Naples Botanical Garden earns LEED Gold

| by Tony Richardson
Naples Botanical Garden earns LEED Gold

I was fortunate to attend the LEED Gold Certification Presentation to the Naples Botanical Gardens June 23rd held appropriately at the Naples Botanical Gardens and although it was raining quite hard, the old Florida style porch overhangs protected all those gathered from the inclement weather.  When one considers the fact that what used to be a 170-acre patch of grass, palmettos, and palms fronted by a strip mall, is now the first significant subtropical public garden constructed in the 21st century, it is quite a feat.

A little garden history

In 1993, a group of eight Naples residents founded the Garden with nothing more than the dream of creating a world-class botanical garden. In 2000, a gift from the Kapnick Family enabled the purchase of an extraordinary 170-acre site with seven different habitats just south of Old Naples. An existing strip mall and parking lot were transformed into a garden experience to introduce the community to what was to come. In June 2008, the Garden closed to general visitors to begin our ultimate transformation into our existing "Gardens with Latitude" which includes six cultivated gardens, 2.5 miles of walking trails, and 90-acres of native garden preserved.

A completed master plan

The 35,000-square-foot expansion of the existing Naples Botanical Garden helps to complete the overall master plan for the 170 acre site.  The Garden will explore people and plants of the Caribbean, Brazil, Southeast Asia, and, of course, Southwest Florida and incorporates extensive natural areas with developed gardens to create an engaging and varied visitor experience.  Exceptional venues for education and research, internationally significant plant collections and a beautiful context for events relating to art and culture come together in the Gardens.  The project is anchored by a visitor center that includes ticketing, retail, exhibit, auditorium, dining and other visitor amenities.

The garden mission is to create paradise

Paradise: A place of bliss. A region of supreme delight. A state of happiness. Naples Botanical Garden is creating a world class paradise that combines delightful cultivated tropical gardens with beautifully restored natural habitats. The Garden connects people and plants through display, education, conservation and science. It will be a community gathering place and an exceptional venue for exploring our natural world as well as enjoying special events, traveling exhibitions and performances. Now plan your visit!

And LEED Certified buildings

In developing plans for the new gardens and facilities, the Board of Directors was unanimous in its support for creating a project that was environmentally responsible. To this end, they adopted best practices in sustainable design in developing their facilities. These structures are designed to meet the criteria for LEED™ (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold Certification.   For a building to achieve LEED Certification, they must meet the standards for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance.

In the next twenty years, 2.6 million acres of Florida land are likely to be converted to urban use, making Southwest Florida’s remaining green spaces all the more precious to future generations. Naples Botanical Garden’s 170 acres of land have been saved from urban development forever, thanks to hundreds of visionary individuals who overcame countless obstacles to secure the site and dream of the possibilities for our community.

LEED Scorecard GOLD 39/69



What does sustainability have to do with the Garden?

 Sustainability describes ecosystems that thrive in a dynamic balance particular to their place. Each element of a sustainable system balances itself against other aligned and competing elements to create a unique fit within its natural context.

The Garden employs sustainable practices in the garden designs, water use, architecture, horticulture practices, and day-to-day operations in an effort to minimize the impact on the native ecosystems

Put the Naples Botanical Gardens on your bucket list.

I am not impressed very often with anything but maybe GOD’s creations such as a beautiful sunset or maybe my granddaughter and her parents who are raising her correctly, it is a beautiful sight to see.   I am impressed with the Naples Botanical Gardens.  A group of dedicated members of Naples, Florida began many years ago with a vision, a plan, donations and hard work to transform an old strip mall and the acreage of grass, palmettos, palm trees and scrub behind it into a paradise for all to enjoy.  When you consider they planned every inch of plantings, every variety of plant, flower, shrub, and imported all including mature trees. 

The next time you travel to South West Florida, plan on visiting the Naples Botanical Gardens, you will not regret it.  If you need some assistance in directions, finding a room or reservations for the gardens, contact me:

Tony Richardson: [email protected] 

Topics: Certification / LEED, Gardening & Landscaping, Sustainable Communities

Companies: U.S. Green Building Council

Tony Richardson
Having spent over thirty-five years in the new home building, real estate industry has afforded Tony Richardson the opportunity to provide new as well as used homes to hundreds of families from Michigan to Florida. Although he has designed, developed, and marketed his own line of passive solar green houses as a licensed Residential Contractor and launched three major gated communities in SW Florida as a RE Broker, the most exciting opportunities are on the horizon in the Scientific Building industry. Tony believes we have just scratched the surface of the potential to provide healthy, safe, energy efficient, quiet and sustainable dwellings to the new home buyer in the United States. View Tony Richardson's profile on LinkedIn

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