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Everything You Need to Know About the City of Jacksonville Sustainable Building Program Ordinance featured image

Everything You Need to Know About the City of Jacksonville Sustainable Building Program Ordinance

The City of Jacksonville Sustainable Building Program Ordinance was established by Chapter 327 of the Jacksonville Ordinance Code. Under this mandate, all public buildings must possess one of the following forms of Sustainable Development Certification:

  • LEED
  • Green Building Initiative’s Green Globes
  • Florida Green Building Coalition

Contractors bidding on public projects in Jacksonville must always factor in the cost of meeting these standards. If you aren’t certain that your construction business has the ability to do so, you should probably stick to private projects. The Sustainable Building Program Ordinance isn’t mandatory for private construction projects; however, contractors who choose to embrace sustainability voluntarily can benefit in other ways. In this article, a Jacksonville construction lawyer from Cotney Attorneys & Consultants will review the three forms of Sustainable Development Certification and the three incentives for contractors overseeing private projects that voluntarily satisfy one of the aforementioned Sustainable Development Certifications.

Sustainable Development Certifications

As we mentioned above, contractors working on public projects are required to follow the standards established by LEED, Green Building Initiative’s Green Globes, or the Florida Green Building Coalition. Before you submit your next bid, consult a Jacksonville construction attorney to ensure that your bid package contains all the necessary information, including a provision stating that you will abide by one of the three accepted Sustainable Development Certifications. If you believe that a bid was awarded unfairly to another contractor, our Jacksonville construction attorneys can also submit a bid protest on your behalf challenging the award. 

Related: The Profitable and Environmental Benefits of Sustainable Construction


There are several LEED certifications based on the type of construction being performed. BD+C (Building Design and Construction) is used for new construction and major renovations. It can also be used for schools, retail, hospitality, healthcare, and more. ID+C (Interior Design and Construction) covers commercial interiors. O+M (Building Operations and Maintenance) applies to existing buildings undergoing minor repairs. There are separate standards for neighborhood development, homes, and even cities and communities, too. Satisfying the rigorous LEED standards is no simple task, but it’s certainly worth it if you are looking to take on potentially lucrative public projects. 

Related: Benefits of LEED Certification for Construction Companies

Keep in mind, the project checklist utilizes a scoring system with varying point values for all of the factors mentioned below. They are not weighted equally, and a building can be LEED certified without meeting all credits; however, all prerequisites are required (and labeled accordingly below). Buildings can obtain a maximum of 110 points. Earning 40-49 points results in a LEED certification. A building can also earn a Silver (50-59 points), Gold (60-79 points), or Platinum (80-110) LEED certification. To access a list of LEED v4 scorecards featuring point values, click here. Let’s take a look at the official “LEED v4 for BD+C: New Construction and Major Renovation” project checklist:

Location and Transportation (16 Points)

  • LEED for Neighborhood Development Location
  • Sensitive Land Protection
  • High Priority Site
  • Surrounding Density and Diverse Uses
  • Access to Quality Transit
  • Bicycle Facilities
  • Reduced Parking Footprint
  • Green Vehicles

Sustainable Sites (10 Points)

  • Construction Activity Pollution Prevention (Required)
  • Site Assessment
  • Site Development – Protect or Restore Habitat
  • Open Space
  • Rainwater Management
  • Heat Island Reduction
  • Light Pollution Reduction

Water Efficiency (11 Points)

  • Outdoor Water Use Reduction (Required)
  • Indoor Water Use Reduction (Required)
  • Building-Level Water Metering (Required)
  • Outdoor Water Use Reduction
  • Indoor Water Use Reduction
  • Cooling Tower Water Use
  • Water Metering

Energy and Atmosphere (33 Points)

  • Fundamental Commissioning and Verification (Required)
  • Minimum Energy Performance (Required)
  • Building-Level Energy Metering (Required)
  • Fundamental Refrigerant Management (Required)
  • Enhanced Commissioning
  • Optimize Energy Performance
  • Advanced Energy Metering
  • Demand Response
  • Renewable Energy Production
  • Enhanced Refrigerant Management
  • Green Power and Carbon Offsets

Materials and Resources (13 Points)

  • Storage and Collection of Recyclables (Required)
  • Construction and Demolition Waste Management Planning (Required)
  • Building Life-Cycle Impact Reduction
  • Building Product Disclosure and Optimization – Environmental Product Declarations
  • Building Product Disclosure and Optimization – Sourcing of Raw Materials
  • Building Product Disclosure and Optimization – Material Ingredients 
  • Construction and Demolition Waste Management 

Indoor Environmental Quality (16 Points)

