Florida Trend asks Michael Carlson, Why we build green?

Posted by Thu, Sep 01, 2011

Tags: green, carlson, usgbc, LEED, Michael, renovation

What's the biggest reason your company builds green and the biggest reason your customers say they want to build green?

"Green buildings are better buildings for the money than non-green buildings.  Now that there is a widely recognized, sophisticated way to determine how green a building is, and have that tested and verified by an independent 3rd party (the LEED rating system from the USGBC) we can determine how much better each design is.  We designed our first green building in 2000.  Our clients are motivated differently to build green.  Most like the savings generated by energy and water conservation combined with higher quality of interior space that is healthier to live or work in.  Both are quality of life issues.  Some are motivated to save money while others share our concerns about the future of the planet." - Michael Carlson, AIA, LEED AP BD+C

Florida Trend Magazine, Cynthia Barnett

florida trend

Cancer Support Community Achieves LEED Gold Designation from U.S. Green Building Council

Posted by Wed, Jun 01, 2011

Tags: green, architecture, carlson, usgbc, wellness, cancer, LEED, Michael, Sustainable, sarasota, healthcare, award, florida

May 27, 2011     Sarasota, FL – When it opened last fall, the Cancer Support Community Florida Suncoast’s new facility turned heads with unique architectural elements like the reclaimed 150-year-old Florida pine entry pillars and environmentally-friendly building design.  The 11,142-square-foot building nestled on 2.2 acres of landscaped grounds surrounded by a nature preserve is home to a unique mission: providing free psycho-social support services to anyone affected by cancer.  Now the Sarasota nonprofit and those it serves have new cause for celebration: the building is the first health facility in Sarasota County to earn LEED Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.

“Facilities where health and healing occur are some of the most important construction types to benefit from green building design,” said Rick Fedrizzi, President of the U.S. Green Building Council. “Green buildings seek to reduce use of and exposure to toxic chemicals. For cancer patients with compromised immune systems, that means a healthier environment for healing.”

Carlson Studio Architecture and Willis A. Smith Construction, Inc., the design-build team for the first-of-its-kind facility, will host a LEED Dedication Ceremony to formally recognize the Cancer Support Community’s accomplishment at 11:30 AM on Monday, June 13.  Representatives from the USGBC’s Florida Gulf Coast Chapter will preside at the event.  The ceremony is open to the public and building tours will be available.

“The Cancer Support Community board and staff demonstrated extraordinary dedication and perseverance to sustainability goals as well as adherence to best practice, evidence-based design standards throughout the process.  Their commitment to doing what was in the best interest of their mission and the people they serve was not only inspiring to the design team, but kept us all focused on creating an optimum environment where hope and healing could occur,” said U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Florida Gulf Coast President Michael Carlson of Carlson Studio Architecture.

LEED is an internationally recognized third-party certification program and the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council in 2000, LEED serves as a tool for buildings of all types and sizes. LEED certification offers third-party validation of a project’s green features and verifies that the building is operating to objective design standards. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. 

The Cancer Support Community’s $6.1 million project on a five-acre site just east of Interstate 75 in Lakewood Ranch is designed to be an optimal healing environment, combining healthful materials, art, design and nature in a “green” facility to support people whose immune systems often have been compromised.

The facility was financed through philanthropic donations and grants. “Our community should take great pride in this model facility and in the extraordinary generosity of local donors and foundations during a very difficult period,” said Alfred Rose, campaign chair.

Prior to construction or site design, all project team members, staff as well as program participants met for a series brainstorming, design meetings known as “eco-charrettes” to build consensus for programming elements of the building and to identify desired sustainability aspects and features of the facility.  This collaborative, integrated, whole systems design process helped prioritize and rank the desired healthy, green, sustainable and environmentally-friendly aspects of the building.  Including:

Proper site orientation:  The buildings are perfectly aligned along an East/West axis, so the long sides of the buildings face North and South.  This orientation has a positive impact on all other green decisions because the windows, overhangs and even the placement of the photovoltaic panels on the roof collectively bring the buildings all the advantages of natural light, while maximizing the best use of the sun and minimizing adverse effects such as heat gain.

