Secondary Author(s)

Languell, Jennifer L.; Childress, Karen; Caterham, Cynthia; Martin, Eric

Report Number






The Florida Green Building Coalition, Inc. (FGBC), developed a standard for green land development. It is the first voluntary, non-government standard of its kind to target an entire state. Other groups have created development standards that apply to just a local Home Building Associations (HBA) or a local jurisdiction. The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is beginning a Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEEDTM) for neighborhoods. To comply with Florida's standard, a developer has to earn sufficient points among six categories:

  1. Protect Ecosystems and Conserve Natural Resources: for example, surveys, conservation areas, wildlife corridors, wetland preservation and management
  2. Circulation: for example, pedestrian walkways, road design, shaded parking, proximity to retail, schools and connections to other areas
  3. Utilities: for example, underground utilities, and metering irrigation
  4. Amenities: for example, community pools, Audubon International certified golf courses
  5. Covenants and Deed Restrictions (CDRs): for example, encourage green construction standards, certified green homes and buildings
  6. Education: for example, staff training, outdoor signage, community outreach.

Each category of the standard has a minimum and a maximum point total that may be earned. This results in a reasonable amount of environmental stewardship across each of the six categories.

The standard was released in October 2002. Two of the projects that first applied for certification are located in southwest Florida (Sarasota - Naples). Each project was built adjacent to a sensitive river ecosystem. This paper uses these two case studies to illustrate the elements and flexibility of the standard. Discussion is included on how a land development standard can be used to augment vertical construction standards (LEEDTM and local standards) and can serve as a tool for local communities and government entities to reward sustainable land development.

Verandah, one of The Bonita Bay Group's (TBBG) communities, is located along a 1.75 mile stretch of the scenic Orange River in Fort Myers. Accented by large oak hammocks, native sabal palms and the fragrant remains of an orange grove, Verandah provides some of the best atmosphere nature offers. Nearly 65 percent of Verandah's 1,456 acres will remain open space. Community amenities include a golf course and pro shop, restaurant, tennis and fitness center, nature center, and riverfront boathouse with general store all nestled into a canopy of oak trees. TBBG in this instance is the land developer and as such has seven preferred builders within the community. Each of the homebuilders is required to construct their model homes to FGBC green home standard.

The new Venetian Golf and River Club in Venice (south of Sarasota), a WCI Communities, Inc. (WCI) development, is situated adjacent to the designated wild and scenic Myaka River. Seventy-three acres of oak-shaded preserve for wildlife habitat and passive recreation line the riverfront at Venetian Golf and River Club, creating a natural buffer averaging 300 feet wider than required by local regulations. WCI, as both the developer and homebuilder, is constructing and certifying all the homes to the FGBC green home standard.

Date Published



Reference Publication: Vieira, Robin K., Jennifer L. Languell, Karen Childress, Cynthia Caterham, Eric Martin "Complying with Florida’s Green Land Development Standard: Case Studies and Lessons Learned," Presented at GreenBuild International Conference and Expo, Pittsburgh, PA, United Sates Green Building Council, Nov. 2003.

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FSEC Energy Research Center® Collection



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