The U.S. Green Building Council released their annual rankings of top states in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design buildings on Jan. 23 and the state of Virginia is 2012's top state.
Virginia improved from third to first in 2012 with 170 projects and 29,709,574 square feet of LEED certified space.
Fort Belvoir contributed to the top ranking thanks to the construction of the Fairfax and Woodlawn Village Community centers, Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, the Office of the Chief Army Reserve Building, U.S. Army Legal Services Agency building, and the Warrior Transition Battalion barracks.
"I'm from Virginia, which is normally considered a business-friendly state but not environmentally conscious," said Marc Russell, Fort Belvoir Directorate of Public Works, environmental planner. "So, I like to see Virginia create an environment to where the builders are focusing on sustainable environmental design."
Clarke Realty Capital built the community centers in Fairfax and Woodlawn villages, and is proud to have contributed to Virginia earning its top ranking, according to Casey Nolan, Clarke Reality Capital Project Director.
"Clark Realty is proud to be a partner of the Army as we improve the quality of life for all servicemembers and their Families at Fort Belvoir," said Nolan. "Delivering sustainable homes and amenities are a part of our mission and important to respect the environment."
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell is also thrilled with the state ranking number one in the USGBC rankings, according to Paul Logan, Office of Governor Bob McDonnell deputy director of communications.
McDonnell signed the High Performance Building Act into law in 2012 to ensure that state public buildings meet the LEED standard.
"The governor believes that energy-efficient building is good for the environment and good for our bottom line," said Logan. "The Fort Belvoir Community Hospital campus used many locally sourced and sustainable materials. The governor appreciates the leadership of Garrison Commander Col. Gregory D. Gadson in seeing that these projects come to fruition."
There are six categories for achieving LEED certification -- sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovation and design. Each project earned points for meeting criteria within each category.
Russell said DPW's role in the development and construction of all the LEED-certified projects on post is to see that all the certifications are being met, and offer suggestions on which categories each project should earn points.
Given the current fiscal climate in the United States, Russell and DPW feel it is best each project earns points through energy savings.
"Money is everything and these buildings use energy more efficiently than our older buildings," said Russell. "The better we use our dollars, the more money we save."
Russell added the improvements in the interior design of the buildings shouldn't go unnoticed. The type of carpet, paint and door material used in the buildings contribute to LEED points earned, and the health and safety of people in the buildings.
"If you are going to spend nine hours-a-day at work, you want to make sure you aren't inhaling toxic paint fumes or carpet fumes," said Russell. "You have a healthy environment to work in and that just translates into happy people."
Maintenance procedures are in place for Fort Belvoir's operations contractors to keep the LEED buildings sustainable for many years, according to Russell.
"These buildings are going to be fine to work in for the next 30-40 years," said Russell.

Page last updated Fri February 8th, 2013 at 12:40