FORT BELVOIR, Va., July 1, 2011 -- Board members from Fairfax County supervisors toured the Fairfax Village Neighborhood Center June 21, 2011.

The board members received an overview of the energy conservation innovations that were built into the neighborhood center and other residential areas on post from Casey Nolan, Fort Belvoir Residential Communities, LLC, project director.

The neighborhood center has water-efficient features, like drought-tolerant plants; energy-efficient features, like solar panels that convert sunlight into electricity; recyclable features like aluminum roofing and tile flooring; as well as environmental quality features that include non-toxic, low-emitting, formaldehyde-free finishes and products like paints, carpets and adhesives.

“We wanted to redevelop not just the homes, but create communities and create sustainable communities so that, as a long term partner with the Army, the houses we build are going to be around for 40 or 50 years,” Nolan said. “So, we put the extra time and thought into the best building materials, sustainable materials, things to help lower energy consumption.”

The neighborhood center, finished in 2009, was part of a renovation and development project that began in December 2003. The center has been graded by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, the nationally accepted benchmark for design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings, created by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Based on the LEED certification system, the neighborhood center has achieved platinum certification for achieving 70 to 80 percent of the possible certification credits.

Nolan said the feedback on the neighborhood center has been very positive.

“The purpose of this building is for not only the property management team to have an office and a maintenance office to serve families,” said Nolan. “But, also to have that large space and meeting room so people can rent it out for birthday parties, celebrations, meetings and even wedding receptions. The space itself is very functional.”

Tony Fontana, marketing and community relations manager for the Southeast Fairfax Development Corporation, was impressed by the innovations built into the neighborhood center.

“It was one thing to hear about the new developments and it’s another thing to see them,” Fontana said. “It is phenomenal some of the tools being used and how they have been incorporated into the Belvoir community.”

Among the other features offered at the neighborhood center are bike racks and parking spots for hybrid vehicles. These features are designed to encourage carpooling among the residents.

“While this neighborhood center serves the immediate neighborhood near here, any family on post can rent it out for use,” said Nolan. “If you live in Lewis Village, you can come here, and if you carpool with your neighbors, you get a prime parking spot out front.”

Five villages, Woodlawn, River, Jadwin Loop, Gerber and Belvoir were renovated while nine more, including Herryford, Lewis, and Fairfax villages were constructed.

Nolan said the energy conservation innovations used on post are also being used in residential areas outside post.

“Hopefully, a big benefit of privatization is to take those best practices from what’s being done outside the gate and bring them here,” said Nolan. “Whether it’s the town center in Herryford Village, that you might find in old town Alexandria, to sustainable buildings and encouraging people to carpool.”