Council

Walker Brands’ green building

Beck Construction

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