Florida has lagged the burgeoning national ‘green building trend’, but is now poised to go mainstream.
Maybe it was soaring home energy bills, or the cost of filling up at the pump. Maybe we finally got the message about global warming. Maybe it was sustainable but handsome materials, like cork and bamboo flooring. Maybe we finally care about indoor air quality. Now consumers routinely expect energy-efficient homes packed with insulation; Energy Star appliances; building materials that don’t fill our homes with noxious chemicals; natural fibers and materials. We feel good about buying green; and we’re willing to pay more upfront to save later.
Further evidence of the trend – The National Association of Home Builders headquarters in Washington is a “green” building. And the Color Marketing Group, which specifies colors for everything from Cadillacs to Kleenex boxes, says, “The mainstreaming of environmentalism is the key” to 2007′s colors: green, blue, brown, warm red and orange. In addition to saving natural resources and money, many companies have also realized that green buildings can be healthier for the people who work or live in them.
Until recently, Florida has lagged a growing national green-building trend. Many states have dozens of buildings certified under the U.S. Green Building Council’s ”Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Program”. This LEED program is the national standard for commercial structures. By contrast, there are only 10 LEED-certified buildings in Florida.
The Florida Green Building Coalition also offers green-building designations, including one for homes, which are not yet covered by LEED.
But now, green building is poised to go mainstream. Since December 2004, the number of Florida commercial projects seeking LEED certification rose from 30 to 133. Last year, the Florida Home Builders Association agreed to adopt the standards set forth by the Florida Green Building Coalition, a non-profit organization that has worked for years to create rigorous practices, including for houses.
Homebuyers are increasingly concerned about the impact their homes have on the environment. This has led to an upsurge in green home products and, naturally, to green homes. NAR’s website has has numerous links to different articles, websites and additional resources.
The Promenade at Lyons is a 23-acre mixed-use project that will bring upscale shopping, living and working venues to the city of Coconut Creek and create one of South Florida’s most progressive, environmentally-friendly centers. The Promenade at Lyons will feature more than 50 retail tenants, including Ann Taylor Loft, Banana Republic, Brighton, Chico’s, Coldwater Creek, Jos A Banks, and Limited Too, New York & Company, SOMA, Starbucks, Talbots, and White House Black Market.
Developer Brown Hill Development , along with its retail partner Stanbery Development, have received final approval for the design and development and are in the process of obtaining LEED certification, which requires that the project meet strict guidelines to promote and ensure environmentally responsible design.
The Promenade at Lyons is the first project to be completed within the city’s proposed downtown and is located on a portion of the largest undeveloped land parcel in Broward County at the corner of Lyons Road and Wiles Road. It will include approximately 250,000-square-feet of shopping and restaurants, up to 125,000 square-feet of office space, and up to 450 residential units. Construction will begin with the open-air shopping, restaurant and office components in fall 2007.
It will be one of the first major developments to be awarded LEED certification in the Southeast United States. Additionally, the newly designated downtown in Coconut Creek may become one of the first planned and zoned contiguous areas in the country to be named a ‘LEED district.’