Beach operates first visitor center nationally to earn LEED® Gold in Existing Buildings category; Convention Center renews LEED® Gold certification
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (September 3, 2015) – The Virginia Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau announces that the Visitor Information Center, located at the resort area near the I-264 entrance, has obtained LEED® Gold certification for the first time in the building’s 25 year history and serves as the first visitor center in the U.S. to secure Gold status for existing buildings. At the same time, the Virginia Beach Convention Center (VBCC) has successfully renewed their 2010 LEED® Gold certification under a more stringent rating system adopted by the U.S. Green Building Council. Both facilities are owned and managed by the City of Virginia Beach.
The resort area Visitors Information Center welcomes 45,000 people annually. Recent upgrades to this facility included energy efficient light-emitting diode (LED) lighting and new heating, ventilation & air conditioning (HVAC) equipment that lowered electrical costs. The VBCC, a facility that held 327 events attended by over 583,000 people in 2014, also saw new upgrades to lighting and to building automation systems which reduced electricity usage by 539,352 kilowatts and achieved a $42,000 reduction in the electrical bill. The upgraded building automation system provides real time thermographic color images to illustrate occupant comfort and provides live energy use data. An onsite vegetable garden, improved water efficiency and the diversion of more than 140 tons of waste from the landfill through recycling and composting assisted in securing necessary certification points.
As technology and equipment continue to improve, standards for LEED® certification become more rigorous. “Under the new guidelines, the certification points that were challenging to achieve the first time around were still the most challenging points to obtain again,” said Kimberlee Dobbins, sustainability coordinator for the VBCC. “What has improved the most since 2010 is the culture of our workplace. Through simple changes in our behavior throughout our workday, we’ve been able to see advances in green cleaning, energy savings and recycling.”
The certification process was a joint effort by the City of Virginia Beach Energy Management Office, Department of Public Works, and the Virginia Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau. LEED® certification, which stands for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, recognizes high-performing facilities that have the most sustainable building strategies and practices in place for energy and resource-efficiency, increased building value, decreased utility costs and healthier indoor environments. The program was established by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to encourage green strategies in designing, constructing, maintaining and operating buildings. For more information on LEED® certification, visit www.usgbc.org/leed. To learn more about the many sustainability initiatives at the VBCC, visit www.visitvirginiabeach.com/conventioncenter.