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Coming Soon to a Bay Near You: One of the Greenest Buildings in the World

Shamelessly tooting the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s (CBF) own horn, Bay Daily wants to share exciting plans emanating from Virginia Beach, Va.

Recall last month that CBF successfully partnered with local community advocates, the City of PleasureHousePoint_Cropped (2)Virginia Beach, and The Trust for Public Land to permanently conserve a 100-acre-plus parcel of dunes, marsh, and trees on the Lynnhaven River called Pleasure House Point. Just a few years ago, Pleasure House Point was slated for an intense private development of more than one thousand homes.

Now that the land has been preserved for conservation and recreation, CBF is sharing with the community a plan to construct an ultra-green environmental education/community center on a small corner of the Pleasure House Point parcel. A conceptual rendering of the center is pictured above. CBF’s vision is to create one of the most sustainable, environmentally friendly buildings in the world.

Why? To demonstrate how we humans can live, work, and play beside ecologically sensitive places PHP1like the Chesapeake Bay without causing additional harm to them; to provide a comfortable, even beautiful place for community gatherings; to help educate students, teachers, and community leaders about the wonders and challenges of the Chesapeake Bay; and to inspire them to become better stewards of the natural world.

CBF’s motto is “Save the Bay,” and the center it envisions at Pleasure House Point will be a practical demonstration of how a building can help preserve and protect the Bay watershed. CBF’s goal is for the new center to meet the “Living Building Challenge,” a set of strict environmental standards established by the International Living Future Institute.

To be certified as a Living Building, a project must meet 20 stringent criteria in seven areas – site, water, energy, health, materials, equity, and beauty – and do so for at least 12 consecutive months after opening. The standards essentially require the facility to have “net zero” impact on the surrounding air, land, and water throughout its construction and operation – zero air pollution, zero waste pollution, zero water pollution.

PHPpress4AMThat will be a challenge for CBF, architect SmithGroupJJR and builder Hourigan Construction, but all are excited about the opportunity to create something unique and unprecedented in the region. For when completed sometime in 2014, the Pleasure House Point center will be the only one of its kind in Virginia, among only 18 prospective Living Buildings on the East Coast, and one of only about 150 currently pursuing the Challenge worldwide.

To learn more about CBF’s plans, click here and here. To learn more about the Living Building Challenge, click here.

What do you think about CBF’s plan to build the greenest building in Virginia? To share your thoughts, click here. And stay tuned for more developments as this exciting project proceeds in the coming months.

Chuck Epes
Chesapeake Bay Foundation


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