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Environmental

Atlantic Beach Aims To Be Florida’s 1st LEED Certified City

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The City of Atlantic Beach is trying to become Florida’s first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified city under a new U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) pilot program.

The USGBC is a nonprofit that was founded in 1994 with the goal of improving the sustainability of building design, construction and operation.

“We want to do more good rather than less bad with buildings,” explained Sarah Boren, Director of USGBC of Florida. Buildings have a huge environmental impact, she said, using 71% of all electricity, causing 40% of all emissions, consuming 60% of all energy and using 14% of potable water. USGBC sees green building as the solution to that problem.

LEED is a holistic green building rating system that’s now being used in 162 countries. “It’s basically raising the bar on where we spend 90% of our time: indoors,” Boren said.

Now USGBC is trying to take that same concept and scale it up with LEED for Cities and Communities. The new rating system is the 4.1 beta program, which started a little over a year ago with grant money from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation.

Six cities signed on initially, then others expressed interest. USGBC ended up getting a second Bank of America grant, allowing 14 more cities to join the pilot program, including Orlando and Miami.

To achieve LEED certification, cities are scored, using the Arc platform, in 14 different categories.

LEED Performance Score
CREDIT USGBC

There are four certification levels, which are determined by total score: Certified (40-49), Silver (50-59), Gold (60-79) and Platinum (80-100). Atlantic Beach is not yet certified but is sitting at 58 points. Boren expects the city’s certification process to be finished by mid-May.

“You can’t really make informed decisions without good data,” Boren said. “So we’re super excited that we’re going to get really good data. Cities are going to have clear priorities of where they want and they can communicate this to the public in a really easy dynamic format.”

Data collected during the certification process will also allow cities to compare themselves to other communities.

“It basically says that we care about the environment,” Shane Corbin, Director of Planning and Community Development for Atlantic Beach, said of the city’s potential LEED certification. “But the whole purpose of it is to track all these metrics, and try to do better. And now that we have all the data in the system, and we can look at that, we can then have strategies to say where are we lacking? Where can we get our score higher? And what sort of policies and procedures and things can we do to become a greener city?”

“You could sort of think of it like going to the doctor, to give you an analogy, where you look at your blood pressure, you look at your cholesterol, any other health indicators, and you realize, ‘Well, my cholesterol is too high. I need to get that down because I want to be healthier,’” he said. “It’s the same sort of concept where you’re looking at where you can do better and be healthier. In this case, it’s how can we be greener, be healthier for the planet.”

Corbin said climate change, sea level rise and adaptation are priorities for Atlantic Beach’s leaders, but the city is still in the early stages of figuring out how best to address those issues.

“We don’t have enough information yet to begin forming policies on what to do to adapt to sea level rise,” he said. “We just don’t have it yet. But we’re going to have it soon.”

USGBC will be hosting an event on Thursday, April 25, where residents can learn more about LEED for Cities and Communities through a case study of Atlantic Beach. Speakers will include Mayor Glasser and Corbin, as well as Vatsal Bhatt, USGBC’s Director of LEED for Cities and Communities, and Sean Lahav, a Graduate Teaching and Research Assistant at the University of North Florida who designed a how-to manual to help other cities seek LEED certification.

View image on Twitter

USGBCFL@usgbcfl

The event is scheduled to run from 4 to 6 p.m. and is being held at the Jessie Ball duPont Center in the 2nd floor lecture hall. Tickets can be purchased here.

Corbin said he hopes Atlantic Beach’s participation will inspire other communities to seek certification. “Especially now that the state really has put a lot of focus on sea level rise and climate change and adaptation to rising sea levels,” he said. “I think that’s going to raise the awareness throughout the state of Florida that not only do we need to prepare for sea level rise, but also we need to start doing things more holistically, and not just per household but as a city to be greener and reduce our impact on the environment.”

“As part of our focus on environmental leadership we are poised to be the first city in Florida that’ll be a certified city under LEED for cities,” said Atlantic Beach Mayor Ellen Glasser. “I’m really pleased that Atlantic Beach is taking a leadership role, no pun intended, towards this effort.”

