Willis A. Smith Construction, Inc., a Sarasota based Construction Management firm, announced today that is has received the prestigious Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Gold Certification for its sustainable headquarters facility distinguished as a Gold certified facility by the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED® Green Building Rating System™. This certification marks this facility as:
• The first privately owned LEED® Gold building in the region;
• The first LEED® Gold building in Lakewood Ranch;
• The first Florida-based construction management firm in the state to construct, own and occupy a LEED® Gold building;
• The third LEED® Gold-level certified building in Sarasota County out of the six total LEED® certified facilities, along with the Twin Lakes Park Office Complex and the North Sarasota Public Library.
“Thirty months ago we began with the idea of constructing our own green facility. We chose to build in Lakewood Ranch because of their leadership in environmental stewardship and commitment to the protection and preservation of natural resources. This certification is another important step in designating this firm as the leader in sustainability and green building,” explained David Sessions LEED® AP, President of Willis A. Smith Construction, Inc. He added, “Many of our employees put forth a substantial effort in order for our company to achieve this goal. I thank everyone for their input, ideas and perseverance. This is truly something for us all to celebrate.”
LEED® is an internationally recognized certification program that measures a building or community's performance across all environmental metrics including energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts. Currently, there are 104 LEED® certified buildings in the State of Florida, of which only 32 have achieved LEED® Gold certification. The majority of the 104 building are owned by government entities.
“Very few private entities have taken this step. We trust that our efforts will encourage others to be sustainable,” concluded Sessions. To meet the precise requirements to become LEED® Gold certified, Willis A. Smith Construction, Inc. had included many sustainable design elements and practices including:
• Water Efficiency: A rain water harvesting system collects rainwater from the roof and directs it into twin 3,000 gallon underground concrete cisterns. This rainwater serves toilets and urinals, resulting in zero potable water usage. In addition, efficient restroom plumbing fixtures and water-efficient landscaping further reduces water consumption. The building earned an innovation point from LEED for exceeding the highest water saving standard.
• Sustainable Sites: A cool roof system helps the building stay cooler, and 50% of the asphalt parking area is designed so that the surface will be shaded by landscaping within five years, resulting in a reduction in the heat island effect.
• Energy & Atmosphere: Solar power is generated from the 60 photovoltaic panels located on our roof, providing 13% of the building’s electricity needs. An ICF, insulated concrete forms system was used in the construction, which allows for little heat infiltration during the summer months. There are several smaller HVAC units strategically located throughout the building allowing certain systems to run only when that part of the building is occupied. Additionally, low-e windows, sunshades and roof insulation also contribute to overall energy savings.
• Indoor Environmental Quality: Sealants, paints, carpeting and composite wood products with low or no VOCs (volatile organic compounds) were used in the construction process. In addition, the interior work spaces of the facility receive 73.5% daylighting, insuring a healthy indoor environment.
• Materials and Resources: 68% of the construction waste was diverted from local landfills by utilizing four separate waste containers were placed on site to collect concrete, metals, unpainted/untreated wood, and cardboard. This waste was deposited at local recycling facilities. Also, 10% of the material used were extracted, processed and manufactured within a 500 miles radius of the construction site.
• Education: An innovation point was awarded for the development of our educational information and tours of the facility.
The U.S. Green Building Council is the nation’s foremost coalition of leaders from every sector of the building industry working to promote buildings that are environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy places to live and work. Its’ purpose is to create an environmentally and socially responsible, healthy, and prosperous surrounding that improves the quality of life.
Willis A. Smith Construction, Inc. (willissmith.com) is a Sarasota based Construction Management firm primarily serving Southwest Florida since 1972. As the oldest construction firm in Sarasota, the company enjoys an excellent reputation with a solid background in commercial, industrial, educational, healthcare, museum specialty work and sustainable construction. The company is also a member of the Florida Green Building Coalition, U.S. Green Building Council, and Sustainable Sarasota. They now have 14 LEED® Accredited Professionals (green building experts) on staff. The firm has made great strides in asserting itself as a leader in ‘green’ construction and has been awarded several contracts based in a large part on their experience in this field. A few of their notable green projects include: Willis A. Smith Construction’s 18,000 square foot Corporate Headquarters Building at Lakewood Ranch, Schroeder-Manatee Ranch corporate offices, Ringling College of Art and Design Housing and Academic Building and The Wellness Community at Lakewood Ranch.