Going for gold status: The link achieves dream as environmentally friendly building


One of the things Raghu and Gurpreet Misra, owners of the link, pride themselves in is the fact that the link is a hub of innovation and community.

In the three years since being established, the link has proven to be just that and the latest example came during a ceremony on June 27, where the link received an award for the building achieving gold status by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification system.

LEED is a certification system founded by the U.S. Green Building Council and it is the most widely used green building rating system in the world, with 197,000 LEED projects worldwide in 186 countries and territories.

“Our goal was to be nothing less than gold,” Raghu Misra said.

Although gold status is very rare with the link being the first in Ponte Vedra and one of less than a handful buildings in St. Johns County, it was the top priority for the Misras when devising a building plan.

“There were two motivating factors for why we wanted to do it,” Gurpreet Misra said. “Our motivation was to bring the best indoor environment quality to our occupants, because my older son has asthma and Raghu has asthma. The second thing, was that we wanted to reduce as much carbon footprint for our building as possible, and we have exceeded it.”

According to Raghu Misra, the LEED certification does not just come through the application of a buildings design and the difference it makes, but it is a very intense and drawn-out process that requires in-depth documentation.

He credited his wife for being the one that did the work to push it across the finish line and get them to where they are today.

“Since the building was built I’ve been living that process every day,” Gurpreet Misra said. “The day I got the e-mail with the news, I just couldn’t believe it. Getting that plaque and sharing it with the community is like getting a degree.”

They hope that more businesses and developments in Ponte Vedra and St. Johns County will follow suit and use the link as an example to show that environmentally conscious buildings are worth the investment moving forward.

Matt Taylor with Serrafin Master Builders and Mike Koppenhafer with Fisher Koppenhafer Architecture and Interior Design both played major roles in the construction of the building and were in attendance to see the link get recognized.

“Raghu came to us and had this vision in mind,” Koppenhafer said. There was a lot of thought that went into the space, and this is an exceptional building because a cookie-cutter owner, who just wants to push out a building space, Raghu is not.”

According to Koppenhafer, it was refreshing to hear the Misras’ vision for the space and something that as an architect he embraced.

“It’s nice to do a space that has so much life in it,” Koppenhafer said. “Kudos to Raghu and his team to do this thing to this level.”

There are many ways the link went about gaining points in the LEED system with their design decisions, but one of the most impressive is probably the lighting throughout the facility.

According to Koppenhafer, an average building’s expense to power its lights is a couple thousand dollars per month, which equates to roughly $35 to $65 per day.

However, with the link’s lighting system, it costs $3.90 a day on average to light the building.

Koppenhafer and Taylor were both presented awards as well courtesy of the link for their help on the project and for making the dream for the building a reality.

“The building is great, but it’s really all about the human beings behind it,” Raghu Misra said.

The building is 22,500 square feet and features flexible activity spaces on the first level and an open workspace and offices on the second level.