Brendan Rivers can be reached at brivers@wjct.org, 904-358-6396 or on Twitter at@BrendanRivers.

Hollywood designated ‘Florida Green’ city by Florida Green Building Coalition

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The Florida Green Building Coalition (FGBC) says it has designated Hollywood as a “Florida Green” local government.

The city achieved 32 percent of its 311 applicable points, earning them a Silver-level designation. The City of Hollywood has been a certified green city since 2012.

In a presentation to the city commission FGBC executive director C. J. Davila said: “The FGBC Green Local Government program is truly unique within the country. It creates an environment of communication and coordination amongst different departments. This collaboration streamlines processes, decreases redundancies, and generates new approaches toward sustainability and resource preservation.”

To date 88 local municipalities, city and county, have participated in the FGBC “Florida Green” Local Government program.

The green certification program scores the city’s sustainability in terms of categories. These categories include: Energy efficiency, Water, Economic Development, Tourism, Emergency Management, Planning and Zoning and many more. In each category there are points that can be achieved.

Some highlights from Hollywood include:

Enacted green landscaping ordinance for local government buildings;
Uses LED traffic lights;
Maintains a green fleet program for department or entire local government;
Operates local government alternative fueling station;
Affordable housing constructed by city/county and other parties are mandated green; and
Implemented energy-efficient lighting and controls for outdoor recreational parks.
The FGBC was formed in 2000 and has certified more than 19,000 projects.

Unlike other national and international certifications, FGBC five certifications are only standards developed with Florida-specific criteria. They address the state’s hot-humid climate, environment, unique topography, geology and natural disasters.

“The local government program’s success emanates from the fact that there is a sizeable and compelling return on investment for any municipality thus reducing the cost to taxpayers. It starts with exemplary leadership and staff,” said FGBC president and Hollywood resident Barry Faske.

Tupperware Unveils Vision to Reduce Plastic, Food Waste by 2025

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The company is now a signatory of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastic Economy Global Commitment to help create a circular economy for plastic.

Waste360 Staff | Jun 07, 2019

Tupperware Brands announced its “No Time to Waste” vision to significantly reduce plastic and food waste by 2025. Through “No Time to Waste,” the company and its global network of 3 million sales force, 12,000 associates and suppliers are unified in their approach to reduce—and eventually eliminate—waste.

At the start of the plastic revolution nearly 70 years ago, Tupperware said it introduced reusable, long-lasting plastic in the home. Now, Tupperware Brands said it continues to design products that are durable and made to keep food fresher, longer and to be reused for years to come. “From the start, these designs have been rooted in sustainability—from Earl S. Tupper’s signature seal that was uniquely designed to lock in freshness, to today’s modern Eco Water Bottle, which replaces single-use plastic bottles,” according to the company.

“Our company’s purpose has always centered on the belief that our products and the opportunities we present through our business have the power to change lives for the better,” said Tricia Stitzel, chairman and CEO of Tupperware Brands, in a statement. “Through ‘No Time to Waste,’ we are deepening that purpose by making changes in our products, operations, recycling and partnerships to increase the longevity of our planet, our people and the communities in which we live and work.

Tupperware Brands has set a series of goals and strategies to help ensure that its impacts reflect the needs of a circular economy:

Engage

Partnerships: In order to help advance global solutions to key areas of waste pollution, Tupperware has strategically aligned itself with two partners:

  • Advancing global progress of circular economy: Tupperware has signed on to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastic Economy Global Commitment, committing to a set of concrete 2025 targets and to report progress against these, with the aim to, together with the more than 350 other signatories, help create a circular economy for plastic.
  • Advancing service in disaster relief sites and reducing waste: Tupperware recently announced a partnership with World Central Kitchen, a global nonprofit founded by world-renowned Chef José Andrés, centered on reducing the impact of single-use plastic waste in disaster relief efforts by providing in-kind reusable Tupperware products and logistical support for unforeseen disasters around the globe.

