Posted: Apr 25, 2024
Green Certification for your Key West House

A few simple questions - How do I get a Green Certification for my house in Key West? Is there such a certification or similarly named green energy program local to Key West? If so, who runs this program and what are the specifics that lead to such a certification? My search leads me exclusively to the Florida Green Building Coalition (FGBC). The FGBC maintains a state-wide Green certification program via local FBGC certified agents and, in Key West, via Alison Higgins, Sustainability Coordinator, Building Department, City of Key West.

Who is the Florida Green Building Coalition?

The Florida Green Building Coalition (FGBC) is a non-profit 501(C)3 corporation dedicated to the built and building environment - to existing homes and homes being planned for or being built. The primary mission is to lead and promote sustainability with environmental, economic, and social benefits through regional education and certification programs. The FGBC is headquartered in St. Petersburg, FL.


From its Board of Directors and corporate officers, through its thirty-four Certifying Agents, to the home owners, FGBC strives to develop and award economically practicable and environmentally compatible building practices.


What are the Benefits of a Certified "Green" Home?


FGBC has created green building standards that allow it to certify that a builder (of a remodeled/renovated or new home) has applied the industry’s best building practices for sustainable, green construction in Florida. Incorporating best practices enables both the home owner and community to acrue long term, sustainable economic and environmental benefits. The goal is to assure homeowners that their home will perform as best possible in areas such as:


  • Energy Performance – Exceed code requirements and reduce costs
  • Water Conservation – Reduce total property water usage
  • Site Conditions – Minimzel site impact and utilize native plants
  • Healthier Home – Use products and materials specific to a healthier indoors environment
  • Materials – Use locally produced, resource-efficient materials with practicable recycled content
  • Disaster Mitigation – Withstand natural disasters  - including withstanding those darn bugs

Certifying Agent

Somewhere in all this there has to be a benefit cost analysis and someone to do it.  But who? The FGBC Certifying Agent.


There are 40 FGBC accredited Certifying Agents in Florida with one Certifying Agent in Monroe County.


The accredited Certifying Agent has two primary roles. First, act as the local 3rd party counselor and referee for the implementation of the FGBC program and, second, submit final certification for a Florida Green Home Designation. This agent utilizes an extensive, written, formal checklist to evaluate the home's existing or planned condition and options available for the homeowner to select in order for the home to achieve the level of Green necessary to be awarded the Green Designation. 


Only the Certifying Agent can submit the requisite paperwork requesting Florida Green Home Designation. The paperwork is reviewed by a FGBC evaluator for completeness and justification.  Ultimately, an award of Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum. each representing a higher level of "Green", is presented to the homeowner.


The accreditation of Certifying Agents is not just a one-time designation. As part of an annual review for continued designation, agents must prove they are working in their field plus maintain their continuing education.


Here are three Certifying Agents to contact:

  • Barbie Marquet. Company - As Green As It Gets Advisors, 362 Sound Dr., Key Largo, FL 33037. Email: Phone: 786.514.3250.
  • Leonardo Iturrey. Company - Blower Door Testing of South Florida, 8910 SW 21st St., Miami, FL 33165. Email: Phone: 305.710.8669.
  • Daniel Denis. Company - RunBrook, 313 Datura St., Suite 200, West Palm Beach, FL 33401. Email: Phone:  786.863.3495.

How do I get started?


Download and review the standars, process and checklist that is going to guide you through the certification processs.  Down the Version 12 Checklist here.  Note:  Existing homes can bypass the three "Pre-Requisites" pertaining to Swimming Poo/Spa, Waterfront and Exotic Species.


Category 1 - Energy

  • Home Energy Rating System (HERS) rating provides a computerized simulation analysis utilizing Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) Accredited Rating Software to calculate a rating score on the HERS Index. There are no certified RESNET Home Energy Raters in Monroe County.
  • Energy Star is an EPA program that provides homeowners and home builders with practical energy saving information for existing and new homes. There are no Energy Star certified builders in Monroe County.
  • The Certifying Agent can guide you through the Energy section of the Version 11 checklist.
  • Both a HERS and Energy Star rating are helpful but not mandatory for a FGBC Green Certification.

Category 2 - Water

  • Florida Water Star is a water conservation certification program for new and existing homes.
  • A combination of appliances, fixtures, rainwater harvesting, landscaping and irrigation systems comprise this category. 
  • A Water Star rating is helpful but not necessary for a FGBC Green Certification.

Catgory 3 - Lot

  • Not a lot of choices for existing homes.  You are where you are.

Category 4 - Site

  • Not a lot of choices other than maintain your trees and planted areas in healthy condition. If you have a big tree; poinciana, almond, etc., please trim it annually.

Category 5 - Health

  • Primary areas of concern deal with Moisture and Ventilation as related to Air Control and Quality. Do you have your Central A/C inspected yearly? And change your filters at least once during the a/c summer season?

Category 6 - Materials

  • Existing Key West homes might suffer here, particularly homes considered "contributing" or historical, as this category focuses on use of locally produced materials, recycled content and modern construction techniques versus 100 year old mortise and tenon.


Category 7 - Disaster Mitigation

  • How's your roof and is your house at or above flood plane?


Overall, a well maintained house and yard with timely renovations, routine maintenance and improvements performed under permit by qualified contractors will get you the points needed.  Energy Star and Water Star are important ratings but not mandatory to obtain the FGBC Green Certification.



A Bronze plaque for your effort!

FGBC standards are developed with criteria that are specific to Florida. These criteria specifically address Florida’s hot-humid climate, unique topography and unpredictable natural disasters.


FGBC’s five certifications provide pathways to remodel/renovate or build Green (1) residential homes, (2) developments, (3) local governments offices and buildings, (4) high rises and (5) commercial buildings. The process, including low fees, is often more affordable than other certifications.  Additionally, the free market aspect of FGBC certifiers also keep costs reasonable as an inducement for implementation.


Success stories?  In 2023, ten residences between Marathon and Key West were certified.  Also, the 300 affordable housing units of the Garden View Apartsments on College Road, Stock Island, Key West were certified in 2023.  Good work!


If you have any comments or questions, please contact me here.


Good luck!


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