Lee Cooke

The Central Florida region honored green leaders during its annual awards program.

To the rave reviews of attendees, the Central Florida region of USGBC Florida honored the best of the best during its annual 2018 LEEDership and Battle of the Buildings awards program.

The region's sixth annual celebration recognized outstanding projects, inspirational businesses, dedicated individuals and instrumental USGBC and community members who are leading the way to a more sustainable built environment in the greater Orlando community. Nearly 100 guests attended the awards ceremony on April 14, at the LEED Gold UCF Alumni Center in Orlando.

2018 LEEDership Award winners

  • Most Outstanding Project, LEED for New Construction: Lake Nona USTA Office Building
  • Most Outstanding Project, LEED for Core and Shell: AIPO Spec Office Building C
  • Most Outstanding Project, LEED for Existing Buildings: UCF Alumni Center
  • Most Outstanding Project, LEED for Homes: Northwind by E2 Homes
  • Most Outstanding Sustainable Program: Valencia College Poinciana Campus
  • Most Outstanding Sustainable Program, Commercial: Greater Orlando Aviation Authority
  • Most Outstanding Sustainable Program, Education: Millenia Gardens Elementary School
  • Green Community Hero of the Year: Curtis Wade
  • USGBC Central Florida Member of the Year: Mike Hess

USGBC Central Florida also honored and recognized those facilities that performed best in their respective categories for the 2017 Central Florida Battle of the Buildings Challenge:

  • Commercial: City of Orlando—College Park Neighborhood
  • Hotel: Westgate Resorts
  • Medical: Valencia College—Allied Health Services
  • Mixed-use: Florida Hospital Central Florida South Region—Florida Division Executive Office Adventist Health System
  • Public assembly greater than 10,000 square feet: City of Orlando City Hall
  • Public assembly less than 10,000 square feet: Volusia County Agriculture Center Auditorium
  • Warehouse greater than 100,000 square feet: Prologis—Beltway Commerce Center
  • Warehouse less than 100,000 square feet: Orange County Convention Center / Remote Operations Building
  • Best overall: Water Reduction—City of Winter Park / Public Safety

Vince Briones Scholarship

A third, special award category was an emotional one for much of the USGBC Central Florida community. The inaugural Vince Briones Scholarship for a UCF student was presented to Hannah Hollinger. The scholarship is in memory of the late Vince Briones, who was instrumental in the Central Florida green building movement.

Donors from Central Florida and Texas funded the scholarship. Hollinger, who is pursuing her master's degree at UCF in environmental studies and urban and regional planning, was the unanimous selection from among several very worthy candidates. Her application outlined campus and personal activities that exemplified Briones' passion for green buildings and his desire to educate others to transform the building industry. Attendees were honored that Briones' wife, mother and brother flew in from Texas to attend this first presentation.

Keynote speaker

Donnel Baird, of BlocPower in New York, highlighted the evening of recognition and appreciation for the Central Florida green building community as the event's keynote speaker. Baird's inspiring presentation focused on BlocPower's development of community energy projects in inner cities, and how his organization aggregates such projects into portfolios large enough to attract environmentally minded investors, who eventually hires local residents to make the improvements.


In addition to the awards presentations and keynote address, the celebration included a pre-event reception, dinner and networking with industry professionals from throughout Florida. The LEEDership program raised funds to support educational activities and programs hosted throughout the year by USGBC Central Florida.Sponsors were the City of Orlando, Abney + Abney Green Solutions, TLC Engineering for Architecture, DLR Group, and Panasonic City NOW.

LEEDership Awards winners were selected by a panel of industry experts from around the country. Submissions were sent to the judges "blind," without any identification of project or team or LEED achievement. Submissions were judged purely on specific criteria and merits.