Energy efficiency and water conservation features reduce the building’s operational costs and conserve resources.

The building is constructed from the most eco-friendly materials – there are no harmful chemicals in the paint, wood, concrete, adhesives, sealants, etc.  This produces a healthy environment for patients with compromised immunity.

The facility is located on a parcel of land located on a nature preserve that takes advantage of nature’s healing properties. The building overlooks a beautiful vista of natural scenery and wildlife.

Sustainable Design/Build Team Members

Architecture: Carlson Studio Architecture

Construction: Willis A. Smith Construction

Civil Engineering: Wilson Miller

Landscape Design: DWY Landscape Architects

Engineering: Stewart Engineering

Structural Engineering: Hees and Associates

Interior Design: TRO Jung/Brannen and Ringling College of Art & Design

Project Management:  Johnette Isham, Capacity by Design

Timeline:  Programming design began in 2006. Construction began July, 2009.  The building was completed and certified for occupancy in October, 2010.
Cancer Support Community Florida Suncoast provides hope, education and support to people affected by cancer, and all of its programs are provided free of charge. Through participation in support groups, informational workshops and mind/body classes, people affected by cancer learn vital skills that improve the quality of their lives and make them better partners with their medical professionals. Since 1996, more than 11,000 individuals have made more than 60,000 visits to the center in Sarasota and at satellite locations throughout the area.  For more information on programs and services:

csc courtyard

leed plaque web


Posted by Fri, May 27, 2011

Tags: architecture, carlson, usgbc, LEED, Michael, Sustainable, nevada, national, Floating

SEARCHLIGHT, NEV. (May 2011) – The National Park Service and Forever Resorts, LLC are dedicating the first floating building project in the world to be registered for LEED® certification on Monday, June 6, at 1 p.m. at Lake Mead National Recreation Area’s Cottonwood Cove Resort and Marina on Lake Mohave.  The building, which will serve as the marina’s operations office, is expected to be certified at the LEED® Gold rating.

“It was a visionary team made up of private industry and government led by our partner Forever Resorts that transformed this idea into action,” said Superintendent Bill Dickinson. “We’re setting the standard for eco-friendly floating buildings. There’s no better place than in a national park to do that.”

“Forever Resorts is dedicated to conservation and environmentally sustainable practices, and we couldn’t be more excited to make history by developing a building that embraces the eco-friendly principles we support,” said John Schoppmann, executive vice president, Forever Resorts. “We will use this building not only to welcome our customers, but also to educate them about sustainable building practices.”

Carlson Studio Architecture, based in Sarasota, FL, was selected to resolve the unique challenge of designing a floating green building based upon their diverse sustainable design leadership.  “Every building type has the potential to perform at a higher level with integrated environmental considerations,” explained Project Architect Michael R. Carlson, AIA, LEED AP. “We jumped at the chance to work with this team to design a first-of-its-kind, first-class marine facility.”

Lake Mead National Recreation Area is the fifth most visited national park in the country and is located adjacent to Las Vegas, the nation’s top tourist destination. Its 1.5 million acres, which includes Lake Mead and Lake Mohave, hosts over 7 million visitors each year. The park offers an unparalleled variety of outdoor experiences, a surprising contrast that complements a Las Vegas or Laughlin, Nev visit. (

Forever Resorts, LLC is an authorized concessionaire of the National Park Service dedicated to providing a collection of destinations that provide hospitality services throughout the world. Forever Resorts focuses on properties with access to nature and one-of-a-kind surroundings for vacations. ( and

Cottonwood Cove Resort and Marina is located 90 minutes from Las Vegas and offers lakeside accommodations, houseboat and powerboat rentals, the Cottonwood Cove Cafe and a full-service RV park. It is situated on beautiful Lake Mohave, part of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, which features miles of unspoiled shoreline, plenty of secluded, sandy beaches, crystal-clear water and consistently high lake levels (

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is an internationally recognized green building certification system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council. (
cottwood cove web


Posted by Mon, Jan 10, 2011

Tags: green, architecture, LEED, Michael, Sustainable, sarasota, pool, fitness


Our newest project the Sun N Fun Indoor Pool & Exercise Center will be seeking LEED-NC Gold certification. Here is a little teaser of the project.

