First GREEN Bank is happy to announce that our “World Headquarters” building in Mount Dora has now been officially certified LEED Platinum by the U.S. Green Building Council!
LEED Platinum is the highest possible rating by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), and First GREEN Bank’s new headquarters is actually built to exceed the LEED Platinum standards set by the USGBC for energy efficiency, environmental sensitivity and the safety, security and comfort of its customers, workers and the community. In fact, it is one of the most environmentally-sustainable and energy-efficient bank buildings in the southeastern United States, and it is only the seventh privately-owned commercial building in the state of Florida built and certified to LEED Platinum standards and specifications (and only the second LEED Platinum building in Lake County).
Emphasizing energy-efficiency and water conservation while utilizing recycled and healthy building materials, both the interior and exterior of the building were meticulously planned to minimize environmental impact during construction as well as over the long term. The goal was to fuse form and function in the design of the headquarters, and a great deal of time and thought went into achieving that synergy.
First GREEN Bank’s objective is that through education and influence it can help change attitudes. First GREEN Bank has led an impactful and successful charge to show people there is a better way to do business which is financially, environmentally, and socially responsible. One of the integral ways in which First GREEN Bank strives to accomplish this is through the construction or conversion of its buildings for energy efficiency. As noted by the U.S. Green Building Council: “Buildings in the United States are responsible for 39% of CO2 emissions, 40% of energy consumption, 13% water consumption and 15% of GDP per year, making green building a source of significant economic and environmental opportunity. Greater building efficiency can meet 85% of future U.S. demand for energy, and a national commitment to green building has the potential to generate 2.5 million American jobs.”
In addition to the multitude of important “green” features of the building which help it to be as efficient and sustainable as possible, the senior management of the bank also likes to highlight the research which has shown that such buildings also generally contribute to an increase in productivity of the occupants for a variety of reasons ( http://www.usgbc.org/Docs/Archive/MediaArchive/207_Loftness_PA876.pdf ; http://www.iaqscience.lbl.gov/performance-summary.html ).
And, as one of First GREEN Bank CEO Ken LaRoe’s foremost business heroes – Yvon Chouinard, founder and owner of Patagonia, Inc. – states in his recent book, The Responsible Company:
“…The introduction of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards revolutionize commercial construction by proving that greener building standards create healthier workspaces and that better-quality construction repays owners and investors over time…
The commercial construction industry ten years ago was no bastion of green: its old, fixed-budget business model, based on the low bid, drove down quality at every stage of design and construction. Every builder had requirements to build to code but no incentives to build in resource-saving systems that might cut the building owner’s cost in the long run but not the short. Enter the LEED certification system for building to energy-efficient standards with less environmental harm. At the time it was introduced in 2000, only 635 buildings worldwide could comply. As of 2012, more than 40,000 LEED-certified projects have been built or are in the works.
LEED has educated building owners and managers to the long-term high cost of cheap heating and air conditioning (and of cleaning a building with high levels of indoor pollution), as well as to the savings inherent in new materials and design. An initial 2 percent increase in the cost of a new LEED-certified project incurs savings of ten times that amount over the life of the building. A LEED retrofit saves owners an annual 90 cents a square foot; they make their investment back in two years. LEED is becoming the standard for commercial properties and, in the process, changing the urban landscape.”
After being named the “2011 Business of the Year” by the U.S. Green Building Council’s Central Florida Chapter, it is a great achievement and recognition of the efforts of everyone involved with First GREEN Bank for our “World Headquarters” building to now be officially certified LEED Platinum by USGBC.