200th building in South Florida obtains LEED certification

Because we so often work with commercial real estate clients, we keep an eye out for news related to the Orlando real estate industry.

That's how we heard about this milestone: Last week, the 200th building in South Florida was certified under the LEED program.

LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is commonly accepted as the standard against which the environmental consciousness of a building is measured.

LEED-certified buildings commonly have characteristics like designs that maximize energy efficiencies, carpeting and paint formulated to have minimal impact on the environment, low-consumption lighting and water fixtures, etc.

Many people think that environmentally conscious design is expensive. While it may be true that it costs more up front in design and construction costs, many construction and real estate experts believe it can actually save money over the long run. LEED certification has actually become more popular among government and high-end clients, for example, because those entities are seeking buildings that will have lower overhead costs over their lifespans. LEED certification can also be used as a selling point for eco-conscious tenants or buyers.

Interestingly enough, there has been a little backlash against LEED. Becoming certified is quite expensive (up to 3 percent of building costs) and can take up to a year to complete. Some building owners are not willing to commit to such an expensive, lengthy process. For example, Progresss Point Apartments in Ft. Lauderdale chose instead to seek certification from the Florida Green Building Coalition. That group, based in Tallahassee, is a nonprofit and has tweaked its LEED-like standards to better meet the demands of Florida's unique climate.

Source: The South Florida Sun Sentinel, "Celebrating a milestone in eco-friendly construction," Doreen Hemlock and Cindy Kent, Dec. 21, 2012

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