August 25 LEED Case Study: Barnett Tower Historical Building

One advantage to our current virtual environment is that we can attend events like this no matter where we are! The U.S. Green Building Council – Florida is hosting a LEED Case Study of the Barnett Tower historical building in Jacksonville, Florida and you are invited!

Learn how the 1926 Barnett Tower was transformed into a LEED-certified, mixed-use facility 

The Barnett Tower, originally built in 1926, was the main headquarters of Barnett National Bank, which was at that time the largest commercial bank in the state of Florida. Until the erection of the Aetna Building in 1954, the 18-story, 223 ft (68m) tall Barnett Building, nestled in Jacksonville’s urban core, laid claim to being the tallest building in the North Florida region. The Owners’ decision to rehabilitate the building came with significant challenges, but also with a great opportunity to contribute to the revitalization of Jacksonville’s historic downtown.

LEED Case Study: Barnett Tower Historical Building

When: August 25 from 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m.
Where: Online event
Credits: 1 GBCI LEED Specific BD+C, 1 AIA LU/HSW


  • Ryan Fryman | PE, LEED AP BD+C, CxA, Principal, TLC Engineering Solutions
  • Mark Gelfo | PE, LEED Fellow, CxA, EMP, Principal, TLC Engineering Solutions


11:25 p.m. | Webinar opens
11:30 p.m. | Program begins
11:45 p.m. | Presentation
12:40 p.m. | Q&A and discussion
1:00 p.m. | Webinar closes

Connect with USGBC Florida

Follow USGBC Florida on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

Connect with USGBC Miami

Follow USGBC Miami on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

USGBC Video: A Day in the Life of LEED

The U.S. Green Building Concil invites you to “discover all of the places where you experience LEED – from your home and local school to where you work and where you play. LEED spaces are everywhere, and there’s a LEED rating system for every type of building project.”

“A Day in the Life of LEED” follows several people through their day to explore some of the features that make a building green:

  • Daylighting
  • Low-VOC materials
  • Thermal comfort controls
  • Indoor water use reduction
  • Acoustic performance
  • Quality views
  • Transit access
  • Open space
  • Preferred parking for electric vehicles
  • Design for active occupants
  • On-site renewable energy sources: solar
  • Water-efficient landscaping
  • Recycled materials
  • Daylight control
  • Lighting controls
  • Solid waste management
  • Energy-efficient appliances

For more information about LEED and the U.S. Green Building Council

Miami Awarded LEED for Cities & Communities Grant

The City of Miami just announced that our magic city has been selected by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to receive a LEED for Cities and Communities grant.

The City recognizes that the next generation of green building must focus on the development of smart cities and resilient communities, and this certification will allow Miami to demonstrate leadership among cities and communities advancing a sustainable, healthy, and equitable way of life.

City of Miami press release

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council in 1993 to help define “green building” by establishing a common standard of measurement and to promote integrated, publicly reviewed, whole-building design practices. Since then, LEED has grown from one standard for new construction to a comprehensive system of standards covering all aspects of the development and construction process.

In 2016, the USGBC introduced two new certification programs in – LEED for Cities and LEED for Communities (collectively referred to as “LEED v4.1 for Cities and Communities”). “These programs are helping cities and communities develop responsible, sustainable and specific plans for energy, water, waste, transportation and many other factors that contribute to quality of life.”

The U.S. Green Building Council received $500,000 Bank of America Charitable Foundation for the “LEED for Cities and Communities Grant Program” to support local governments pursuing certification under the LEED for Cities and Communities rating system. Each grant package includes:

  • One annual USGBC Silver membership;
  • LEED for Cities and Communities registration and certification;
  • Access to the Arc reporting platform to encourage city/county continuous improvement and ability to explore opportunities for managed/owned affordable housing units;
  • A two-day, in-person orientation workshop with other selected communities for two local government officials/staff;
  • One registration to attend the Greenbuild Conference and Expo and the Communities and Affordable Homes Summit in Atlanta in November 2019
  • Access to online education resources, USGBC technical assistance and monthly conference calls.

This partnership presents a tremendous opportunity to bolster the City’s sustainability agenda, take stock of where we stand now on sustainability and establish a baseline that we can measure against as we move forward. Congratulations to our Office of Resilience and Sustainability for securing this invaluable opportunity for the City to work directly with USBGC professionals to make Miami more sustainable.