The project includes a large indoor pool, aerobics room, weight training center, as well as a mind / body therapy studio. Green features include large amounts of natural lighting, geo-thermal cooling, a planted green roof, solar water heating, and rain water storage for irrigation and flushing.


ABC 7 covers the Cancer Support Community's Grand Opening

Posted by Wed, Oct 20, 2010

Tags: carlson, wellness, cancer, Michael

by ABC 7,

LAKEWOOD RANCH - For those diagnosed with cancer, the fear of the unknown can be terrifying.  In Florida, it's estimated more than 100,000 people will be diagnosed with cancer this year alone.  Here on the Suncoast, we're fortunate to have a state of the art cancer support center.

The new facility was dedicated Tuesday and will now be able to serve thousands more cancer patients and their families.  They used to be called the Wellness Community of Southwest Florida and they used to operate out of a strip mall on Clark Road.  But now the newly named Cancer Support Community has a brand new facility in Lakewood Ranch, about three times the size.



Support system: The Cancer Support Community's new building

Posted by Mon, Oct 18, 2010

Tags: green, architecture, carlson, usgbc, lakewood ranch, wellness, LEED, Michael, sarasota, healthy building

By Harold Bubil, Herald Tribune

If anything, people who have just been given a cancer diagnosis need a friend.

At the Cancer Support Community Florida Suncoast's green new facility in Lakewood Ranch, architect Michael Carlson has given them eight, in the form of 500-year-old pine logs serving as support posts. He says they are like "old friends."

Recovered from river bottoms, the logs are the distinctive architectural feature of the $6.1 million building, which will be dedicated Nov. 12 with a black-tie gala. The four, 30-foot-tall main posts support a 156-foot-long archway -- "the bridge of hope" -- that peaks at 35 feet above the building's courtyard, linking the structure's two sections.

"They have so much warmth and character to them," said Carlson, one of the region's leading green architects.

"When you walk in here, these are sort of like your old friends ... who have been here forever and are solid as a rock. You can touch them and feel them. They have that sense of permanence."

"Place matters" to cancer patients, says Johnette Isham, one of the leaders of the "Building Hope" construction program.

Several design charrettes and a lot of research went into the design of the 11,142-square-foot CSC. Senior Vice President Jay Lockaby said one of the research points "was to make an arrival experience, to have an obvious point of entry for someone new to the place. To have a ... warm environment for them to come into."

CSC program participant Dawn Moore, a breast cancer survivor, says there's "a very peaceful sense" in the new building.

That is fitting, as the CSC's mission is to provide psychological and social support to cancer patients and their relatives and caregivers, free of charge. CSC is part of the largest professionally trained network of cancer support facilities in the world, resulting from a merger of The Wellness Community and Gilda's Clubs, named for the late comedienne and ovarian cancer victim Gilda Radner.

The spaces include a meditation and exercise studio, a library, an education room, an art studio for children to encourage self-expression, gallery spaces, an Internet café, counseling and meeting rooms of various sizes; a large multiuse room for events, fundraisers, yoga and tai-chi, with a teaching kitchen (good nutrition is stressed); and outdoor areas for tai-chi, dining and healing gardens.

The complex has restful vistas of a nature preserve that is part of Schroeder-Manatee Ranch.

Color choices replicate colors found in nature, which is believed to be more beneficial for cancer patients.

"A lot of that thinking came from the Ringling College class," said CSC board member David Shaver. "One of their senior classes devoted an entire semester to this building. They did the original color palette."

"The group rooms are quiet, with a living-room feel, but you know you are not at home," said Lockaby. "This is where we do support groups, primarily, and individual and family therapies."

