the challenge: greening the built environment
Moving from the LEED to the Living Building?
Charging stations for electric vehicles at First Green Bank's Mt. Dora branch.
In 2012 FGB built its headquarters in Mt. Dora to meet LEED Platinum standards. Later the Winter Park branch's renovation achieved LEED Gold and net-zero energy. The bank is now seeking to raise the bar on its own green building standards. Inspired by the Bullitt Center in Seattle, the world's greenist commercial building, the bank plans to construct a new facility for its Clermont branch that goes well beyond LEED, with the goal of achieving the strictest standards of International Living Building Institute certification.
First Green Bank’s headquarters in Mt Dora is currently only the seventh privately owned commercial building in the state of Florida to achieve LEED Platinum certification. The branch is sited on over 37,000 square feet of forested open space exceeding LEED standards by almost 400 percent, and features 100 percent recyclable structured steel studs. Reflective roofing materials and vegetation along with light-colored, permeable paving in the parking lot reduce the heat island effect. The parking area and vegetated roof were constructed to ensure that no storm water runoff carrying nonpoint source pollution escapes into ground water or waterways. LED parking lot lights are designed not to compete with the night sky and with respect for the habits of nocturnal animals. Rooftop solar provides 17 percent of operating energy. Free electric charging stations are installed in the parking lot, and carpools and alternative fuel vehicles get preferred parking spaces. The employee gym houses reclaimed exercise equipment.
When First Green Bank renovated the interior of its Winter Park Branch to LEED Gold standards, it chose many of the Mt. Dora branch’s green building design enhancements. In addition, oak trees from the original site were milled and installed as flooring and ceiling accents, and solar power provides for 69 percent of the building’s energy needs. Green renovations to First Green Bank’s Orlando branch now meet LEED Silver standards.
In late 2014, Stuart Cowan and First Green Bank CEO Ken LaRoe were introduced through the Year in the Life project. Stuart challenged Ken to raise the bar further on his green building targets. What if, he wondered, one of First Green Bank’s developers could be persuaded to build a “living building” like Seattle’s Bullitt Building, a building even "greener" than LEED? Stuart had been on the team that helped prove out the longer-term financial value of that ambitious, deeply green commercial building project and he was eager to see other developers across the country replicate the Bullitt model.
Inspired by Stuart’s description of Seattle’s Bullit Center, Ken is now exploring the possibility of constructing Florida's first-ever Living Building when he relocates First Green Bank's Clermont branch.
More on Seattle's Bullitt Center
In April 2015 the Bullitt Center became the first office building to earn Living Building certification, achieving the highest level of sustainability in the built environment. The Center meets extraordinarily rigorous standards — including energy and water self-sufficiency.
The following features of the building were incorporated to meet the International Living Building Challenge: .
BULLITT CENTER RESOURCE GUIDE:
Financial Case for Living Building (Executive Summary)
Financial Case for Living Building (Full case study)