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What’s Growing On: University of Florida Honeybee Lab recognized for sustainable commercial building project

Published: Apr. 22, 2021 at 6:09 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -The Florida Green Building Coalition granted the University of Florida Honeybee Research Laboratory the first-ever platinum-level certification for a commercial building.

The facility was also awarded the highest 2020 rating for an FGBC commercial project in the state of Florida.

Sustainable buildings are crucial to maintaining a clean environment as structures continue to take up acres of green space. Building sustainably is designed to reduce carbon, water, energy, and overall waste produced by said establishments. CJ Davila, executive director of FGBC, presented this certification on Apr 19.

“The green certification looks at a lot of features,it looks at disaster mitigation, the health of the building itself, water, energy… When you see a building that’s been certified by a third party entity, you can assure that it meets all that criteria,” Davila said.

This is not the only certification the university has received in regards to green building.

“The University of Florida has more sustainable building certifications than any other public higher education institution. We take sustainability very seriously,” Dustin Stephany, the University of Florida Sustainable Building Coordinator, said regarding the newest certification, “the university is always exploring how to build better, and so we’ve explored different green building rating systems. This FGBC was perfect for this project because we’re focussed on the Florida climate itself.”

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Jamie Ellis, a professor of entomology at the university, recalled the many ways that the building is sustainable that include white reflective roofs, efficient light and water fixtures, and much more.

He mentioned that the sustainability of the building and the bees go hand in hand.

“One of the cool things about the facility we’re standing in is that it doesn’t just help my program, my colleagues’ program, etc., it was actually built with sustainability in mind. All of this is good because it mirrors what bees do on their own anyway- they’re highly efficient critters,” Ellis said.

Ellis also said how this is important not only for the bee unit, but for new sustainable construction in the future.

“Lots of other groups here at UF and elsewhere can use us as a model when they’re developing facilities in the future that I think will be good in general for the health of our environment,” Ellis said.

They say certified facilities provide cleaner air to breathe indoors and a way to save money for business owners. Sustainable buildings are meant to reduce costs of general day to day operations, and raise the overall value of the property.

“It’s just great knowing the building itself is saving money and less impactful on the environment,” said Stephany

For more information regarding the FGBC and its impacts around the state, click HERE.

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