Going green gains momentum in county
By A TIMES EDITORIAL
Published November 21, 2007
The "green" movement is showing up in North Pinellas County in a big way.
Take, for example, this week's major announcement that the developers restoring the Belleview Biltmore Resort & Spa to its former grandeur intend to spend the extra time and money to make it a "green" building.
At a news conference Monday featuring Gov. Charlie Crist, Legg Mason Real Estate Investors of Los Angeles said that the firm will seek a special designation, called LEED certification, awarded for projects that meet a rigorous set of environmental standards. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification is awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council.
"This resort will be reborn as a modern, energy-efficient, LEED-certified, green building," said Joe Penner, managing director for Legg Mason.
Legg Mason bought the historic Belleview Biltmore property in June for more than $30-million and expects to invest more than $100-million in the renovations. Legg Mason has said the enormous wood structure, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, will be renovated in a way that preserves its historic roots - no easy task for a building that size. The announcement that Legg Mason also intends to satisfy an exacting list of environmental standards to get green certification is just another indication of the firm's ambitious, spare-no-expense approach to the project.
Dunedin also has ambitions when it comes to going green. The city already has built a certified green building, the new Dunedin Community Center, and now has hired a "sustainability coordinator" to help the city change its approaches on everything from recycling to how it powers city vehicles.
As sustainability coordinator, Valerie Lane will have influence in big and small ways. For example, thanks to her efforts, city employees are asked to turn off lights and unplug electronic equipment and consider riding their bikes to work. She's also seeking certification as a green city government through a laborious documentation process and planning to work with local schools. For more information about Dunedin's efforts, check the city Web site at www.dunedingov.com and click on Sustainability Program on the left side of the screen.
The announcements from Legg Mason and Dunedin are just the leading edge. Daily, our understanding of the destructive impact of the human footprint on the earth increases. All individuals, businesses and governments should be finding ways to "go green."
[Last modified November 20, 2007, 21:51:40]
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