Only 18 projects are LEED certified in the state by the US GreenBuilding Council, and of those a mere three are retail, said LonniePeterson, chairman of Orlando-based Cuhaci and Peterson Architects.However, there are currently 250 green projects in Florida in theworks, and many of those have retail components, he says.

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And for good reason. Commercial buildings account for 65% of thecountry's waste and 70% of its electricity use. "The automobilesand the gas-guzzling SUVs are not the only culprits," saidPeterson, whose firm has worked on a number of sustainableprojects.

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But green project aren't always easy to get off the ground. Toget a building LEED certified, developers must earn points fordifferent criteria. Those can include the constructing near publictransportation, implementing a storm water management plan andreducing light pollution. Of a possible 48 points, developers mustearn 23 to gain certification.

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"Some points you get for showing up, and some you have to workreally hard to secure," said Jeffrey Brown, chairman of HuntingdonValley, PA-based Brown Hill Development. His firm is buildingPromenade at Lyons, a mixed-use lifestyle center in Coconut Creek,FL, with 250,000 sf of retail, 120,000 sf of offices and 450residential units.

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Dale Scott, senior vice president of Sidon Construction Corp.,the Boca Raton, FL-based firm that is building Lyons, stresses theimportance of building a dedicated team when taking on a greenproject. "The difference between failure and success has a lot todo with your commitment to it," he said. "Make sure you're gettingpeople who have actually bought into it."

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Getting tax breaks and other benefits from a municipality helps,too. Scott estimates that the average green project costs 3% to 7%more to build than a typical commercial venture, though thosenumbers can skyrocket much higher depending on the development.

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One of the biggest challenges that the builder of a sustainableproject faces is implementing programs that are easy for tenants touse, since the developer can't control every aspect of what is donein the space afterwards, Brown says. But most tenants shouldcooperate, he said. "We strongly believe the consumer will drivethis," Brown said.

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