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Green summit addresses environmental standards

Plans to define what makes a green marine construction project and to eventually establish specific criteria for certification are under way following the Green Marine Summit, held last weekend in Stuart, Fla.

Organized by the Florida Marine Contractors Association, a non-profit corporation dedicated to improving marine construction, the summit was designed to bring together people in the industry from around the country to discuss the importance of going green.

About 100 people attended the two-day event.

“Clean Marina is more a matter of operations, and the green marine category will include methods of construction and also materials,” FMCA executive director Steven Webster told Trade Only Today this morning, explaining the difference between the two concepts.

Following the conference, attendees decided to come up with green marine standards in the following categories: construction, products, consulting and marinas.

Once these areas have been defined, the group can look toward establishing levels or tiers of green marine, Webster said. He likened it to LEED, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System, which encourages green building practices.

Webster said many people from LEED were involved with this green marine project, and he expects to work closely with the group.

“Anybody who lives on the water or works over the water effectively makes their living from it, and clean water is clearly good for business,” he said. “What we’ve all found over the past several years is that trying to correct bad practices and bad regulations ends up costing money and accomplishes very little. We’d rather take the dollars that have traditionally gone toward lawsuits and apply them toward best practices.”

While people assume it is expensive to build green, Webster says there are often funds or grants available to assist in the process.

“People generally assume this is expensive to do … but we have made incredible strides in a very short period of time with both products and methods of installation that put a very small additional premium on the cost of using sustainable products,” he said.

Webster said he expects there will be future green marine summits to continue moving the issue forward.

The industry, he said, needs to put standards in place before government does it.

“Government will make the wrong decisions,” he said. “We need to get there with sound industry standards based on practical working fundamentals.”

— Beth Rosenberg



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