  • Minimum Indoor Air Quality Performance (Required)
  • Environmental Tobacco Smoke Control (Required)
  • Enhanced Indoor Air Quality Strategies
  • Low-Emitting Materials
  • Construction Indoor Air Quality Management Plan
  • Indoor Air Quality Assessment
  • Thermal Comfort
  • Interior Lighting
  • Daylight
  • Quality Views
  • Acoustic Performance

Innovation (6 Points)

  • Innovation  
  • LEED Accredited Professional

Regional Priority (4 Points)

  • Regional Priority: Specific Credit (x4)

Unlabeled (1 Point)

  • Integrative Process

Remember, this is only a summary of one particular LEED certification dealing with new construction and major renovation. Core and shell, schools, retail, data centers, warehouse and distribution centers, hospitality, and healthcare all feature unique project checklists that must be considered everytime you bid on a public project in Jacksonville. Although each checklist is unique, the total number of possible points is always set at 110.

Green Building Initiative’s Green Globes

Green Globes is a “nationally recognized green rating assessment, guidance and certification program” that is focused on reducing operational costs, offering tax incentives and utility rebates, meeting government regulations, attracting new employees, retaining existing employees, and increasing the long-term marketability of property. Similar to LEED, Green Globes features unique certification criteria for an array of building applications, including new construction, multifamily, core and shell, existing buildings, and more.

Related: 5 Types of Building Construction

Using a 1000-point scale, Green Globes judges buildings on a broad range of factors, each weighted differently. Green Globes ratings are expressed in the form of one to four “Green Globes,” which are based on the percentage of points accumulated during grading. Our Jacksonville construction lawyers have included the official Green Globes ratings system and definitions below to help you better understand the nuances of this certification: 

  • One Green Globe (35-54%): “Demonstrates a commitment to environmental efficiency practices.”
  • Two Green Globes (55-69%): “Demonstrates excellent progress in achieving reduction of environmental impacts and use of environmental efficiency practices.”
  • Three Green Globes (70-84%): “Demonstrates leadership in applying the best practices regarding energy, water, and environmental efficiency.”
  • Four Green Globes (85-100%): “Demonstrates national leadership and excellence in the practice of water, energy, and environmental efficiency to reduce environmental impacts.”

Now that you understand the rationale behind the grading scale, let’s take a look at the actual checklist contractors must reference when attempting to satisfy Green Globes’ standards:

Project Management (50 Points)

  • Integrated Design Process
  • Meetings
  • Performance Goals
  • Environmental Management
  • Commissioning

Site (115 Points)

  • Development Area
  • Ecological Impacts
  • Stormwater Management
  • Landscaping
  • Exterior Light Pollution

Energy (390 Points)

  • Performance
  • Demand
  • Metering
  • Measurement and Verification
  • Building Opaque Envelope
  • Lighting
  • HVAC Systems and Controls
  • Efficient Equipment
  • Renewable Energy
  • Energy-Efficient Transportation

Water (110 Points)

  • Consumption
  • Cooling Towers
  • Boilers & Water Heaters
  • Water-Intensive Applications
  • Treatment
  • Alternate Sources
  • Metering
  • Irrigation

Materials and Resources (125 Points)

  • Building Assembly
  • Interior Fit-outs
  • Re-use
  • Waste
  • Building Service Life Plan
  • Resource Conservation
  • Building Envelope

Emissions (50 Points)

  • Heating
  • Ozone-Depleting Potential
  • Global Warming Potential

Indoor Environment (160 Points)

  • Ventilation
  • Source Control and Measurement
  • Lighting Design and Systems
  • Thermal Comfort
  • Acoustic Comfort

Florida Green Building Coalition

Florida Green Building Coalition certification programs are designed to help contractors better understand and work within “the unique environmental and climatic characteristics of Florida.” They offer several certifications, including the Green Home Certification Standard, Hi-Rise Residential Standard, Commercial Building Standard, Green Development Standard, and Green Local Government Standard. This certification features especially robust standards. You can find the most recent project checklist here.

Related: Tips for Improving Construction Material Efficiency

How Contractors Can Benefit by Participating Voluntarily on Private Projects

As our Jacksonville construction attorneys mentioned at the beginning of this editorial, contractors working on private projects are not required to satisfy the City of Jacksonville Sustainable Building Program Ordinance. That said, many contractors choose to integrate sustainable building practices into their repertoire to increase the value of their services and help initiate change in an industry that suffers from excessive material waste. Furthermore, contractors can benefit from several incentives, including:

  • Expedited development review 
  • Special designation and recognition
  • Refund of certification fees

To learn more about your legal obligations when taking on public construction projects, consult a Jacksonville construction attorney from Cotney Attorneys & Consultants. Our dedicated team of experienced legal professionals exclusively serves contractors and other construction industry professionals. Whether you have become the target of a lawsuit or simply have a contract-related question, our team is standing by.

If you would like to speak with a Jacksonville construction litigation attorney, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.