Renovated office building receives first-ever Florida Water Star Existing Commercial Building certification

Water Star certified building in Jacksonville

The recently overhauled 900 Building on University Boulevard North

The recently overhauled 900 Building on University Boulevard North

PALATKA, Fla., March 8, 2017 — A 43-year-old office building on University Boulevard North in Jacksonville has received an energy and water makeover and is poised to receive the first-ever Florida Water StarSM certification for existing commercial buildings within the St. Johns River Water Management District. District staff expect to issue the certification this week to Custom Builders, which overhauled the seven-story office building to significantly reduce water use.

“Over the past five years, we have seen public supply water use decrease even as our population increases. Changing water use behavior is a long process, and Florida Water StarSM is one of numerous district programs that promotes water conservation,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “I applaud Custom Builders for its commitment to water conservation and for setting a great example for other existing commercial properties.”

The new owners of the 900 Building, Daryl Grubbs and Dick Lundy, worked diligently to achieve the certification. Grubbs and Lundy focused on three main areas to reduce water use. Outdoors, the irrigation system is no longer being used and the existing, well-established plants and trees sustain on rainfall alone. Indoors, the bathrooms have been updated with high-efficiency toilets, urinals and faucets. In addition, they upgraded the HVAC/air conditioning system to use a lower quality water source.

“Custom Builders has been building energy efficient homes and commercial buildings for 40 years,” said Grubbs. “We were using the cutting-edge technologies back in the 70s to offer a true energy saving package on new homes. Custom Builders has always built with efficiencies in mind, and we felt that the 900 Building would be a great location to demonstrate what could be done from an energy and water efficiency standpoint. The proof is in the utility bills with an 80 percent reduction in potable water usage.”

Florida Water StarSM is a water conservation certification program for new and existing homes and commercial developments. Standards and guidelines for water efficiency are included for indoor fixtures and appliances, landscape design and irrigation systems.

The program now has more than 2,500 homes certified. Beyond residential homes, an additional 13 communities were certified, contributing to a total of 4,100 residences.

Information about the program is available online at or by emailing Program Administrator Deirdre Irwin at