Miami City Manager Emilio T. Gonzalez

701 Brickell Avenue Re-certified LEED Gold

701 Brickell Avenue, a 33-floor office building in the Brickell Financial District, has earned its Gold level re-certification for “LEED 2009 Existing Buildings Operations and Maintenance”.

701 Brickell Avenue Miami re-certified LEED Gold - Miami Urban Green
701 Brickell Avenue, Miami, FL (photo courtesy: Daniel Christensen – CC BY-SA 3.0 Wikipedia)

701 Brickell was originally built in 1986, and is currently owned by TIAA–CREF. It contains 677,677 rentable square feet of Class A office space. The lobby soars 38-feet with floor-to-ceiling windows; and the building includes electric vehicle car charging stations, a 10,000 square foot, tenant-only fitness center, a cafe, convenience store, hair salon, a full service car wash, shoe shine service, dry cleaners, and a flower shop.

A chart showing the points accumulated in each category for the LEED O+M Gold certification

The LEED (Leadership in Engineering and Environmental Design) for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance rating system is a tool for greening existing buildings, and identifies and rewards best practices and measures environmental achievement. LEED also provides an outline for how buildings can use less energy, water and fewer natural resources; improve the indoor environment; and uncover operating inefficiencies.

Ashley Katz, communications coordinator for the U.S. Green Building Council

According to TLC Engineering Solutions, the firm hired to assist with 701 Brickell’s 2013 re-certification:

The 25-year-old Miami high-rise had a history of operational excellence, consistently reaching ENERGY STAR goals; the building was one of the few in ASHRAE Zone 1 with insulated glass and the water-cooled chilled water system already contributed to significant energy savings. Goals for enhancing the building and becoming LEED certified included reduced operating costs, improved marketability and a desirable indoor environmental quality for tenants.

701 Brickell was originally certified “LEED EB O&M v2009 Gold” in 2010, re-certified in 2013, and now again on October 31, 2018. 701 Brickell was also awarded the U.S. Green Building Council’s “Best of Building Award, Best LEED O+M” in 2014.

Contracts for Sustainable Construction Projects are Unique

600 Brickell in Miami, certified LEED Platinum

Interesting article from Mark Stempler in the March 9 issue of the Daily Business Review. Noting that “sustainable building is booming in Florida”, he discusses some of the unique considerations that should be addressed in the contract for these types of ventures.

Contracts for sustainable projects, however, are often not tailored to address the many issues and nuances that can appear with these types of projects. Whether the project is a new construction or renovations or retrofitting, a sustainability-focused contract is the best way to prevent problems later on.

The contract should be as specific about the project’s green goal

Simply using terms like green building, sustainable building or high-performing building are not enough because it is unclear what the precise goal is. For example, if a project is aimed at reducing a building’s electricity costs by a certain percentage range, that goal should be identified in the contract. In addition, an owner may require a third-party green rating certification like LEED. Which rating system and which level within that system is sought to be achieved should be identified so everyone knows what is expected.

Alternatives to Performance Guarantees

Mark outlines why project guarantees can be problematic in a sustainable building project, and suggests performance bonuses as a possible alternative.

Mark J. Stempler, Becker & Poliakoff, West Palm Beach (photo courtesy: Daily Business Review)

An alternative to a guaranty is a performance bonus or bonuses based on the certification or performance levels achieved. In other words, a contract will describe a base fee for services on the project and then allow for additional compensation depending on level of certification the building gets or based on the level of performance of the building after occupancy.

The “green” building industry is growing rapidly.

In 2016, the Sunshine State ranked fourth in the number of LEED certified projects in the U.S. at 204, according to the U.S. Green Building Council. Florida now is home to more than 1,400 LEED-certified projects. LEED, short for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the world’s most widely used sustainable or green building rating system.

