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Sustainability and Built Environment

How the built environment interacts with and shapes our land, air and water directly affects the health of our residents and the quality of life in our communities. Components of a sustainably built environment include energy conservation, structural stability, architectural and civil engineering aesthetics, urban design and property operation and maintenance. Build codes, design standards, planned developments and educated owners, builders and inspectors are necessary for keeping the character of our built environment safe, healthy and thriving for future generations of Orange County.

Solar Tree Installation at the Orange County Convention Center
Progress on our goals & strategies

Goal 16: Energy And Water Are Used Efficiently

Strategy Time Frame Strategy Progress Information for 2017 Progress
1. Provide incentive programs for increasing efficiency in new and existing buildings Medium Sustainable Development Awards were given covering the topic of energy and water efficiency. Energy efficiency training and information about regional funding programs were provided to neighborhood groups within the County.
2. Promote existing energy assessment services and rebate programs offered by utility providers Medium Supported the "Central Florida Battle of the Buildings" challenge, which provides training in energy and water efficiency to building managers along with training college students to assist with benchmarking. Partnered with FL-SUN to form a solar co-op in which residents received energy education.
3. Energy monitoring in automation in commercial and residential buildings
*strategy change being recommended
Medium No change in this reporting period.
4. Adopt an energy benchmarking and disclosure ordinance for commercial buildings Medium Participated in stakeholder outreach and roundtables for the City of Orlando's Building Energy and Water Efficiency Strategy ordinance. Orange County is benchmarking County buildings that fall within the ordinance.
5. Develop incentives for green building Medium Buildings labeled 'green' by USGBC receive expedited permitting reviews. The Central Florida Workplace Challenge rewarded businesses that had green operations.
Table legend: Short time frame: 0 to 2 years, Medium time frame: 2 to 5 years, Long time frame: 5 years or more.

Goal 17: Our Renewable Energy Supplies Are Affordable And Secure

Strategy Time Frame Strategy Progress Information for 2017 Progress
1. Participate in financing programs, such as Property Assessed Clean Energy and Solar Energy Loan Fund Medium No change in this reporting period.
2. Continue to expand the existing landfill gas reutilization system
*new strategy as of May 2017
Medium Orange County has an award-winning landfill gas reutilization system, turning a greenhouse gas into a source of fuel. In an agreement with OUC, the system will be expanding to supply more landfill gas to the Stanton Energy Center.
3. Identify and reduce barriers to alternative energy Short The Building Safety Division developed an electronic permitting process for rooftop solar permits called SUN. Part of the County’s FAST TRACK online services system, it allows registered users to submit electronic plans and pay fees on multiple permits simultaneously. Includes a permitting checklist for electrical permit for residential rooftop solar PV systems.
4. Promote an increase in solar power through solar co-ops and other solar aggregation programs
*new strategy as of March 2017
Long Orange County partnered with several groups to form a solar co-op. Informational events and educational programs were offered. Produced largest number and capacity of solar installations in Florida to date.
Table legend: Short time frame: 0 to 2 years, Medium time frame: 2 to 5 years, Long time frame: 5 years or more.

Goal 18: Our Neighborhoods Are Transit-Ready And Walkable

Strategy Time Frame Strategy Progress Information for 2017 Progress
1. Retrofit suburban strip malls into neighborhood centers Long The OrangeCode development code revisions will include standards allowing for this type of development.
2. Advance pedestrian friendly and complete street principles in new and existing developments Medium On-going capital improvement projects by the Public Works Department will address pedestrian needs (sidewalks, ADA compliance, crosswalks, signals) county-wide that are funded annually. Draft changes to Orange County code for pedestrian safety/ADA compliance to be completed in 2017.
3. Use a shared-parking matrix in activity center areas Medium The shared-parking matrix was adopted for the I-Drive District and will be used for Pine Castle after adoption. It will also be used in other upcoming Urban Centers.
4. Modify regulations to develop transit-ready communities Medium Included in the OrangeCode Project.
5. Establish context-sensitive development standards Medium Included in the OrangeCode Project.
6. Consider conservation subdivisions in the Rural Service Area Medium Received report from Urban Land Institute on Conservation Subdivisions. Task complete.
Table legend: Short time frame: 0 to 2 years, Medium time frame: 2 to 5 years, Long time frame: 5 years or more.

