City to roll out 'green building' incentive program for developers

Orlando

The city of Orlando soon may further incentivize developers and new building owners to create more sustainable structures.

City to roll out 'green building' incentive program for developers

The city of Orlando soon may further incentivize developers and new building owners to create more sustainable structures.

The city is mulling a property tax rebate for new development as part of its green building incentive program, said Chris Castro, director of sustainability and resilience at the city of Orlando. Castro spoke at NAIOP's June 18 "Virtual Panel Discussion: Optimizing Office Infrastructure & Investment."

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These property tax rebates may be available to commercial and multifamily developers. The process would involve third-party certification.

In addition, the city is working with the Orlando Utilities Commission to incentivize existing building owners to retrofit structures to promote green buildings, Castro said. The term "green building" is used to describe a structure that is more environmentally conscious.

Further details about these rebates and incentives aren't known. Castro and city of Orlando representatives weren't available for comment.

Beyond this, Castro said the city itself may build its future structures with a minimum LEED silver standard. In April, he said the city had been "targeting" the LEED silver standard, which ensures that energy and water usage is at least 20% better than basic standards. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is a building certification program to promote energy-efficient, eco-friendly structures.

Since being named to the role in June 2016, Castro heads up the GreenWorks Orlando program, founded in 2007 to promote environmental stewardship. “Our goal, quite simply, is to make Orlando an economically competitive 21st century city — a model city for others,” Castro previously told Orlando Business Journal.

Making buildings more environmentally sustainable is important, as roughly three-quarters of greenhouse gas emissions are related to homes, hotels, theme parks and the spaces people work in. Transportation-related emissions make up the other 25%.

In addition, these more sustainable buildings also typically feature more pandemic-proof features like better air quality and circulation and more touchless ways to interact with technology. That's important for office owners who want to make their buildings more valuable, as companies look into having workers do business remotely in the years ahead.

"The resilient building is going to have more people wanting to move to them and lease them," John Scott, managing director with Colliers International, said at the NAIOP panel. "They're going to hold their value."

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John Scott (right) and Sean Glickman.


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