The Alexandria Renew Enterprises (AlexRenew) Environmental Center in Alexandria, Virginia has received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). Of the 2,364 LEED-certified buildings in Virginia, only 2 percent (51) are LEED Platinum – the highest level possible. It is the first building in the City of Alexandria and Fairfax County to achieve LEED Platinum under the LEED program’s New Construction category.
“In many ways, this certification is credited to the Eisenhower East Design Review Board. They challenged us to pursue Platinum certification, and to do so in a way that met their design guidelines to ensure the building would seamlessly blend into the East Eisenhower corridor’s existing and anticipated architecture,” said Karen Pallansch, CEO of AlexRenew. “The water and environmental educational elements throughout the building, which they encouraged us to include, already have fostered a better understanding of the value of water among those who have visited the Environmental Center.”
The costs of the Environmental Center were borne through an innovative development partnership between AlexRenew and JM Zell Partners Ltd., a real estate developer based in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.
The USGBC’s LEED program is the global standard for assessing a building’s sustainability level. LEED projects earn points by adhering to a variety of building requirements and green building best practices.
Based on the number of points achieved, a project earns one of four LEED rating levels: LEED Certified, LEED Silver, LEED Gold or LEED Platinum. AlexRenew’s Environmental Center, which also serves as AlexRenew’s new offices, received a total of 88 points, eight more than is required for LEED Platinum certification.
Some of the facility’s sustainability highlights include:
- 13 percent of the building’s total energy use comes from renewable energy sources
- 24 percent of its construction products were derived from recycled materials
- a 36-percent reduction in potable water use
“Protecting the environment is at the core of what we do, so it was important that our new offices reflect that mission,” added Karen Pallansch. “This facility was designed to both reduce our environmental impact as well as engage and educate our local community about the role they can play in preserving our local waterways.”
The Environmental Center hosts school groups and teachers, scout troops, adult learners, community organizations, and others who want to become better water stewards. The center’s sixth floor also has conference rooms available for community groups to use. The first-floor educational lobby features museum-quality exhibits that illustrate our community’s connection with local waterways, like the Chesapeake Bay. These interactive exhibits are designed to inspire visitors to conserve water and keep waterways clean and healthy.
AlexRenew partnered with several local businesses for the design and construction of its Environmental Center, including Rust | Orling Architecture, Vanderweil Engineers, SK&A Engineers, LandDesign, Christopher Consultants, MCLA and Clark Construction Group, whose collective expertise in green building made this achievement possible.
To learn more about the facility, please visit alexrenew.com/communityspace.