Goal 19: Infill And Redevelopment Are Encouraged

Strategy Time Frame Strategy Progress Information for 2017 Progress
1. Develop a prioritized list of sites most ready for redevelopment Medium Vacant land assessment tools are being developed.
2. Support temporary creative neighborhood uses for vacant properties and greyfields Medium Included in the effort for Safe Neighborhood Zones.
3. Calculate return on investment for new development and provide regulatory and financial incentives to encourage infill and redevelopment Medium Assessment tool in development.
4. Modify land development code to encourage sustainable development Medium The OrangeCode project is currently in the second of three phases. The I-Drive District and Pine Castle District are the first two target areas that will serve as pilot projects for the OrangeCode update.
5. Promote and encourage local food production Medium Cooperative Extension Division has an ongoing Urban and Rural Farming/Cottage Food Industry education and consultation program targeting entrepreneurs.
Table legend: Short time frame: 0 to 2 years, Medium time frame: 2 to 5 years, Long time frame: 5 years or more.

Goal 20: Workforce Housing Is Affordable And Readily Available

Strategy Time Frame Strategy Progress Information for 2017 Progress
1. Consider the impact of urban form on transportation cost, as well as housing cost Medium Currently part of the Affordable Housing Summit and workshops.
2. Incorporate workforce housing in areas served by transit and in mixed-use development areas Long The Pine Castle District is the first TOD in the County with a planned inclusionary housing and density bonus near the Sand Lake Road SunRail station. Scheduled for adoption early 2018.
3. Encourage a live-near-your-work or employer-assisted housing financial incentive
*strategy change being
Long No change in this reporting period.
4. Establish land trust for workforce housing with a location-specific approach
*strategy change being recommended
Long No change in this reporting period.
5. Fund workforce housing with linkage fee on new developments Long A linkage assessment was completed.
6. Provide incentive programs for increasing energy efficiency and recycling in workforce housing projects Medium Projects submitted for consideration to the Housing and Community Development Division receive additional points when sustainable practices are incorporated into the proposal.
Table legend: Short time frame: 0 to 2 years, Medium time frame: 2 to 5 years, Long time frame: 5 years or more.
Our Target Measurements
Built Environment Indicators Baseline 1st Report 2nd Report Current Target 2020
Energy Use Intensity (EUI) of community building stock (kWh/sq.ft.) 2010
25% reduction
Renewable Energy Capacity (MW) 2010
Commercial = 1.20 
Residential = 0.27 (OUC data only)
Commercial = 2.05 
Residential = 0.69
(OUC data only)
Commercial = 2.10
Residential = 1.54
(OUC data only)
Commercial = 2.15 
Residential = 3.06
(OUC data only)
*as of 9/30/17
10% increase
Renewable Energy Capacity in Orange County buildings (MW) 2011
20% increase
Water Use Per Capita (gal/day/capita) 2010

*new data source being established
25% reduction
Community Gardens in neighborhoods 2011
Not Set
Want to get involved?

Our built environment includes many different elements of building design, efficiency, aesthetics and stability along with land use and planning, affordable housing and local food production. Bringing together so many aspects within our communities will help us ensure a safe, connected and thriving place for all residents.

Ready for Solar?
Solar panels on a roof

Orange County recently sponsored a solar co-op for residents interested in using solar energy for their homes. The main goal of the co-op was connecting homeowners and solar installers to make the process easy to understand and affordable. Members can save as much as 20% of the cost of a solar system. Join the Florida solar conversation and see if you are Ready for Solar too!

Green your Neighborhood!
Close up of plants growing in soil

Having a community garden is a great way to forge relationships in your neighborhood, reduce crime, raise property values, promote stewardship and encourage healthy eating. Start a garden in your community by seeking the guidance of the many Master Gardeners at University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Extension Orange County.

Ed Thralls (407)254-9200


Tour The Ecomap
Several maps are on display on easels

Being ‘green’ in Orange County is easy and fun. EcoMap can help you find electric car charging stations, ‘green’ dining restaurants, ‘green’ lodging hotels, local harvest farms and Green PLACE properties.

Utilize our Parks and Recreation Centers!
Children playing basketball

There are many opportunities to enjoy the outdoors and get exercise in Orange County. Visit one of the many Orange County Parks and Recreation Centers. You’ll find trails, activities and teams for all ages.