Design

  • Material innovation: In collaboration with supplier SABIC, Tupperware Brands is one of four companies to introduce a revolutionary new material, certified circular polymers, made from mixed plastic waste. Beginning in summer, Tupperware will introduce the certified circular polymers in new products that will be designed to aid in the reduction of single-use plastic products.
  • Product design: All Tupperware products are designed to be used again and again, reducing the single-use plastic that is heavily responsible for harming the environment and minimizing food waste. Products will continue to be designed for increased reusability and will be marketed and demonstrated in a way that increases users’ sustainable practices.

Produce

  • Packaging: By 2025, Tupperware will eliminate the use of single-use plastic packaging when delivering products to consumers by utilizing alternatives, such as packaging made of compostable material.
  • Operations: Tupperware is reducing waste, increasing renewable energy and limiting the amount of water used to operate. Across all manufacturing facilities, Tupperware is targeting zero waste to landfill by 2025.

Reuse

  • Consumption: Tupperware is committed to making products that make it easier for consumers to reduce their own waste by offering single-use plastic alternatives. Through marketing and communication with its sales force, Tupperware said it will continue to educate and inspire consumers to use products in this way.
  • Recycling: Tupperware is enhancing the return process for all its products with the goal that by 2025, 90 percent of returned products will be recycled and repurposed.

“Through our products, operations and our supply chain, we are integrating sustainable practices into all we do,” said Mark Shamley, vice president of global social impact at Tupperware Brands, in a statement. “‘No Time to Waste’ is a reflection of our heritage of reusability and product innovation and takes us into the future as a responsible corporate citizen, dedicated to making a difference in the world around us.”

Solar United Neighbors improves RFP criteria to help solar co-op members choose best installer

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Solar United Neighbors has made an important step to encourage greater corporate responsibility within the solar industry. The organization helps thousands of people each year install solar energy systems on their homes through bulk purchase groups known as solar co-ops. Recently, the organization worked with Florida For Good to update the request for proposal (RFP) process its co-op members use to choose an installer. The changes will help co-op members better account for how prospective installers respect their community, their employees and the environment.

Learn all about solar co-ops, also known as group buy programs, here. 

“Solar co-op members use bulk purchasing power to get a good deal on a quality solar installation,” said Angela DeMonbreun, Florida program director for Solar United Neighbors. “Working with Florida For Good, we’re helping co-op members use that same power to ensure bidding installers share their values in how they run their business and how they impact their community. We are hopeful this will set high standards across the industry.”

Solar co-ops work by members collaborating in order to learn about solar energy and subsequently choose an installer. The co-ops are free to join, and joining is not a commitment to purchase a system. Solar United Neighbors facilitates this process by developing a request for proposal for the installers to bid on as part of an open and competitive bidding process, and a volunteer selection committee made up of co-op members meets to review each proposal. That committee then selects an installer that best serves the needs of the co-op who then develops personalized proposals for each member. Members then review their bids and decide individually if going solar is right for them.

Solar United Neighbors worked with Florida For Good to develop criteria to include in the RFP that gives co-op members a fuller understanding of how the companies bidding on the co-op operate. The new questions screen installers for a variety of items. These range from diversity and inclusion efforts, such as the employment of women, minorities and residents from unemployed or underemployed communities to information about the payment of a living wage in each community where they work.

“The main mission of Florida For Good is to spread the idea that business can elevate humanity when practiced ethically in all aspects, from sourcing to supply chain to final product or service,” said Jared Meyers, co-founder of Florida For Good. “We suggested these changes to the RFP in order to encourage Solar United Neighbors to add even more good to what they do for the planet. They are already accelerating society towards a future with less pollution by making renewable energy options easily attainable for communities, and with this new screening process they can compound upon that good by providing their co-op members with installers that share their values.”

News item from Solar United Neighbors

Orlando bans single-use plastics and polystyrene at venues and parks, including Amway Center, Camping World Stadium and Dr. Phillips Center

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So long, single-use plastics and polystyrenes.

No longer will Orlando or its contractors use items such as plastic straws, bags, cutlery and Styrofoam food containers and cups at city parks and venues.

Citing environmental benefits including the reduction of millions of pieces of trash flowing into landfills and the waterways, commissioners Monday unanimously signed off on the policy.

The policy has been in the works since it was a popular inclusion in the city’s Community Sustainability Action Plan last year.

