Panel Explores Pasco Green Building Ordinance Proposal

Carl Orth/SUNCOAST NEWS By Carl  Orth | The Suncoast News

Published: June 5, 2008

NEW PORT RICHEY -- Incentives and costs of "green" building codes were dissected today as a Pasco Building Association group examined the second draft of a proposed Pasco County environmentally friendly construction ordinance.

About 30 people took part in the PBA Green Building Council monthly meeting. A final draft of the proposed ordinance might be ready for the next meeting, June 26.

"We're super excited about it," Sergio J. Terzado, a builder sales representative for HomeTeam Pest Defense, said. He is chairman of the PBA Green Council.

Commissioner Jack Mariano said he wants to be the "champion of green building in the county."

Without realizing it, many builders already meet most of the conditions for certification as a green builder or developer, according to Drew M. Smith, president of Two Trails Inc. The Sarasota-based firm has hundreds of clients seeking green Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, certification.

Home buyers are hungry to find green-certified homes, real estate agent Ann Graffy of Remax Realtec Group in Palm Harbor, insisted. They are willing to pay somewhat more or to accept a slightly smaller home certified as green.

Misconceptions persist that green building is expensive, several participants in today's meeting said. One builder said the extra cost might amount to 5 percent to 10 percent.

Rebates on county fees can help offset green building costs.

Besides, the state is moving toward higher energy efficiency codes by January. This might force builders to adapt more green building techniques, according to Bill Eberle of Progress Energy Florida.

Education of the public remains a goal, Terzado said. Green certification is a package deal that goes beyond a single element, such as power-sipping Energy Star efficient appliances. Marketing claims have confused many people, he believes.