Manatee Earns Green Building First



Manatee County this month became the first county in Florida to earn Platinum certification from the Florida Green Building Coalition. A ceremony last week marked the culmination of years pursuing the recognition, said Manatee County Energy Manager Diana Robinson. “The advantage is showing the community we are in fact being good stewards of the planet,” Robinson says.

The move marked a significant leap for the county, which in 2011 earned Silver certification from the coalition and by 2014 chief Gold level requirements. Robinson said as the county sought recertification, the Green Team realized it could achieve the highest available certification.

CJ Davila, FGBC executive director, presented the certification at a formal ceremony last week in Bradenton. “This achievement demonstrates the county's commitment to protect and conserve the community’s natural resources, enhance the efficiency of government thus reducing the cost to taxpayers and raise public awareness about the benefits of environmental stewardship,” Davila said.

"Manatee County’s platinum certification demonstrates tremendous leadership," added FGBC President Jeremy Nelson. "The mission to achieve the highest plateau of sustainability and environmental stewardship has challenged communities to move faster and reach further than ever before, and Manatee’s dedication serves as a prime example of just how much can be accomplished." 

The certification program itself has only offered any recognition so far to 68 municipalities in the state of Florida, within another 20 now seeking certification.

Among the programs noted by the FGBC in Manatee: the county’s use of an energy efficient downtown chiller plant, a transition to single-stream recycling and the promotion of such events as the Manatee Libraries’ Teen Recycled Fashion Show.

Robinson over the past few years has expanded the team of staff dedicated to green practices. Notably, Michelle Powers, once an intern in Robinson’s department, has risen to the level of Manatee County Energy and Sustainability coordinator. Just funding such a position assists in achieving Platinum certification. Meanwhile, the county has also slashed energy costs at the Lena Road Landfill and launched a number of sustainability programs recognized by the FGBC.

Photo courtesy Manatee County: Manatee County Energy Manager Diana Robinson, Florida Green Building Coalition Executive Director C.J. Davila and FGBC board member Peggy Christ at a recent ceremony in Bradenton.

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