Plastic straws will be available upon request for customers with disabilities, and gatherings like family reunions and birthday parties with fewer than 100 participants will be exempt, though encouraged to comply.

The move was applauded by supporters at City Hall.

Orlando says it’s the state’s first city to ban all three of plastic bags, straws and polystyrene, though other cities have banned some of the products.

“It’s one of these areas that as a city we strive to lead in, so other governments follow,” Mayor Buddy Dyer said.

Last month, Sierra Club lobbyist Jen Hensley called the proposed policy “pretty innovative” in that the city was regulating itself but said she found the most effective crackdown across the nation included a fee imposed on plastic usage.

A United Nations study estimates 5 trillion single-use plastic bags are used annually, and the nonprofit Eco-cycle estimates 500 million straws are used in the U.S. each day.

The true cost to the policy is unknown, as some of the products have alternatives that cost the same while others cost about 6 cents more apiece.

The policy takes effect Oct. 1.

Have a news tip? You can call Ryan at 407-420-5002, email him at rygillespie@orlandosentinel.com, follow him on Twitter @byryangillespie and like his coverage on Facebook @byryangillespie.

Artifishal film by Patagonia screens in Tampa Bay

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12332 University Mall Ct
Tampa, FL 33612
UNIVERSITYTAMPA
$10

Join St. Pete for Good at a screening of Patagonia’s #Artifishal for a film that explores wild salmon’s slide toward extinction, threats posed by fish hatcheries and fish farms, and our continued loss of faith in nature. A Q&A follows. Half of all proceeds will benefit IDEAS for Us, a non-profit environmental solutions organization.

Watch the trailer.

Legacy Vacation Resorts All In with Business for Good Approach

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In March, Orlando, Fla.-based Legacy Vacation Resorts (LVR) announced that it had officially achieved Certified B Corporation status. Clean the World, also in Orlando, is another organization that has achieved the B Corporation designation. If you do a search on Hospitality on the B Corporation site, you will find just 15 businesses listed. Among them: Taos Ski Valley, Inc., Qbic Hotels, and the Sleeping Lady Resort. Other hospitality-related businesses can be found under other categories such as Catering & Meeting/Event Management and Travel & Leisure. There are currently more than 2,500 Certified B Corporations in more than 50 countries. One of the most well-known companies: Patagonia, Inc.

This past week I had an opportunity to meet with Jared Meyers, Co-Owner of LVR. Jared is very passionate about the Certified B Corporation program and is doing everything he can to spread the word about it. Jared co-founded the Florida for Good movement, which funds free resources and events to facilitate the spread of business for good and the Certified B Corporation program. Since its inception, LVR has donated more than $50,000 to Florida for Good’s charitable endeavors, with Meyers also dedicating a significant amount of his personal time and income to its growth.

“B Corporation looks at the entire business and how it treats the environment, community, employees and governance,” Meyers says. Participants first complete the free B Impact Assessment. While using the Assessment, one can set goals for improvement, compare one’s performance to similar companies, and learn best practices pulled straight from the Certified B Corp community. The assessment is evaluated by B Lab. Participants are asked to supply supporting documentation. As one example, Meyers says LVR had to submit proof, by county, that it pays its employees a living wage.

A Reasonable Annual Fee

Once the Assessment and supporting documentation is validated (a minimum score must be met), a business can become a B Corporation. There is a reasonable annual fee scaled to the size of the business. Fees start at $500 a year. Companies with more than $1 billion in annual sales will pay $50,000 or more. Participants must recertify every three years. There is no initial onsite audit, but one can occur over time. Representatives of B Corporations gather annually at a Champions Retreat. There are also regional gatherings.

In addition to its Certified B Corporation Status, LVR is a member of 1% for the Planet and donates 1 percent of sales to charitable causes. LVR also offsets the carbon footprint of the stay of each guest who books through the LVR website. LVR offers an option for guests to donate 5 percent of their reservation to a charity of their choice and has a goal of reducing its carbon emissions by 25 percent by 2025. The company is doing that through retrofits as it renovates its properties—LED lighting, water-saving fixtures, insulation, occupancy sensors and more. The company is also a partner of Conscious Capitalism International, an organization that maintains a philosophy based on a simple idea that when practiced consciously, business innately elevates humanity.

“With these various internal changes, partnerships and our B Corp certification, I sincerely believe we will experience company growth, as well as an additional type of traveler at our properties,” said Meyers in a press release announcing the B Corp certification. “These new travelers will share our values and place importance on social responsibility, environmental responsibility and sustainable travel when it comes to selecting their accommodations. I am looking forward to the relaunch of the brand and the many ways in which the company will contribute to the greater good for years to come.”

Legacy Vacation Resorts becomes first B corporation certified multi-state hospitality company in the US

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLA – Florida-based Legacy Vacation Resorts (LVR) has officially achieved Certified B Corporation Status, becoming the first multi-state hotel and vacation ownership company in the country to secure the prestigious designation. Administered by the non-profit, B Lab, Certified B Corporations are businesses that voluntarily meet the highest standards of social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose through third-party review. The certification for LVR comes on the heels of a year-long process to align every aspect of the company with B Lab’s requirements. In that time, LVR has introduced multiple efforts towards a more sustainable business model, including carbon footprint offsetting, waste reduction and enhanced recycling efforts, sustainable lifestyle awareness campaigns, green-focused renovation projects and a living wage initiative for employees in its eight locations across four states.

Certified B Corporations, or ‘Certified B Corps’ are accelerating a global culture shift by building a more inclusive and sustainable economy through a redefinition of success in business. Certified B Corps use profits and growth as a means to achieve positive impact for their employees, communities, and the environment. In order to secure the designation, Certified B Corps must achieve a minimum verified score on the B Impact Assessment, a rigorous appraisal of a company’s impact on its workers, customers, community, and environment, that will ultimately be made public on their website for complete transparency. Furthermore, the certification does not simply prove where a company currently excels, but actually amends legal governing documents for the business, committing ownership to consider stakeholder impact and the balance of profit and purpose for the long term.

“At the start of this journey, I simply began researching ways that I could utilize my resources and abilities to improve society. Through that process, I learned of others directing the prosperity of their businesses towards the greater good,” said Jared Meyers, Co-Owner of Legacy Vacation Resorts. “The most credible businesses doing so were Certified B Corporations. They stood out to me because of their wholistic view of the business, the rigorous verification of business practices, and their values aligned with mine. I am beyond excited to be part of the team that achieved this distinguished certification for Legacy Vacation Resorts.” 

Hoping to inspire other organizations to follow a similar path, Meyers co-founded the Florida for Good movement, which funds free resources and events to facilitate the spread of business for good and Certified B Corps. Since its inception, LVR has donated more than $50,000 to the group’s charitable endeavors, with Meyers also dedicating a significant amount of his personal time and income to its growth. As part of their missions, LVR and Florida for Good encourage companies to take the free impact assessment so they can learn how they measure up against other businesses and learn about the areas in which they can most improve.

Each of the new initiatives introduced as part of the certification process led to the debut of a shift for LVR toward a more sustainable legacy. As part of these efforts, travelers can now offset 100% of the carbon footprint from their stay when booking directly through the resort. In addition, the company offers an option for guests to donate 5% of their reservation to a charity of their choice. Furthermore, they have forged a partnership with Clean the World, another Certified B Corp, that recycles their used hygiene products and repurposes them back to vulnerable communities around the globe. They are also working on their existing buildings to create green renovations by utilizing eco-friendly materials and energy star appliances and fixtures, and they supply electric vehicle chargers at each property, further encouraging the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Internally, they are creating a culture of sustainability with employees by encouraging them to make sustainable choices in their daily lives, making a commitment to spend $300,000 annually on raises to ensure each employee is paid a living wage and offering opportunities to receive paid time off in pursuit of volunteer activities as part of their “Day of Hope” campaign launched in 2018.

“This brand relaunch showcases our commitment to a more sustainable future,” said Tony Picciano President & Chief Operating Officer. “We are so pleased to have been officially awarded our B CorpTM Certification and look forward to the continued implementation of sustainability efforts throughout each of our properties. Our mission at Legacy Vacation Resorts is to help families and friends create unique and lasting memories on their travels in a way that is respectful to the environment, employees and the communities where they are found, and we feel that we will now be able to deliver on that mission better than ever before.”

In addition to becoming a Certified B Corporation, LVR is the only multi-state hotel company to be a member of 1% For The Planet, a network of more than 1,500 member businesses, numerous individuals, and thousands of nonprofit partners in more than 40 countries. The organization is fostering a global movement, inspiring businesses to support environmental solutions by making a simple commitment to donate 1% of their revenue sales to various charities working in one of six core focus areas including climate, food, land, pollution, water, and wildlife. The company is also a proud partner of Conscious Capitalism International, an organization that maintains a philosophy based on a simple idea that when practiced consciously, business innately elevates humanity.

“With these various internal changes, partnerships and our B CorpTM certification, I sincerely believe we will experience company growth, as well as an additional type of traveler at our properties,” said Meyers. “These new travelers will share our values and place importance on social responsibility, environmental responsibility and sustainable travel when it comes to selecting their accommodations. I am looking forward to the relaunch of the brand and the many ways in which the company will contribute to the greater good for years to come.”

A plan for a sustainable St. Petersburg

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Published April 8
Updated April 8

Tampa Bay Times reporter Elizabeth Djinis ended her story on the long-range threat of climate change to our shorelines by asking, “Does sea level rise seem like a distant future or an oncoming reality?”

I’ll get around to answering that question in a moment.

Local sea levels in Tampa Bay rose 7½ inches from 1950 to today, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NOAA reports that sea level locally is rising by 0.11 inches (2.8 mm) every year, a pace that may not seem frightening to some but still portends to the cancer-like appetite of climate change: It eats away at global and local environmental stability, sometimes little by little (“sunny day” flooding in Miami, for example) and sometimes big chunks at a time (several U.S. communities are slipping into the sea). In the Tampa Bay area, places with repeated flooding — or repetitive loss areas — that are exacerbated by climate change-induced sea level rise include St. Petersburg neighborhoods Shore Acres and Riviera Bay.

But if a silver lining could be found on the dark clouds looming on the horizon, it’s that St. Petersburg and hundreds of other cities across the country and all over the world have joined the fight against climate change. Cities are the largest consumers of the world’s energy and account for more than 70 percent of global greenhouse gas emission. Buildings and transportation in urban areas are the major culprits of CO2 emissions, a leading cause of global warming.

Climate change may be a global problem, but solutions are being driven at the local level.

The city of St. Petersburg recognized its responsibility to take action a few years ago and has drafted a comprehensive strategy for significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions and transitioning to clean energy, while simultaneously addressing its vulnerabilities to the changing climate conditions that are already emerging. In my role as a senior planner with the planning, environmental and engineering firm VHB, I worked with the city to complete its first greenhouse gas emission inventory, and to develop a clean energy road map and actions for equitable sustainability and resilience in the St. Petersburg Integrated Sustainability Action Plan. The City Council is scheduled to vote on the plan April 18.

Under the plan, the city’s key targets are:

• 20 percent greenhouse gas emissions reduction by 2020;

• 100 percent reliance on clean energy by 2035;

• 80 percent greenhouse gas emissions reduction by 2050.

Meeting these goals will impact almost every aspect of our everyday life, from the energy we use to the buildings we work and shop in to how we get from Point A to Point B. Cities large and small across the world have committed themselves to making similar audacious transformations, all with the common goal of slowing the rise of temperatures and sea levels.

Being bracketed by water, St. Petersburg has no time to lose in its efforts to help combat the global challenge that is climate change. Bloomberg Philanthropies agreed as much when it recently named St. Petersburg a winner of its American Cities Climate Challenge. The award comes with $2.5 million in expertise and resources to help accelerate the city’s quest to meet its ambitious greenhouse gas emissions reduction and clean energy targets.

I’ve studied the recorded data taken from Tampa Bay and worked with various community stakeholders on the sustainability action plan, and it is obvious that sea level rise and other effects of climate change are a current reality, and communities that address the problem head-on will also have positive impacts to its environmental, economic and social environments.

Ben Siwinski lives in Petersburg and is managing director of VHB’s Tampa and Sarasota offices.

Lake Nona Brings First Autonomous Shuttles to Orange County this Spring

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Beep, a new Florida-based company that provides autonomous mobility solutions, announced an exclusive dealer arrangement for the state of Florida, with NAVYA, the global leader in the autonomous vehicle (AV) market and smart and shared mobility solutions. In addition, the companies announced their innovative development partnership for shared mobility and AV research through which Beep will lead testing and pilot deployments of NAVYA’s driverless and fully electric AUTONOM Shuttle in the state of Florida.

Headquartered in Lake Nona, a smart community within the City of Orlando and Orange County, Beep is collaborating with the innovative master-planned community to bring the first autonomous shuttles to Central Florida with service expected to begin this spring.

“Lake Nona continues to be a model of what a smart and connected community can accomplish,” Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings said. “Bringing the first all-electric autonomous shuttles to Central Florida is a defining moment for the future of transportation in our region and will help position Orange County as a place to demonstrate new, innovative technology.”

Beep was founded by experienced fleet managers and technology entrepreneurs and offers the next generation of services for passenger mobility to fleet operators in planned communities and low-speed environments across the public and private sector. From route planning to on-board interactive services, Beep’s autonomous mobility platform provides safe, efficient movement of passengers between defined locations on private and public roads.

“The interest in our autonomous mobility solutions from transportation hubs, medical and university campuses, airports, town centers, and other similar use cases has been overwhelming,” said Kevin Reid, Beep’s co-founder and a technology entrepreneur with more than 25 years of experience in innovations that have driven successful startups that have reached more than a $1 billion valuation. “Our suite of services and solutions, underpinned by NAVYA’s cutting edge technology, will further Lake Nona’s smart city vision by providing an innovative, green and intelligent mobility solution to its residents and visitors.”

The introduction of NAVYA’s AUTONOM Shuttle in Lake Nona will be the first step toward integrating new mobility technology into the region. Autonomous shuttle service in Lake Nona will begin this spring and will feature two shuttles each with a dedicated operator on board. The AUTONOM Shuttle can hold up to 15 people and will travel on fixed routes within the Lake Nona community at speeds of up to 16 mph. The shuttle is designed to improve productivity and ease road congestion in urban centers while also optimizing navigation and passenger safety. All of Beep’s autonomous vehicles deployed in the U.S. will be monitored by the company’s state-of-the-art operations center headquartered in Lake Nona.

​”Tavistock’s continued efforts to bring new and innovative solutions to Lake Nona is part of our mission to create an enriching environment that ensures residents, businesses and visitors have an incredible experience,” said Jim Zboril, president of Tavistock Development Company, the developer behind Lake Nona. “NAVYA’s driverless shuttles and Beep’s autonomous mobility solutions provide an intelligent, fluid, and environmentally-friendly transportation option. We look forward to integrating this new shuttle service into our larger Move Nona transportation plan to make it easy for people to explore Lake Nona.”

Founded by the international investment organization Tavistock Group, Lake Nona is a nationally-recognized forward-thinking, smart city within the City of Orlando. By prioritizing revolutionary technology, strategic partnerships, education and wellbeing, Lake Nona is dedicated to finding solutions that improve the lives of its employees, residents and visitors. Lake Nona also serves as a living lab and model for the future of communities. Lake Nona’s multimodal transportation strategy – Move Nona – creates a seamless, efficient mobility network throughout the 17-square-mile community providing a variety of ways to get around.

Lake Nona is already home to miles of paved and unpaved trails, electric vehicle charging stations, bike share programs, community shuttles and a car share program featuring Tesla Model 3s for its latest multi-family development, Pixon, set to open in 2019. Specifics regarding the inaugural routes and launch date for Lake Nona’s autonomous shuttle will be announced soon.

Photo Caption: [R-L] Beep Co-Founder Mark Reid, Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings, Orange County District 4 Commissioner Maribel Gomez Cordero and Tavistock Development Company President Jim Zboril join Beep, NAVYA and Lake Nona to announce their innovative development partnership, Move Nona, the first all-electric autonomous shuttles in Central Florida.