Tampa Service Office Building Attains Florida Water Star℠ Certification

Tampa Service Office

Above, plantings at the Tampa office are beyond the building eaves, requiring less irrigation. 
Below, fixture supply lines are required to be reinforced. As in most District offices, water-saving fixtures are used. 

water-saving fixtures

The Tampa Service Office campus has the first water management district building to be certified under the Florida Water StarSM commercial standard. It’s also only the second government building in the state to be certified.

Building 2 on the Tampa campus was recently certified by the St. Johns River Water Management District after meeting the stringent Florida Water StarSM Commercial and Institutional (FWS CI) program standards. Launched as a pilot program in August 2010, the FWS CI program applies to offices, retail and service establishments, and institutional and nonindustrial commercial buildings.

“This is the first water management district building in the state to receive the certification,” said Susan Douglas, Florida Water StarSM program coordinator. “We are really excited about what they have been able to do in Tampa.”

At 14,762 square feet, Building 2 is the second largest building on the Tampa campus. It houses a data center and Information Resources Department staff.

District Facilities & Construction Services staff performed an initial inspection last fall to identify areas where the building needed work to meet the water-saving standard. Staff from St. Johns awarded the certification in the spring.

“We really excelled in landscaping,” said Douglas. “The Facilities staff in Tampa has done a great job designing the grounds.”

Instead of being placed under the eaves, plants in landscape beds around the building are located far enough away from the building to receive rainfall. “That means they need less supplemental irrigation,” said Douglas, “and the certification only allows 20 inches of irrigation annually. If you figure that many people water their lawns one-half to three-quarters of an inch twice a week, it adds up to 20 inches very quickly.”

The building has micro-irrigation installed throughout the planting beds, no inground irrigation for areas with turf, and two soil moisture sensors, ensuring that the right amount of water gets to the right places.

Mark Leytze, District Facilities & Construction Services manager, had the landscaping in mind when he approached Douglas to seek certification.

“When we had to replace the landscaping around Building 2 a couple of years ago, we decided to set it up according to the Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ principles,” said Leytze. “That made the building a good fit for Florida Water StarSM. Meeting the rest of the criteria wasn’t too hard.”

Inside the building, water-saving fixtures and reinforced supply lines that resist leaks are required. Like many of the District’s buildings, automated fixtures are already installed to keep water use to a minimum. However, some work was required. The Facilities staff had to replace a bathroom fixture and some water supply lines.

“Our Facilities people are great,” said Douglas. “They go out of their way to apply the Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ principles, they design their irrigation systems carefully and they perform regular maintenance. They are really leading by example.”

Florida Water StarSM is a voluntary certification program for builders, developers and homeowners. It encourages water efficiency in appliances, plumbing fixtures, irrigation systems and landscapes.

Landscape criteria are based on the Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ “right plant, right place” principle. Irrigation criteria are designed to increase the overall efficiency of irrigation systems and promote correct scheduling. Indoor criteria help meet the needs of the occupants while reducing wasted water.

Florida Water StarSM aligns with other green certification and recognition programs, such as ENERGY STAR®, the Florida Green Building Coalition’s green standards and the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) program.

For more information on the Florida Water StarSM certification, visit the District’s website at WaterMatters.org/fws/