The building, intended as it is to foster better health, includes many of the standard green features that make up the United States Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) program. Carlson expects that the building's design has earned enough "LEED points" to qualify for the LEED-NC (new construction) Gold certification.

reclaimed wood column
read more...  

Sarasota Green Architect Joins Sarasota Housing Authority

Posted by Mon, Oct 18, 2010

Tags: green, architecture, carlson, usgbc, Michael, sarasota

Sarasota, FL — Architect Michael Carlson, a leading green building design professional, has joined the board of directors of the Sarasota Housing Authority (SHA) to fill the remaining three-year term of former City Commissioner Richard Martin, following his resignation from the SHA.

“Michael Carlson will bring valuable experience and skills to our governing body,” said SHA Executive Director Bill Russell, upon the announcement.  “For an organization that is dedicated to building communities, empowering families and transforming lives, incorporating sustainability practices has become a real priority for us in staying true to our mission.”

A 1986 graduate of Ball State University’s College of Architecture and Planning where he also earned a bachelor of science in environmental design, Carlson was one of the first architects in Florida to achieve the LEED Accredited Professional designation in 2003.  He is a founding board member of the USGBC Florida Gulf Coast Chapter where he presently serves as Chapter vice president.  In 2009 he was the founding chair of the Myakka River Branch of the USGBC Chapter.  Carlson is a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Florida Gulf Coast Chapter, and chairs the chapter's Committee on the Environment (COTE). He also serves as Chair of the Green Business Leadership Council for the Greater Sarasota Area Chamber of Commerce.  His Sarasota-based firm, Carlson Studio Architecture, is housed in a 1930’s-era neighborhood grocery that he retrofitted.  The building earned LEED-NC Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council in 2007 and the firm has won several honors for exemplary green building design for its work with government facilities, educational institutions, residences, office buildings, non-profit organizations, restaurants, interior tenant build outs and healthcare facilities, as well as religious architecture. Carlson was the architect for the 2009 HGTV Green Home.

The Sarasota Housing Authority (SHA) was established as a public housing authority in 1938 under Florida statute to administer federal housing assistance for low, very low and extremely low-income families. Presently SHA provides subsidized housing for over 1,800 low-income families in Sarasota, FL. SHA administers an annual budget of over $10 million with a staff of 26.

michael carlson

Public Housing Project Experiences Green Rebirth

Posted by Fri, Oct 15, 2010

Tags: green, carlson, usgbc, LEED, Michael, sarasota, community center, multi-family

October 12, 2010 (Sarasota, FL)  Like a phoenix, a Sarasota housing project that had fallen into disrepair has been given a new, green lease on life. The Community Center at Janie’s Gardens recently received news that the project has earned LEED-NC Silver Certification from GBCI/U.S. Green Building Council.  A dedication ceremony is being planned for later this fall.

The completed first phase of the project has enjoyed praise from residents and housing groups.  In commenting on the announcement, Community Center architect Michael Carlson congratulated the City and the Sarasota Housing Authority.  “With the project’s green credentials established, Sarasota is making great strides in realizing its sustainability goals and providing a healthy facility for resident and neighborhood gatherings.  This is an accomplishment that the whole community can take pride in,” he said.

In addition to the newly-certified affordable housing project, there are currently six other green-certified buildings located inside the City limits. Carlson continued, “This recognition also demonstrates an important value in Sarasota: That everyone deserves healthy, highly-efficient buildings that save energy and conserve resources.  This project is a testament that Sarasota is willing to invest in providing access, showing leadership and making decent housing an attainable right for all its residents.”

The Janie Poe Community Center provides community service functions for residents of the new "Janie's Gardens" housing development. The Sarasota Housing Authority is redeveloping the existing Janie Poe community as a multi-phase project. Partners on the project include Torti Galas and Partners of Washignton D.C., Michael's Development Company (MDC), and civil engineering services provided by King Engineering. Stewart Engineering provided electrical, mechanical and plumbing engineering. Phase 1 of the redevelopment included 87 new multi-family residences in addition to the new Community Center.

