Amanda Komar
3 minute read

USGBC Virginia celebrated local green building leaders at its annual awards ceremony.

The USGBC Virginia community has announced its 2019 Leadership Awards, which highlight projects and people who are transforming the built environment across the state. Recipients are recognized for excellence in high-performance building design, environmental stewardship, community impact and volunteerism.

“Every year, we look forward to seeing the new projects and local leaders who are paving the way toward greater sustainability in our state through green buildings,” said Cindy Zork, director of USGBC Virginia. "This year’s recipients are making our communities safer, healthier and more sustainable for all Virginians. The awards provide an opportunity for our community to come together and celebrate our collective successes while recognizing individual leadership and contributions.”

2019 Leadership Award winners

  • VMI Corps Physical Training Facility, Innovative Design, New Construction Award: The LEED Gold Corps Physical Training Facility at the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) in Lexington provides a year-round space for cadet training and athletic activities. Design considerations, such as bioretention basins, permeable pavement and a vegetative roof, were made to account for the facility’s location near a small stream, to both protect the water quality of the stream and to mitigate storm water surges.
  • Clark Hall—University of Virginia, Building Performance Award: Clark Hall is a LEED Silver mixed-use academic building on the Charlottesville campus and part of the university’s Delta Force Initiative, which works to increase energy efficiency and savings for campus buildings. The renovation included energy and water efficiency measures, as well as the diligent collection of data to track and continually improve sustainability efforts. The Clark Hall project is saving more than 31,505 MMBtus in natural gas and 2,256 metric tons of CO2 equivalent in greenhouse gas emissions each year.
  • Virginia Wesleyan University Greer Environmental Sciences Center, Virginia Environments Award: The LEED Gold Greer Environmental Sciences Center in Virginia Beach houses a thriving, cross-disciplinary sciences program. The center is designed to be a living laboratory for students, where native plantings and constructed wetlands serve as both bioretention basins and hands-on learning for students who study local flora and fauna. These wetlands and other stormwater management features support the university’s goal of being a good steward of the Chesapeake Bay watershed and local community. The energy- and water-saving sustainable strategies contribute to an estimated 71 percent energy use reduction compared to buildings of a similar use.
  • Discovery Elementary School, Community Champion Award: The LEED Gold Discovery Elementary in Arlington worked collaboratively with the school district and building designers to create an integrated facility where sustainability was woven into all aspects of the students’ day. The school’s net zero energy features include a public building energy dashboard to help foster a culture of stewardship and accountability that includes both students and their families. To achieve the net zero energy goal, considerations for site footprint, solar orientation, building construction, water conservation and energy use were given top priority in the design process. In the past year, the school has produced more energy than it used, sending a surplus of 100,000 kWh to the grid.
  • VCU Walter L. Rice Education Center, Green Building Legacy Award: Originally certified in 2009, Virginia Commonwealth University’s (VCU) Walter L. Rice Education Center in Richmond was the first building in Virginia to achieve LEED Platinum. It has been awarded the Green Building Legacy Award for its contribution to the community in Virginia. The Center’s field station is devoted to environmental research, teaching and public service. Its proximity to the James River inspired the project team to design a building that would have minimal impact on local ecosystems. The plantings on the site are all native to Virginia, and the building’s vegetative roof supports sustainable stormwater management.
  • Capital One, Green Leader–Organization: Capital One was selected as the Virginia Green Leader Organization of the year because of its extensive commitment to creating a more sustainable built environment through LEED, as well as environmental commitments to renewable energy, waste reduction, carbon neutrality and sustainable purchasing, among many other initiatives.
  • Chris Fuller, Errol Plata, Allison Powell and Sharlyn Thacker, Green Leader–Volunteer: These four people are this year’s recipients for the Green Leader Volunteer awards because of their exceptional individual and collective dedication to advancing green building in Virginia.
  • The VCU Walter L. Rice Education Center was awarded the People’s Choice Award by attendees at the Leadership awards.

Also honored were the winners of the 2019 Connect the Dots Green Schools Award. This program challenges K–12 schools across the Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia regions to develop and implement the most creative, effective, no- or low-cost sustainable practices for their schools. This year's Connect the Dots Award recipients were:

  • Providence Middle School, Honor Award
  • Girls for a Change, Environmental Conservation Award
  • Binford Middle School, Environmental Education Award
  • First Colonial High School and Lynnhaven River NOW, Creativity Award

The recipients were honored during a celebration at the LEED Gold Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. The event featured a networking portion in addition to the awards ceremony, and Angela Navarro, Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Trade for the state of Virginia, delivered the keynote address.

The state of Virginia continues to be a leader in green building, consistently making USGBC’s annual Top 10 States for LEED, which includes U.S. states with the most square footage of LEED-certified space per capita. In 2018, the state ranked eighth in the country, with 136 commercial projects earning LEED certification, totaling more than 25 million square feet of LEED-certified space, and equaling 3.17 square feet of certified space per capita.

See upcoming USGBC Virginia events