Sustainable Buildings and Energy Initiatives
The DMS Road to Sustainable Buildings
In 2008, the Florida Legislature passed the Florida Energy Conservation and Sustainable Buildings Act, directing state agencies to incorporate sustainable building practices into the design, construction, and renovation of state buildings. Through this act, the Department of Management Services (DMS) developed the Florida Life-Cycle Cost Analysis Program (Chapter 60D-4, Florida Administrative Code), which pertains to the evaluation of life-cycle energy performance for alternative building designs. Additionally, DMS developed the State Energy Management Plan (SEMP), which is a comprehensive plan to help state agencies reduce energy consumption and costs. You can view each of these by clicking on the links below.
Sustainable Building Philosophy
Over many years of construction experience, DMS has become focused on “High-Performance Building” outcomes. The “High-Performance Building” concept was a predecessor to today’s “Sustainable Building” concept. Many of today’s sustainable building measures have been best practices in the construction industry for many years. In accordance with best practices, public buildings should be energy efficient, functional, durable, and maintainable. In other words, they should be “sustainable.”
Sustainability and Cost-Effectiveness
DMS believes that sustainable building practices must provide cost-effective results in order to be a maintainable practice going forward. Through years of experience, especially through recent efforts evaluating life-cycle energy performance, DMS concludes that sustainable building practices can be extremely cost-effective. Sustainability and cost-effectiveness are not mutually exclusive outcomes.
Sustainable Building Approach
DMS has adopted the United States Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system for new construction and renovation projects and then goes even further by evaluating life-cycle costs. Through the Florida Life-Cycle Cost Analysis Program, state agencies can now easily separate fact from perception when evaluating potential building design options.
State agencies are required by law to comply with the various green aspects of a sustainable rating system such as LEED or the others approved in statute. However, when it comes to energy consumption in particular, state agencies are now required by rule to consider at least one design option that far outperforms their preferred rating system. Nevertheless, an agency’s ultimate decision must be made on the basis of long-term cost-effectiveness.
Enhanced energy efficiency can often dramatically improve the cost-effectiveness of a building, but it takes a life-cycle cost analysis to prove which options are truly cost-effective. Determining the total cost to own, operate, maintain, and replace building systems over the long term (i.e., the total life-cycle cost) is crucial to making a good decision. DMS applies this technique to all construction projects, including renovation projects that address major energy-consuming equipment in existing buildings.
“Our role is to apply due diligence to these important business decisions on behalf of Florida’s taxpayers. Our pursuit of cost-effective solutions is grounded in our belief that good business decisions yield good results.” – Division of Real Estate Development and Management
Sustainable rating systems such as LEED and others set minimum requirements for material selections, site usage, water efficiency, and energy consumption among other categories. These rating systems then encourage building owners to exceed those minimum requirements by awarding higher levels of green certification. When it comes to whole-building energy consumption, DMS is currently observing that outperforming the rating system by 30 to 40 percent typically demonstrates the lowest total life-cycle cost.
“New buildings and major renovations can be designed to be far more energy efficient and cost-effective than current minimum standards.” – Division of Real Estate Development and Management
DMS has also found that greatly enhanced energy efficiency in Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) and lighting systems typically pays back the added costs within a few years. This is especially pertinent to existing state buildings due to the regular replacement of energy-consuming equipment, not to mention the large number of buildings.
“When replacing energy-consuming equipment is warranted, the impact of greatly enhanced energy efficiency can be dramatic.” – Division of Real Estate Development and Management
Please click on the following links to view some examples of DMS sustainability in action:
Overall Energy Consumption at the Capital Circle Office Center (pdf 270.52 kB)
FDLE Chiller Replacement (pdf 282.58 kB)
Florida Highway Patrol – Troop E Headquarters (summary) (pdf 182.47 kB)
Florida Highway Patrol – Troop E Headquarters (life-cycle cost analysis) (pdf 630.38 kB)
Sustainable Buildings Photo Gallery (pdf 2.59 MB)
Other Energy Initiatives
In addition to pursuing cost-effective solutions in state-owned buildings using the Florida Life-Cycle Cost Analysis Program as well as the SEMP, DMS has established other energy initiatives aimed at reducing the state’s consumption and costs. For more information related to these initiatives, please click on the following links: