South Florida cities are fighting climate change

When it comes to climate change, perhaps no other region in the nation has as much to lose as South Florida – Miami and Miami Beach in particular. With each year, King Tide flooding becomes increasingly extreme and creeps into more and more neighborhoods, and herculean efforts are underway to adapt city design and pump water back into the ocean.

It should come as little surprise that cities are also fighting back with initiatives that promote green building – and the investment is yielding results. A recent CBRE study, in conjunction with Maastricht University, has Miami in the top 20 for green commercial real estate.

What does it take to be a green city?

Despite an abundance of sunshine and palm trees, Miami wasn’t so quick to embrace green building standards. Cities like New York and San Francisco were among the first. But today, more and more cities, including those in South Florida, are offering green initiatives.

Miami is now ranked at 15. A combination of smart public policy and support from investors and owners helped jumpstart the city’s green efforts – and the work is paying off. Looking at LEED-certified and Energy Star-certified buildings, researchers report:

  • 12.29% of Miami’s commercial real estate is certified as green. (The current leader, Chicago, has 18.06%.)
  • That translates into 33.91% of total square footage in green buildings.

Going green is constant work

Climate change is a hot topic. There remain doubters out there, so it takes a particular amount of dedication on the part of public officials to continue moving forward with an eye on the future. That future, according to some predictions, may not be so bright – everything from devastating superstorms to submersion, with 2.5 million Miamians becoming refugees.

It is, so to speak, an uphill battle for city leaders – but they have taken proactive steps through the Office of Miami Sustainable Initiatives:

  • LEED Silver certification is required for new construction over 50,000 square feet, with density bonuses for projects exceeding green building certification levels;
  • There is expedited permitting for green building projects;
  • Some existing properties may qualify for financing for improvements to energy efficiency, renewable energy installations, and hurricane hardening; and
  • Other incentives and rebates are available through local and state initiatives, as well as through Florida Power and Light.

The bottom line is also the bottom line

When real estate goes green, the environment is not the only thing saved. There are financial savings, as well. Through the use of environmentally superior building materials and the installation of energy-efficient and water-conserving systems, businesses have seen savings in a variety of areas, according to Miami-Dade Green:

  • 15% – 30% savings on cleaning costs;
  • 35% on energy; and
  • 20% – 60% on water.

Additionally, Miami-Dade County, Miami, and Miami Beach have joined forces with The Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities. As a member of this network, the area is eligible for funding and support, as well as sharing in the knowledge base of member cities from around the world.

Connecting you to green properties

Morris Southeast Group loves South Florida. It’s why we live, work, and play here – and why we’d like to see it around for many, many years to come. Our team of professionals can help you find the property of your dreams and connect you with green initiatives that will help you, the community, and our future.

For a free consultation, call Morris Southeast Group at 954.474.1776. You can also reach Ken Morris directly at 954.240.4400 or via email at