With that kind of growth, Mark’s recommendations are important and timely. To read more, here is a link to the Daily Business Review article, “Potential for Twists and Turns in Contracts for Sustainable Building”

Mark J. Stempler is a shareholder with Becker & Poliakoff in West Palm Beach. He is board-certified in construction law and is certified as a LEED green associate, and focuses his practice in the areas of construction law, government law and bid protests, and civil litigation. He may be reached at

Melanie Dawn Molina Wood is a Miami native currently living in the historic downtown district. She has earned her LEED Green Associate accreditation, the NAR GREEN designation, and an Eco-broker credential. She is also a proud member of the US Green Building Council, and a member of the Sierra Club. For more information about sustainability in Miami, or to connect with a real estate agent anywhere in the world, contact Melanie Dawn by text/phone at 305.801.3133, or by email at

Meet GaïaMa Miami

There is a very special green-certified home on the market in Miami – GaïaMa in Biscayne Park.

More than just a green home, GaïaMa integrates the very best smart house technology into a low-impact, sustainable, & healthy home. Modern open floor plan with high ceilings, lots of natural light, polished concrete floors in the living areas & warm wood (FSC-certified) in the bedrooms. Kitchen features high-efficiency appliances, built-in breakfast counter & a living wall. GaïaMa is certified LEED Platinum with low-e, impact resistant windows, solar-energy system, air & water filtration & so much more.

Projects pursuing LEED certification earn points across several areas that address sustainability issues. Based on the number of points achieved, a project then receives one of four LEED rating levels: Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum

Designed and built by developer Urbaneco, GaïaMa achieved LEED Platinum BD+C: Homes (v2008) with 114.5 points in June 2015. Buildings can qualify for one of four levels of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification:

  • Certified: 40–49 points
  • Silver: 50-59 points
  • Gold: 60-79 points
  • Platinum: 80 points and above

GaïaMa is in the top 2% energy efficient homes in the country, and has a negative HERS score of -4. This means that, on average, GaïaMa produces more energy that it uses. How?

Freedom from the Electric Bill

To achieve its impressive Home Energy Rating System (HERS) score, GaïaMa starts with a cutting edge technology called Insulating Concrete Form (ICF). ICF is a system of interlocking modular units that are dry-stacked then filled with concrete. The resulting walls are energy efficient, more resistant to hurricanes and tornadoes than standard CBS construction, and fire resistant. ICF construction also improves indoor air quality and sound absorption.

The house also features low-E, double-paned, impact resistant exterior glass doors and windows throughout. “Low-E”, or low-emissivity, refers to a coating applied to the glass that minimizes “the amount of ultraviolet and infrared light that can pass through glass without compromising the amount of visible light that is transmitted.” In other words, the doors and windows of GaïaMa dramatically reduce the amount of heat coming into the house while allowing maximum sunlight, thus reducing energy use by A/C and interior lighting.

Then there is the net-metered photovoltaic (solar panel) system, which even includes a small battery storage pack as back-up. The solar energy system is connected to the the utility grid, sending excess electrical power to the utility company but also able to draw from FPL as needed.  GaïaMa’s solar energy system is rated to provide over 90% of the electricity needed to run the home; and indeed routinely exceeds 100% resulting in the HERS rating of -4.

Electricity use is further reduced with very high efficiency appliances, including a 20 SEER Trane HVAC (A/C) system, LED lighting throughout, and Energy Star kitchen appliances.

The exceptional energy efficiency of GaïaMa is just a small part of the story. For more information about the edible landscaping, indoor air quality features, water management systems and everything else that makes GaïaMa such a healthy and sustainable home, visit To request a private tour of GaïaMa, click here to make an appointment with Melanie Dawn.

Melanie Dawn Molina Wood is a licensed Realtor with Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate. She has earned her LEED Green Associate accreditation, the NAR GREEN designation, and an Eco-broker credential. She is also a proud member of the US Green Building Council – South Florida Chapter, and a member of the Sierra Club. For more information about sustainability in Miami, or to connect with a real estate agent anywhere in the world, contact Melanie Dawn by text/phone at 305.801.3133, or by email at

National Green Week 2017

National Green Week kicks off this week and runs through the end of April. Yes, I know that’s more than a week. The idea behind this annual campaign from the Green Education Foundation is to encourage schools to devote (at least) one week during this period to sustainability topics.

“By participating in National Green Week, students will learn that simple decisions such as the selection of waste-free snacks and drinks can combat monumental environmental problems,” says Victoria Waters, President and Founder, Green Education Foundation. “Children are in the best position to impact the future of our environment by developing green behaviors that become lifelong habits,” adds Waters.

