University of Florida “Exporting” Green Building to the Surrounding Community

Thanks to my Dad for pointing out this piece from Saturday’s Gainesville Sun detailing green building projects on-campus at the University of Florida, and how the idea’s spreading to other building projects in Gainesville:

The university has more than a dozen buildings with green features, including Rinker Hall, home to the School of Building Construction. Now a university professor is helping export the practice off campus in the proposed development at city Parking Lot 10.

Green building means environmentally and socially beneficial features ranging from energy-efficient materials to locating buildings near public transportation, said Charles Kibert, director of UF’s Powell Center for Construction and Environment and an advisor on the Lot 10 project.

“It’s all part of a bigger picture,” he said.

Lot 10’s developers have committed to green building in the proposal for the 12-story residential and commercial project. Orienting the building to maximize the daylight that shines inside, installing energy efficient appliances and landscaping the property with drought-resistant plants are among possible green features mentioned in the proposal.

“It costs money to do it,” said Barney Danzansky, president of the company developing the project. “But if it’s better for the planet, better for the environment and better for the people that live there, it’s a better project.”

Kibert said incorporating green features can boost the cost of a project 7 percent or more. The city of Gainesville offers incentives to help offset those initial costs, such as hastening approval of green buildings to eight days and reducing permit fees by half.

Unfortunately, the city hasn’t found many takers for its incentives. Kibert attributes that to initially higher costs, but goes on to detail the tangible and intangible benefits that come from green building. “The paybacks really are staggering,’ he said.”

On a personal note, Dad found this article because he and my mother are camping out at my sister’s while waiting for Lake Charles to open back up, even if for just enough time to take a look at the damage and gather some belongings. Fortunately, they’ve gotten word that their house received relatively minimal damage from Rita. We’re all thinking about you, folks…!

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