As the international community takes measures to combat global environmental issues, the island’s green building group is leading the drive locally to increase ecologically-sound construction practices.
The Island Green Building Association, founded two years ago by members of both the scientific and construction communities, recently developed a Tropical Green Building certification program to recognize and reward builders who incorporate conservation measures in their construction projects.
“This is something that we’ve been talking about for some time,” said IGBA vice president and architect Doug White. “With all the over development and inappropriate development happening on island, we wanted to do something that was positive and proactive. We thought this program was a great way to do that.”
At an awards event next year, IGBA members will present winners with a bronze plaque suitable for display and certificates to all parties involved, from the property owner to the plumber.
By recognizing ecological efforts, the Tropical Green Building certificate program not only rewards environmentally conscious builders, but also serves as an educational tool, White explained.
“Not only will this program reward people who conserve and build in balance with the environment, but it is also a way of educating people about how to build green buildings and what that encompasses,” said White.
The group devised a 10-section checklist consisting of 75 specific criteria for evaluation. A project can qualify for five star, four star and three star ratings depending on what percentage of the checklist is complied. There are different gauges for different types of construction.
“We tried to keep it really simple,” said White. “There are different criteria for developments with pools and without and with natural ventilation and air conditioning.”
“There are ways to be environmentally conscious and have a pool and air conditioning, it’s just a little harder because there are more things to deal with,” he continued. “You are consuming more energy so there are more considerations.”
Ranging from site planning and design to light pollution, the comprehensive checklist will also serve as a guide for the group’s meetings this year.
“We would like to use the checklist and organize meetings around different categories on the list,” White said.
While the $700 application fee is steep, the funds are needed to cover the costs of professional building inspection and administrative costs, according to an IGBA press release.
The group is putting its own money toward the project and recently donated $4,600 to help launch and support the Tropical Green Building certification program.
The complete checklist is available at the group’s Web site at www.igba-stjohn.org or at the Friends of the V.I. National Park office in Mongoose Junction. Applications are also available online or at the Friends’ office.