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Green Building In Maitland

By Councilman Bob Miller
When Charlie Clayton decided he wanted to build homes in Maitland just after World War II there were just a few hundred residents and some of those folks were snowbirds. The mental picture my own father painted of Florida was “….a tropical paradise with wide open spaces and lots of opportunity”. All these qualities beckoned many to our state. Change was afoot for Maitland.

Today in only 60 years, we have nearly seventeen thousand residents and a daily added population in Maitland Center of over thirty thousand! Planning studies estimate the population of our state could double in only thirty-five more years. Change continues to be a way of life for all of us. Our challenge is molding those changes into an acceptable and desirable community for our future.

Last Spring the Maitland City Council conducted an all day visioning session coordinated by our City Manager, Dean Sprague with the UCF Institute of Government. Amongst our various goals we all agreed our town should be moving toward achieving status as one of Florida’s Green Communities.

Interestingly enough we were not alone in our thoughts regarding our community. On June 5, 2006 the U.S. Conference of Mayor’s unanimously endorsed the “2030 Challenge” (Resolution #50) for ALL buildings. This action grew out of many initiatives. For example, the American Institute of Architects, the national professional organization representing architects, has adopted a position statement calling for the immediate energy reduction of all new and renovated buildings to one-half the national average for that building type, with increased reductions of 10% every five years so that by the year 2030 all buildings designed will be carbon neutral, meaning they will use no fossil fuel energy.

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers has also taken leadership in this growing trend. There already exists “Advanced Energy Design Guides” to assist designers and owners in achieving substantial energy savings.

The additional benefits to adopting a “green” approach are myriad.

  • The large positive impact on employee productivity and health gains suggests that green building has a cost-effective impact beyond just the utility bill savings;
  • The construction industry in the US represents a significant percentage of our economy and a significant portion of the building industry is represented by small business. An increase in sustainable building practices will encourage and promote new and innovative small business development throughout the nation;
  • A recent study completed by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the most definitive cost-benefit analysis of green buildings every conducted, concluded that the financial benefits of green design are between $50-$70 per square foot, more than 10 times the additional cost associated with building green.

Maitland continues today to be “…a tropical paradise with lots of opportunity”. We are blessed with a very desirable location, a strong community and a variety of other advantages. Our partners at Progress Energy can help us implementing off-the-shelf energy saving ideas as well as cutting edge uninterrupted power systems and other technological improvements.

Our City leaders have offered incentives to potential developers that provide some flexibility if LEED’s certified standards are met in their proposed buildings. (U.S. Building Council’s “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design [LEED]’ rating system).

The potential exists for Maitland’s Town Center project to offer a central chilled water system that provides chilled water to the hundred’s of thousands of proposed square feet in the most energy efficient manner.

Maitland’s future is bright with opportunity from many perspectives. As we proceed to construct new City facilities I advocate adopting the U.S. Conference of Mayors guidelines to build structures that use 50% of the energy other similar facilities use today.

It has been said tax payers are “investors” and they deserve a good return on investment. Let us unite as citizens of Maitland to set a direction for the future that is responsible and beneficial regarding energy usage.

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