(VIRGINIA BEACH, VA)—The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) today began year-long monitoring of the Brock Environmental Center aimed at achieving Living Building Challenge certification, a rare, environmentally demanding designation achieved by only a handful of buildings around the world.
To achieve the rating from the International Living Future Institute, the center must operate a full year using net zero energy and net zero water, among other strict requirements. With its super energy- and water-efficient features, including solar roof panels, wind turbines, geothermal wells, and rain cisterns, the Brock Center is among the most environmentally smart buildings in the world.
"We started the year-long clock at 12:01 a.m. today," said CBF Hampton Roads Director Christy Everett. "Our intention is to operate the center for the next 12 months using no more electricity than what the sun and wind generate and no more water than what rain provides. It will be an enormous challenge, but that's our goal."
In addition to energy and water use, the Brock Center also must meet strict criteria related to five other Living Building Challenge standards, called petals: place, health and happiness, materials, equity, and beauty. All require twelve continuous months of operating data to demonstrate the center meets the International Living Future Institute's strict standards.
"We know there may be some glitches over the course of the year, and we'll deal with them if and when they arise," Everett said. "But we're attempting something few others have ever done. And we invite everyone to join us on the journey to see how we're doing."
The public is invited to follow the progress of the year-long monitoring by checking the Brock Center's online "dashboard," a running, real-time gauge of the building's energy and water use. The dashboard can be seen at cbf.org/brockdashboard.
"When we envisioned the Brock Environmental Center, we intended to raise the bar and demonstrate the built environment can actually give back to the natural environment rather than harm it," Everett said. "We hope the Brock Center can be an international model for sustainability for years to come."
Opening late last year at Pleasure House Point, the Brock Environmental Center houses CBF's Hampton Roads staff and that of Lynnhaven River NOW, a Virginia Beach watershed organization. It also serves as headquarters for CBF's award-winning environmental education programs in Hampton Roads and features meeting space for community discussions and collaboration. This week, Virginia presented a Governor's Environmental Excellence Gold Award to CBF for the Brock Environmental Center.
Partnering with CBF to create the Brock Environmental Center were SmithGroupJJR, Hourigan Construction, Skanska, WPL Site Design, and J. Harrison, Architect.