The Florida Green Building Coalition (FGBC) has honored Manatee County as Florida’s first platinum-certified county government in a ceremony at the Manatee Board of County Commissioners meeting.
“We commend Manatee County, your Green Team and the leadership of Manatee County for pursuing certification,” said C. J. Davila, FGBC’s executive director. “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.”
A host of initiatives led to certification, including the county’s energy efficient downtown chiller plant, the countywide transition to single-stream recycling and community events, such as Manatee Libraries’ Teen Recycled Fashion Show.
Manatee County achieved its initial Green Government recognition in 2011. By 2014, Manatee was a gold level green government. Platinum certification comes after many months of effort led by Manatee County energy manager Diana Robinson and Michelle Powers, the county’s energy and sustainability coordinator.
“Manatee County’s platinum certification demonstrates tremendous leadership,” said 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.”
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.
“Many months of fears, tears, but mostly cheers went into this certification process,” Robinson said.” This is a remarkable achievement because we are surrounded by counties and cities that have been implementing sustainable and green programs longer than us. Manatee County has proven that with dedication and perseverance, you can accomplish wonders.”
A host of initiatives led to certification, including the county’s energy efficient downtown chiller plant, the countywide transition to single-stream recycling and community events, such as Manatee Libraries’ Teen Recycled Fashion Show. The county’s landfill gas generator has slashed energy costs in half at the Lena Road Landfill. Dozens of Manatee County’s green and sustainable efforts are listed on the coalition’s website.
Robinson credited Manatee County’s Green Team, County Commissioners and leadership who have remained committed to sustainable policies for years. Staff from Manatee County public works, property management and utilities departments played key roles in achieving certification over time.
Since FGBC’s local government program was launched, 68 Florida municipalities have achieved certification, with 20 others registered and in the process of certification.