Press Releases

For Immediate Release

Date: April 6, 2016
For Immediate Release

Contact: Suzanne B. Cook, CAE
PH: 850-894-3422
Email: cooksb@nettally.com
 

Bonita Springs Attains Green Government Certification
FGBC Designation Confirms Environmental Stewardship

(Tallahassee, FL) – The Florida Green Building Coalition (FGBC), a membership-based non-profit organization that administers certification standards and provides education to promote sustainable building, development and business practices, has designated the city of Bonita Springs a certified Florida Green Local Government after it successfully met the sustainability standards established in the FGBC Green Local Government Certification program. Bonita Springs achieved 53.4 percent of the 253 applicable points, earning it a gold-level designation.

Suzanne Cook, FGBC Executive Director, said the designation demonstrates exemplary leadership by Bonita Springs elected officials who provided the framework and support to move forward with the process that helps to better manage the cost of government.

“Their leadership in this effort will help 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. Our membership applauds the municipality's dedication and commitment to the important ideals outlined in this program,” said Cook.

In order to achieve the FGBC Green Local Government Certification, Bonita Springs staff, led by planner and sustainability coordinator Jennifer Hagen with the Community Development Department, undertook an extensive audit of the functions performed by every department within the government. The criteria included evaluations of energy and water usage, air quality, health issues, land use, recycling and waste disposal, maintenance policies, educational programs, purchasing practices, regulatory policies, and many others.

From there teams used FGBC’s program tools to identify methods to improve the sustainability of their business practices and operations.

Cook noted that there were significant and tangible accomplishments that will benefit taxpayers and the environment.

“Through these efforts, there were reductions in operating costs and capital outlays, improvements in departmental communication, cooperation, and risk and asset management, a wealth of environmental benefits including measureable CO2 reductions, and identification of programs that will improve community involvement and enhance sustainability throughout Bonita Springs,” Cook explained.

“This program is an opportunity for local governments to establish sustainable practices that can be carried out on a systematic basis, and sets in motion a process that will extend beyond election terms and protect the community for years to come,” Cook remarked.

FGBC’s Green Local Government Certification program is the only one of its type in Florida and is endorsed by the Florida Legislature, the Florida League of Cities and the Florida League of Mayors. Cook emphasized that this level of support emanates from the fact that there is a sizeable and compelling return on investment for any local government that chooses to initiate the process.

“Depending upon the population of the community, the cost of this program is between $2,000 and $6,000. “The cost savings and environmental benefits that can be achieved dwarf the initial expenditure, Cook concluded.”

Some of Bonita Springs’ green achievements include:

Presentation of the award to Bonita Springs officials will be held on at 5:30 p.m. on April 6, 2016 during the Bonita Springs City Council meeting in City Hall.

Since the FGBC Green Local Government Certification program was launched, 85 Florida local governments have registered to participate in the program, with 60 certified to date. The program is performance based, not prescriptive, and all of the certified governments have found that many of their existing programs and policies contributed to the point total needed for certification.