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Sustainability case study
Skanska provided program management services for the state-of-the-art, $10 million, 10,000-SF Environmental Education Center on Pleasure House Point in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The center houses office space for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) and local conservation partner Lynnhaven River NOW. It also includes space for community meetings and CBF’s award-winning environmental education program, which provides outdoor watershed experiences for 2,500 students and teachers across Hampton Roads each year. The Brock Environmental Center has achieved both LEED Platinum and Full Living Building Certification v2.0™, a rare designation that requires that the building be so in tune with its site that it has “net zero” impact on the surrounding land, air and water. As such, the center is the first of its kind in Virginia and among only 18 prospective Living Buildings on the East Coast.
Through substantial conservation efforts (using 80 percent less than a typical building of the same size) and onsite generation (solar photovoltaic panels and residential wind turbines), the project produces 83 percent more energy than it uses. Innovative technology, such as composting toilets, helps the building use 90 percent less water than a typical office building. Rainwater is collected and filtered on-site for use as drinking water – making this the first commercial building in the U.S. permitted to do so.
As a leader in Living Building Challenge (LBC) certification and working in collaboration with the owner, designer, and construction team, Skanska facilitated "green charrettes," which outlined sustainable design elements and materials approved for use on the project, and "red-list charrettes," which outlined unhealthy materials and chemicals to be excluded from the project. Skanska was responsible for overseeing the success of the project on behalf of the owner, helping to facilitate proper LEED and LBC administration and providing insight for innovation with regard to sustainable design and construction practices.
Awards Achieved: Virginia Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award; NR Best of the Best; Association of Builders and Contractors – Overall Excellence; Fast Company: Year’s Most Optimistic Project; and AIA COTE – Top Ten
Pamela MonastraSenior Director SE CommunicationsSkanska USA Inc.+1 404 946 7533
E-mail Pamela Monastra
Service: Program Management
Market segment: Building, Recreational, Education, Community centers
2015 Governor's Environmental Excellence Award
Sponsored by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation - Brock Environmental Center received the Gold Medal Winner Award.
Sustainable Buildings Industry Council, 2016 Beyond Green High Performance Building Honor Award
Engineering News-Record (ENR) Best of Best Projects, 2015 Best of the Best Green Project
Commonwealth of Virginia, Gold Medal, 2015 Governor's Environmental Excellence Award
Association of Builders & Contractors (ABC) 2015 Award of Excellence, Best Institutional Building
Association of Builders & Contractors (ABC) 2015 Overall Excellence in Construction Award
Engineering News-Record (ENR) Mid-Atlantic, 2015 Best Project, green Project
Engineering News Record (ENR) Mid-Atlantic, 2015 Best Overall Safety Project
Hampton Roads Association for Comm'l Real Estate, 2015 Award of Excellence, Best Sustainable Project
Hampton Roads Assoc. for Comm'l Real Estate, 2015 Award of Excellence, Best Master Planned Project
Hampton Roads Assoc. for Comm'l Real Estate, 2015 Juror's Choice Award
The Brock Environmental Center was designed to meet the Living Building Challenge,™ a rare designation that requires that the building be so in tune with its site that it has “net zero” impact on the surrounding land, air and water. As such, the center is the first of its kind in Virginia and among only 18 prospective Living Buildings on the East Coast.
Living Building Challenge
With only a handful of local construction projects following the Living Building Challenge’s guidelines,The Brock Environmental Center is the first project to be registered within the State of Virginia.
The challenges were many, as this team was a green pioneer. Take, for example, that the 10,000-square-foot building collects rainwater, then filters and re-uses it as drinking water to help achieve net-zero water use. As far as we know, that’s a first for a commercial-scale building in the U.S., and it required the facility to be certified as a water treatment plant. Early in design, the project team engaged both the City of Virginia Beach and the Virginia Department of Health to make certain that they could legally re-use water in this way. After much constructive back and forth, that system is running today – and that water tastes great!
Ensuring that only proper materials were used on this project was another considerable challenge. With the Living Building Challenge, materials must be locally sourced and must not contain any of the 22 potentially harmful materials or chemicals on the Challenge’s Red List. The Brock Center is Skanska’s second Living Building Challenge project, following Seattle’s Bertschi School Science Classroom that we completed in 2011. (The Bertschi classroom was awarded Living Building certification in 2013, becoming the world’s fourth Living Building.) Being able to tap the resources of our Bertschi School team was a great starting point and ongoing resource for the Brock center team. However, Brock involved different materials and a later Living Building Challenge version, so the Brock team still had to do substantial legwork to ensure that all products met requirements. You can never start early enough on materials research, but thankfully for this project our committed partners of SmithGroupJJR and Hourigan did great work in this regard.