January 20, 2010 — The University of Virginia has its first fully LEED-certified buildings.
The Town Center Three building at the University Foundation's Research Park on U.S. 29 has received gold certification, and the Printing and Copying Services building on Old Ivy Road received a silver level ranking. Both designations came from the U.S. Green Building Council, which certified that the structures meet the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards.
The 90,000-square-foot Town Center Three building opened in the summer and houses Mitre Corporation, Northrop Grumman and others. The Printing and Copying Services building was a 15,000-square-foot addition to an existing building.
LEED certification is based on several criteria, including water and energy efficiency, use of materials and resources, indoor environmental quality and innovation in design. The University's Board of Visitors adopted the LEED standards for new construction in 2007.
"The Town Center Three building is the Foundation's first LEED-registered building, and one of the first LEED office buildings in our area," said Tim Rose, the foundation's chief executive officer. "The building was designed to provide the highest quality indoor environment and lowest utility costs while helping to preserve the environment for future generations."
The Town Center building was cited for having highly efficient air-handling equipment, a light-reflective white roof, low-flow and waterless fixtures, motion detectors and high-efficiency lighting. Adding to its certification score, construction waste was recycled and Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood was used, as were recycled and regionally harvested materials.
"Most of this we would have done anyway," said Fred Missel, director of design and development for the foundation.
The Research Park has eight buildings totaling nearly 500,000 square feet, with potential of up to 3 million square feet at full build-out. The park is 562 acres, about 200 of which will remain green space.
While the Town Center Three building was free-standing, the Printing and Copying Services building is an addition to the existing building. PCS Director Kelly Hogg said the new addition has a highly efficient climate control system, a flat roof with a white rubberized surface that improves heating and cooling, skylights to introduce more natural light into the building and insulation.
"I've still got about four inches of snow and ice on the roof, so I know the insulation is working and I'm getting a good return on my energy use," Hogg said last week. "I'm loving this building."
The original section of the building once housed duck-pin bowling lanes. Terrace Bowl operated from 1959 until 1980, when it was sold to the University. U.Va.'s Printing and Copying Services moved there in the mid-1980s.
While the LEED certification is coveted, University Architect David J. Neuman said many of the elements are common sense and U.Va. has been incorporating them into its buildings.
"A lot of this would have happened without LEED," he said.
Having gone through the process once will help with future certification applications, he said. To streamline its applications, Neuman said the University is incorporating several LEED standards into its routine design process.
"There are benefits to having a well-designed campus, from a site perspective, sustainability, bicycle and pedestrian traffic, and stormwater management," Neuman said. "These are worth 15 to 20 points in the certification and we want to standardize them."
There are several buildings in the pipeline for which the University will seek LEED certification, including the South Lawn Project and Bavaro Hall. The application process and certification review, which begins once the building is occupied, takes several months to complete.