The national non-profit organization offers educators free K-12 sustainability activities, videos, lessons and projects in six broad “sustainability themes”; and the lesson plans are arranged by subject and by grade level.

I Ride Green

The central goal of I Ride Green is to inspire families and individuals to develop lifelong habits for sustainable transportation and eco-travel that promote the health of the environment, the economy, and people. I Ride Green invites participants to start easy-to-adopt green habits that can lead to lifelong healthy behaviors.

Green Energy Challenge

The Green Energy Challenge is an academic year-long program that calls on schools to improve their energy efficiency through simple changes in habit. Participation includes free tools to teach and encourage behavior change, such as curricula, audits, and classroom activities. In 2011, over 250,000 students took on the role of energy auditors in their schools and homes and implemented changes that resulted in thousands of dollars in energy cost savings within just a few months.

Green Thumb Challenge

The Green Thumb Challenge connects children with nature through gardening while providing teachers the curriculum to incorporate sustainable gardening as a teaching tool in the classroom. The “turn-key” garden plan provides participants with beginner-friendly resources to plant gardens of any size, as well as fun activities and standards-based lessons.

Sustainable Water Challenge

The Sustainable Water Challenge aims to educate schools and groups on the current issues in water sustainability and the steps we need to take to help conserve Earth’s most precious resource. Through GEF’s resources, K-12 students and educators will learn the basic properties of water, water pollution and depletion, as well as methods for water conservation. The Sustainable Water Challenge provides information on a broad range of water topics for all grade levels. As students and educators become more aware and knowledgeable of the challenges facing Earth’s water supply, we can work together and do our part to reduce water consumption.

Waste Reduction Challenge

This program empowers students to be leaders of their own waste reduction campaign in their school or community. Schools chose any week between the first week in February through Earth Day to be their Green Week. During this time, schools adopt sustainability curriculum and participate in GEF eco-challenge programs. In 2011, over five million students mobilized to reduce waste, energy and water and green their school.

Green Building Program

The GEF Green Building Program educates K-12 students on green building attributes and benefits, and provides them with the strategies to take steps toward improving environmental inefficiencies within their own school building. Through lessons, audits, and activities students will cover topics including water and energy efficiency and environmental quality as they relate to building construction, operation and maintenance.

The Green Education Foundation worked with the U.S. Green Building Council’s Center for Green Schools, numerous LEED accredited professionals and other experts in educational and sustainability fields to create the sustainability education materials. And while the National Green Week Challenge is GEF’s best known program, they have created an online community for teachers to provide feedback, share experiences, and even upload their own materials. If you are, or know, a teacher interested in sustainability, I highly recommend visiting the Green Education Foundation’s website, and participating in the National Green Week challenge.

Sustainable Home Developer Wins Builders Association of South Florida Platinum Award for Single Family Homes

Beatriz Baldan & George DeArmas accept the Platinum Award for The Sanctuary at Cutler Bay Project by 3Ci, Inc (photo courtesy: 3Ci, Inc)

Sanctuary at Cutler Bay, a LEED registered community by developer Sustainable 3Ci, Inc, was awarded the “2016 Florida’s Best” Platinum for Single Family Homes by the Builders’ Association of South Florida at last week’s signature event in Orlando.

Sanctuary at Cutler Bay homes are self-sustained, self-reliant homes, featuring water reclamation systems, energy efficient appliances, and are solar- powered for the future… 3Ci’s mission is to develop and construct environmentally sustainable homes offered to the consumer at an affordable price. These elegant, Key West style homes will dramatically reduce the amount of pollutants and reliance on fossil fuels that go into building and operating a traditionally constructed home. Their environmentally friendly homes have the added benefit of drastically reducing monthly utility bills. The HERS Index estimates the monthly utility bills will average only $71 dollars per month.

“I think this award, which we are grateful to receive, shows the beauty of our design and connectivity to the natural surroundings, located right next to the mangroves of Biscayne Bay. Energy efficiency resonates today,” says George de Armas, Co-Founder, 3Ci, Inc.

I have had the pleasure of knowing Beatriz and George for the past few years, and have been tremendously impressed with their commitment to sustainability, environmental issues, and an overall healthier future for Miami. One example, that I hope George does not mind me sharing, is his hobby of growing mangrove seedlings on his porch as part of the ongoing Old Cutler Bay habitat restoration efforts.

