Charlotte County Retains ‘Florida Green’ Certification

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PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. – The Florida Green Building Coalition (FGBC), the leading certifier of green projects in the state, recently honored Charlotte County for maintaining their Bronze Level certification under its “Florida Green” Local Government Certification Program.

“Charlotte County is committed to protecting our natural resources and preserving our beautiful county. Our goal of a more sustainable future is driven by our Mission, to be the energy in making this a beautiful and enriching place to live, and by our Stewardship Vision: being committed to being good stewards of our resources,” noted Julia C. Galofre, Building Code and Sustainability Specialist.

FGBC Executive Director C.J. Davila presented the award at a county commission meeting earlier this month in Port Charlotte. Since the local program was launched, 68 Florida municipalities have achieved certification, with 20 others registered and in the process of certification.

Charlotte County Government was certified after demonstrating a county-wide commitment to green practices. The FGBC’s standard presents a comprehensive list of criteria organized in terms of local government department roles. It focuses on improving environmental performance through energy, water, air, land, and waste.

“The designation demonstrates a strong commitment by Charlotte County elected officials to embrace the tenants of sustainability, while also helping to better manage the cost of government,” Davila said.

The standard not only serves to evaluate the current level of sustainability, but also is used as a process to improve performance, increase productivity and save money and other resources in governmental operations.

“Their leadership helps protect and conserve our natural resources, enhance the efficiency of government, and raise public awareness about the benefits of environmental stewardship,” said FGBC President Jeremy Nelson. “We applaud their dedication and commitment to the important ideals outlined in the ‘Florida Green’ program.”

The criteria evaluate environmental practices done “in-house”, incentives and ordinances to foster sustainability, educational activities to improve the environment, developing of local government energy reduction plans, instituting an environmentally preferable purchasing program, utilizing green fleet management, working with water utilities to promote conservation and other benchmarks.

“This program is an opportunity for local governments to establish sustainable practices that can be carried out on a systematic basis, and sets in motion a process that will extend beyond election terms and protect the community for years to come,” Davila said.

The term “sustainability” is used in Charlotte County to describe activities that include, but are not limited to efficient energy use, increased economic opportunities, improved environmental protection or restoration efforts, and smart growth that promotes livable communities.

In addition to the commitment to sustainability and the environment, a Green Building Program has been developed to help the county become a more sustainable community by reducing the environmental impact of buildings, and promoting economic and environmental health in the County. The program is designed to encourage environmentally sensitive construction and development.

FGBC’s Green Local Government Certification program is the only one of its type in the state and is endorsed by the Florida Legislature, the Florida League of Cities and the Florida League of Mayors. The program is performance based, not prescriptive, and all the certified governments have found that many of their existing programs and policies contributed to the point total needed for certification.

The Florida Green Building Coalition is an independent non-profit organization that was established in 2000 to promote green building in Florida. FGBC’s membership is comprised of individuals and businesses from all areas of the building industry including research, design, materials, products, construction, inspection, marketing, finance and sales.

For more information on “Florida Green” contact the Florida Green Building Coalition at (407) 777-4920, e-mail C.J. Davila at cdavila@floridagreenbuilding.org or visit www.floridagreenbuilding.org.

PHOTO: Julia C. Galofre, Charlotte County Building Code and Sustainability Specialist, and Florida Green Building Coalition Executive Director J.J. Davila at the Charlotte County Board of Commissioner’s meeting.