Center earns environmental certification
July 30, 2009
By Don Dees
- first military project to attain platinum status
- Of more than 3,500 LEED contenders, the council has certified only 167 projects with the platinum designation
- While striving for sustainability, center designers also ensured functionality
FORT BELVOIR, Va. -- Green building practices at Fort Belvoir received formal recognition by a proponent of environmentally friendly construction in a ceremony here Tuesday.
The U.S. Green Building Council presented a plaque to Clark Realty Capital and Fort Belvoir commemorating the Fairfax Village Neighborhood Center's LEED Platinum Certification. The building is the first military project to attain platinum status.
According to a Clark Realty Capital press release marking the event, LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. The program is a feature-oriented rating system that evaluates buildings against specified green-building criteria. Evaluations include site selection, water use, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality and innovation and design. Certification categories are silver, gold and platinum.
Of more than 3,500 LEED contenders, the council has certified only 167 projects with the platinum designation, according to Melissa Gallagher, of the U.S. Green Building Council.
Clark Realty Capital LEED expert Tom Boylan said attention to all the center's details lead to platinum certification. Soy products provide insulation. Energy-efficient compact fluorescent lamps provide lighting. Solar panels and geo-thermal heat further reduce energy consumption. Granite-looking countertops are made from recycled aluminum shavings. Cabinet faces come from wheat stalk while the units are made from sunflower husks. "Even the window treatments are made with green fabrics," Boylan said.
Fairfax Village resident Cody Smith visits the center often for community events. After seeing the facility, she brought her children to see the dAfAcor. "I was completely impressed with the countertops.
This is recycled stuff. This is why we throw the Coke cans in the green bin." The innovation and design in the center provides an example to her children, she said. "For my kids to see that stuff that we consider trash and they are making stuff out of it; that's very important."
While striving for sustainability, center designers also ensured functionality. Village Manager Walli Heinrichs said use of the facility is steady.
"We're almost booked solid. We host monthly breakfasts and pizza parties. There are arts and crafts events for the kids."
Pinnacle Property Management partners with Belvoir's Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation to provide the arts and crafts sessions.
Before presenting the plaque, Gallagher said the neighborhood center is the standard for all buildings in the future. Until then, she said, people will point to the center as an example. "Look. It can be done and it can be done will in a nice space that people want to be in."
In his remarks at the ceremony, Installation Commander, Col. Jerry Blixt said housing at Fort Belvoir is in high demand and buildings like this are part of the attraction. "When I look at this building, I see an attractive structure that will serve military families for decades to come." He commended Clark Realty Capital for striving for the platinum certification, noting that sustainable practices were an indication of good environmental stewardship, but, more importantly, the partnership demonstrated a commitment to Soldiers.
"This partnership has created an ideal setting for our military families," Blixt said.
Clark development executive Casey Nolan acknowledged the partner's commitment to Fort Belvoir families and the importance of centers like the one in Fairfax Village. "This is where you will host your baby showers and birthday parties and community events." He said the neighborhood centers were part of Clark's efforts to provide homes to military families commensurate with their service to the nation.
"We are committed to creating a community - a sustainable community - where military families can live, raise their children and be proud to call home."