Listen up, Northeast Florida business owners! There’s a nonprofit in town that’s under-recognized and under-utilized, and they want to save you money and reward you for your sustainability efforts. I know, I know, all of our nonprofits are under-recognized and a lot of them are under-utilized. But we’re talking about the U.S. Green Building Council North Florida chapter!
“Who?!” you ask? The U.S. Green Building Council North Florida (www.usgbcnf.org) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit trying to create a sustainable region and green buildings for all in North Florida within this generation. They tell us that they really want Jacksonville to be one of the “Greenest Cities in America!” If you’ve ever heard a business like a hotel or an organization like a school describe their facility as “LEED-certified,” the USGBC NF are the folks who guided them through the process of earning that Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification. The University of North Florida, the City of Jacksonville Animal Care and Protective Services and the Mayo Clinic’s Sleep Center are just a few of those the USGBC NF has helped.
Don’t be fooled by the word “building” into thinking they’re all for pouring concrete into our wetlands either. They do help owners of new buildings build as green as new construction could possibly be, but they really focus a lot on improving the sustainability of existing buildings.
But back to how they can save you money! Chances are, your business’s building is using more energy and water than it really needs to. According to the EPA, energy costs are a business property’s single largest operating expense. The USGBC NF is offering a series of three free workshops, called greenWORKs, to help businesses improve their bottom line through the financial benefits of energy use reduction as well as improve their environmental sustainability.
The March 20 workshop (that’s this Wednesday, so register now!) will cover reducing demand for energy and water within a building. The April 25 workshop will teach participants how to analyze their building’s energy performance with auditing tools. The May 20 workshop will bring everything together with information on commissioning buildings, implementing strategies, and measurement and verification. All workshops take place at Everbank Center Auditorium from 4-6 p.m. Register through the chapter’s events calendar at www.usgbcnf.org/event-calendar.
Then the chapter wants to give your participating, newly energy efficient business some green street cred. On May 23 from 5-8 p.m., they’ll recognize businesses that participated in the greenWORKs initiative, as well as present awards to Jacksonville’s sustainability leaders, at their annual awards gala at UNF’s The Boathouse, a LEED Gold-certified facility. Last year’s nominees included Green Hero Award winner Amanda Searle of Sustainable Springfield, a nonprofit community organization focusing on sustainable food systems; Breaking Ground Contracting, Green Business of the Year; and Interior Design + Construction award winner Gresham Smith & Partners.
So, businesses, register for the USGBC NF’s greenWORKs initiative workshops, save your business some money, start your journey to being a “green” business leader, and help Jacksonville become one of the “Greenest Cities in America!”