Date of Award

Spring 2016

Thesis Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Honors Bachelor of Arts


Environmental Science


Dr. Michelle Stecker

Committee Member

Dr. Richard Lewin

Committee Member

Dr. Joeseph Siry


Orlando, Florida, is home to 85 building projects that have received a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification and 74 projects that are in the process of seeking certification. Over 90 percent of these 159 buildings have been or are being rated by LEED commercial standards. This paper argues that while LEED has played a valuable role in encouraging environmentally sustainable design in the Orlando commercial sector and will continue to be a significant presence in sustainability discussions, local government legislation can assist the end-goals of LEED by promoting more localized initiatives. The benefits of LEED certification include reduced operating costs, higher productivity and health standards for occupants, efficient use of resources, and higher quality site care. This paper analyzes these benefits and suggests that they can be achieved with alternatives/supplements to LEED as well. Six case studies were conducted, three of Orlando businesses that had decided to seek LEED certification for their buildings and three that could have potentially been expected to but did not. The studies found that a lack of LEED certification did not mean a lack of environmental sustainability within the business and that the LEED seal of approval is often sought because it is an expected marketing feature.

Rights Holder

Katrina Zdanowicz