In keeping with their philosophy, Sanctuary at Cutler Bay homes will be as beautiful as they are “green”. The 4 bedroom, 3 bath houses will feature over 2600 sq.ft. of interior living area with high ceilings, floating staircases, and open sunny floor plans. The gourmet kitchens will include Energy Star appliances, LEED certified countertops, and Low VOC – Formaldehyde free cabinets.

The exterior details- terraces, walkways, lighting, and landscaping, are designed with the same attention to detail. Our rain water collection system will provide all the water needed to maintain the lawns, shrubbery and plants. All efficiencies are provided with a conscious focus to reduce the impact on the environment while reducing the cost of energy and maintenance.

If you would like to visit the developer’s sales office for more information about Sanctuary at Cutler Bay, let me know! I will be very happy to introduce you to Beatriz and George, and to their amazing award-winning homes.

Miami Realtor® Achieves National Association of Realtors® Green Designation

Miami, FL December 12, 2016 – Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate is pleased to announce that Melanie Dawn Molina Wood recently earned her NAR GREEN designation, the only green real estate professional designation recognized by the National Association of Realtors. She joins an elite group of just 16 Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate agents in Florida (and the only one in Miami-Dade County) to achieve this designation.

Molina Wood achieved this prestigious designation after completing topic-specific course work designed specifically for REALTORS®. The designation courses were created in collaboration with a multidisciplinary team of industry experts from across the country; ensuring designees gain comprehensive knowledge of green homes and issues of resource-efficiency in relation to real estate and home owners.

Melanie Dawn Molina Wood, Realtor, Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate

More specifically, Molina Wood was trained in understanding what makes a property green, helping clients evaluate the cost/benefits of resource-efficient features and practices, distinguishing between industry rating and classification systems, listing and marketing green homes and buildings, discussing the financial grants and incentives available to homeowners, and understanding how buyer and seller preferences may be inspired by resource-efficiency.

“By earning the designation, Melanie Dawn has made the commitment to provide the highest level of professional real estate service to her customers. Builder and consumer adoption of sustainability is rapidly growing and Melanie Dawn is uniquely positioned to guide her clients interested in a more sustainable home buying process,” said Dianne Regalado Kammerer, branch manager of the Brickell and Key Biscayne offices.

“Living green is about making healthy choices that are also easy on your wallet. NAR Green Designees have the necessary resources and relationships to effectively work with you to find your next home or assess your next green project.” said Marc Gould, Vice President of NAR’s Green Designation. NAR’s Green Designation was developed in response to growing consumer awareness of the benefits of resource-efficient homes and buildings. The designation helps consumers understand the positive impact of home performance and identify REALTORS® who can help them realize their green real estate and lifestyle goals.

Molina Wood is also an accredited LEED Green Associate and has her Eco-Broker certification. For more information about Melanie Dawn Molina Wood, please visit or e-mail

New Miami Beach Law Requires LEED Gold for New Buildings

Effective April 1st, the City of Miami Beach is requiring all new construction 7,000 square feet or more to meet or exceed LEED Gold standards… or pay an impact pay a fee equal to 5 percent of the construction costs. The idea is to force builders to address – one way or the other – the very real effects of climate change already being felt on Miami Beach.

South Beach flooding (photo courtesy:  Wikimedia Commons)
South Beach flooding (photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons)

As Miami Herald columnist Joey Flechas notes, Miami Beach will benefit whether the developers choose to build ‘green’ or to pay the fee:

That’s a big chunk of money. If the city had been collecting that fee for the last six years, it would have about $60 million to spend on green projects like water quality monitoring, cleanup of contamination and charging stations for electric vehicles.

Betsy Wheaton, the city’s environment and sustainability director, told the Miami Herald the city wants to build a fund specifically for sustainability projects like building permeable pavements and improving the Beach’s tree canopy. As the city continues an ambitious, $400 million anti-flooding pump program to combat rising tides, she also envisions incorporating green elements, like reintroduction of mangroves, into seawall projects for stemming sea level rise.

The City of Miami currently requires all new development of more than 50,000 square feet to be built to LEED Silver standards, while Miami-Dade County requires all new county buildings to obtain LEED Silver certification.