As Green As They Come

Nicole Kibert wants to save the planet

Published in 2009 Florida Rising Stars — June 2009

For Tampa attorney Nicole Kibert, "going green" is a lifetime pursuit. As a child, she fretted about animals losing their habitats. She was also influenced by her dad, one of the earliest engineers of energy-efficient "green" buildings. In high school, Kibert decided it was time to take some action of her own.

"We had an organization called 'Save What's Left,'" she says. "We ran our own recycling program. For not very much work, you could have a tremendous impact. ... Those experiences made me realize it was possible to have an impact and encourage and recruit others."

Kibert earned a bachelor's degree in biology at George Washington University and a master's in ecology at the University of Florida. She also spent time in Macedonia with the Peace Corps.

"They use a form of the Cyrillic alphabet," she says. "It's like your own secret language. You can take notes and no one knows what you are writing."

Kibert was drawn to the law as the environmental movement was on the upswing. She earned her law degree from the University of Florida and in 2003 joined Carlton Fields in Tampa.

Soon Kibert was heading up an effort to "green up" the firm, then to ascertain that their vendors had sustainability programs. At Carlton Fields, the measures include waste reduction, use of recycled projects, energy efficiency, and the purchase of renewable-energy credits.

"If we want our clients and vendors to go green," she says, "we have to do the same thing in our own operations."

Kibert's work in real estate finance and development involves planned community and condominium projects, giving her the opportunity to offer advice on making projects environmentally sound.

"Green building has been the most successful environmental movement in the 21st century," she says. "We can invest in a high-performance [energy-efficient] building and actually save money in operations: Wait a minute, that makes business sense.

"The reality is, you can have a fantastically beautiful green building office, just as well as a traditional building office."

Kibert recently received a lifetime service award from the U.S. Green Building Coucil's Florida Chapter, whose goal is to make green buildings available to everyone within a generation.

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