Business View Magazine September 2018

86 87 ORLANDO, FLORIDA Castro: “As part of our municipal plan, every new city building constructed after 2010 must achieve, or exceed, LEED Silver certification. I’m happy to say that we’ve built more than 15 certi- fied city buildings. The new Orlando Police head- quarters just got LEED Gold in addition to four fire stations, the Amway Center, OUC headquar- ters, Camping World Stadium, and our new public records building. More than just being green, if we build to a higher performance than the build- ing code, we can save 30 to 40 percent of the electric and water costs over the lifetime of the building. As they say, that’s smart for the planet, and our pocketbooks. “We also have a hotel in the downtown that repurposed an old office building into ALoft Or- lando that’s LEED-certified; as is the NORA (North Orange Avenue) apartment complex, which has more than 120 kw of solar on the roof. Even developers are building high-performance Energy Star and LEED-certified homes.” BVM: What is Orlando’s vision for the future? Castro: “Our updated Green Works plan will go live in August and we’ve gathered several fan- tastic strategies. For example, we’re looking to fully electrify our bus rapid transit system (LYM- MO) over the next five years. Our goal is to also expand the electric vehicle charging stations for the private sector; we have over 350 EV chargers now, making us one of the Top 10 EV Ready cities in the nation, and we’re looking to add 150 in the next two years. “Another goal is to move to 100 percent renew- ues and offices.” BVM: How do you engage with the community? Castro: “Every year, we host a city-wide sustainability symposium that brings businesses, residents, and civic leaders together for meaningful conversations.We are also in the community on a regular basis at neighbor- hood centers, and we partner with our commissioners to educate the public on how homeowners can get involved with our sustainability programs. So, there is a lot of community engagement. “First Green Bank has been an amazing partner for the city, offering special loans for solar panels and home energy-efficiency improvements. And we’ve developed a very close partnership with our municipal utility, OUC (Orlando Utilities Commission). They’ve been working with us on a number of important initia- tives around renewable energy, energy-efficiency, and electric vehicles.We also appreciate the University of Central Florida, Valencia College, IDEAS For Us, Orga- nize Florida, the Sierra Club, and the League of Women Voters, among others, as valuable community partners.” BVM: Tell us about the city’s green building practices.