The Florida Green Building Coalition (FGBC) says it has honored St. Lucie County for achieving a Silver Level of “Florida Green” certification in a recent ceremony in Fort Pierce.
FGBC executive director C.J. Davila presented the award to the county. FGBC’s Green Local Government Certification program is the only one of its type in the state endorsed by the Florida Legislature, the Florida League of Cities and the Florida League of Mayors.
“St. Lucie County has a long history in doing what we can to protect our natural resources whether it’s water-quality issues such as our oyster and artificial reef programs or building environmentally-sound facilities such as our Emergency Operations Center,” said St. Lucie County Commission chairman Chris Dzadovsky. “We do these things because it is the right thing to do for the planet, as well as our future generations. But it is rewarding when an outside, independent organization recognizes the efforts that are being made.”
FGBC uses a standard of criteria to evaluate performance in implementing policies and programs in the areas of energy, water, air, land, waste and education/awareness. St. Lucie County achieved silver level certification for its exceptional stewardship and sustainability initiatives.
Many of the policies and programs that led to St. Lucie County’s recertification included the environmentally significant lands program, innovative land planning codes and policies, the Solar and Energy Loan fund, and numerous educational and community outreach programs.
Additional credits were earned from the county’s implementation of green cleaning and landscaping policies, artificial reef and oyster programs, stormwater improvement efforts, single-stream recycling and more.
“St. Lucie County can be proud of being one of the “Florida Green” governments,” FGBC president Jeremy Nelson said in a statement. “They have been proactive since day one, with a mission statement to include environmental commitment and incorporating the mission statement into the local government’s comprehensive plan.”
Becoming “Florida Green” is an opportunity for local governments to establish sustainable practices that can be carried out on a systematic basis, and sets in motion a process that will extend beyond election terms and protect the community for years to come.
St. Lucie County was first designated “Florida Green” in 2010, at a time when only five other Florida counties had received this prestigious recognition.
“To be one of the first counties in the state to receive this designation back in 2010 was a tremendous success, but for St. Lucie County to prove to an independent review group that we have continued to make enormous efforts to help improve our local environment means even more,” said Dzadovsky. “I’m especially proud of all the county employees who remain dedicated to not just serving our residents, but finding ways to protect our community so that we can serve future generations, while operating more efficiently and saving taxpayer dollars.”
Since the local program was launched, 68 Florida municipalities have achieved certification, with 20 others registered and in the process of certification. The program is performance based, not prescriptive, and certified governments have found that many of their existing programs and policies contributed to the point total needed for certification.