The Community Center contains offices, a multipurpose room, computer labs, a media center, maintenance garage and a fitness center. The design incorporates deep porches for community gatherings as well as informal meeting spaces for the residents. The east side faces out on to an extensive green space that includes a children's play area and picnic facilities.

As part of the sustainability score the community center earned to receive its LEED-NC Silver certification, the facility features a highly efficient heating and air conditioning system, solar hot water production, it uses reclaimed water for toilet flushing, incorporates insulated and shaded glass, and has clerestory windows on the north facade to allow natural daylight inside which reduces the need for electric lighting.

Michaels Development is currently working on the redevelopment of the remainder of the Janie Poe site, as well as the redevelopment of the Bertha Mitchell and Orange Ave/The Courts sites.

LEED community center

describe the image


Cancer Support Community to Open

Posted by Tue, Oct 12, 2010

Tags: green, architecture, carlson, usgbc, wellness, cancer, LEED, Michael, sarasota, community center, jedd, heap

The Cancer Support Community's "Building Hope" will officially open next Tuesday October 19th, 2010. The $6.1-million facility is located on five acres in north Sarasota County just east of I-75 in Lakewood Ranch. It will be run by the Cancer Support Community Florida Suncoast, the new name for the Wellness Community of Southwest Florida. The new center will include an 11,142-square-foot building and 2.2 acres of landscaped gardens. The facility is being designed to support people whose immune systems have been compromised.

The Building Hope project is seeking Gold Certification under the USGBC's Leadership in Energy and Enviromental Design (LEED) green building rating program.

building hope front

Michael Carlson has been appointed to the Sarasota Housing Authority Board of Directors

Posted by Fri, Sep 17, 2010

Tags: architecture, carlson, Michael, sarasota, studio, Announcements, housing


Sarasota, FL (September 15, 2010)—The Sarasota Housing Authority (SHA) is announcing that its governing body has undergone some significant changes. First, John Colón, a Senior Vice President with Wells Fargo Advisors, was elected Chair of the Board at the agency’s Annual Meeting on August 4, 2010. Also elected that day was a new Vice Chair, Mary Anne Servian. Servian, a former Mayor and currently the Business Director for the Sarasota Ballet, is one of two new commissioners to be appointed this year.

In addition to Servian, who filled a vacancy left by Jude Levy, Michael R. Carlson, AIA, NCARB, LEED BD+C was appointed September 7, 2010 to fill a vacancy left by the resignation of Richard Martin. Carlson, a regional green building design professional, is president of Sarasota-based sustainable design firm, Carlson Studio Architecture. In addition, Valerie Buchand, SHA Agency-wide Resident Council President, was reappointed to a four-year term after completing her initial two-year term. The seven current SHA commissioners are: John Colón, Mary Anne Servian, Valerie Buchand, Michael Carlson, Veavie DeLaughter, Duane Finger and Joseph Miller.

“I want to thank Jude Levy and Richard Martin for their service to the Housing Authority. They were both active in chairing committees and brought a real commitment to the board. I also want to thank Duane Finger, our outgoing Chair, and Veavie DeLaughter, our outgoing Vice Chair. They did a tremendous job leading the agency during our post-HUD Receivership period these past two years,” Chair John Colón said.  

 “We are so pleased that Mary Anne Servian, Michael Carlson and Valerie Buchand have been appointed to our board. They each bring very valuable experience and skills to our governing body. I am also confident our new Chair John Colón will lead the board to continue the tremendous resurgence of the Sarasota Housing Authority,” said Bill Russell, the SHA Executive Director.

The Sarasota Housing Authority (SHA) was established as a public housing authority in 1938 under Florida statute to administer federal housing assistance for low, very low and extremely low-income families. Presently SHA provides subsidized housing for over 1,800 low-income families in Sarasota, FL. SHA administers an annual budget of over $10 million with a staff of 26.

Michael Carlson