(VIRGINIA BEACH, VA)—The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) today marked the beginning of construction of the Brock Environmental Center, which when completed in 2014 will be the greenest, most sustainable building in Virginia and among the greenest structures in the world.
"Today we celebrate a remarkable moment in time, the birth of a truly unique, cutting-edge building called the Brock Environmental Center," said CBF President William C. Baker at a press conference at Pleasure House Point in Virginia Beach. "We think the center not only will set new standards for sustainable building, but that it also will serve as model for environmental education and community collaboration."
Joining Baker at the event were Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms and other local officials and CBF friends and supporters, including community philanthropists Joan and Macon Brock, whose leadership gift helped make the building possible.
Actual construction of the Brock Environmental Center began several weeks ago, but CBF took the opportunity today to highlight the green, sustainable elements of the building being constructed near the mouth of the Lynnhaven River.
The center is designed to meet the strictest LEED Platinum and Living Building Challenge sustainability standards so that upon completion and operation it will have virtually zero impact on the surrounding environment. It will employ solar and wind power to generate its own electricity, geo-thermal wells for heating, windows designed to catch Bay breezes for cooling, cisterns to catch rain water, flushless composting toilets, and rain gardens and landscaping that eliminate runoff into nearby waterways.
Hourigan Construction also is using cutting-edge building techniques in constructing the center in order to minimize environmental impacts, including toxic-free building materials, solar-powered tools, and paperless blueprints.
Several Virginia Beach school students joined CBF today to place items in a time capsule that will be housed in the Brock Environmental Center and opened in 50 years, when CBF hopes citizens will again enjoy a fully restored Chesapeake Bay. Items placed in the capsule include a Lynnhaven River oyster shell, a scallop shell, fish scales from a striped bass and an Atlantic menhaden, a vial of Chesapeake Bay water, a CBF State of the Bay Report, a plastic shopping bag, photographs, and news clippings documenting the community effort that successfully conserved 118 acres at Pleasure House Point from intense residential development.
When completed in summer of 2014, the Brock Environmental Center will house CBF's Hampton Roads staff and those of Lynnhaven River NOW, provide community meeting and training space, be home to CBF's award-winning environmental education programs in Hampton Roads, and serve as a national model for sustainable building, conservation, and restoration.