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NOVA a leader in green buildings

Northern Virginia Community College is transforming its campuses with “green” buildings. Thanks to the foresight of NOVA faculty and staff, new buildings at the College will be state-of-the-art examples of environmentally friendly and energy-efficient construction that will ultimately give NOVA one of the largest collections of green buildings in the region.

The initiative began in 2006 when NOVA’s College Senate adopted a resolution urging that all new construction be designed to meet the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standard for green construction.

“The Senate then formed the Committee for Environmental Concerns, also known as the Green Committee, which developed a set of recommendations and submitted them to President Robert Templin and NOVA’s Administrative Council,” said Dr. Ray Bailey, chair of the Green Committee. “When they agreed to make new construction as environmentally friendly as possible, the stage was set to move forward.”

The newest building at NOVA’s Annandale Campus was already in the design phase when NOVA decided to “go green” but enough alterations were made to meet the standard for LEED certification. The 90,000-square-foot building contains instructional space, student services, administrative functions, café, bookstore and police headquarters.

Parrish Hall, currently under construction at the Manassas Campus, will add 55,000 square feet of academic space and offices plus 2,500 square feet for a new bookstore. Planned after NOVA instituted its green initiative, Parrish Hall incorporates many sustainable construction elements and will meet the more rigorous LEED Silver certification when it opens.

The Woodbridge Campus will begin construction soon on two buildings featuring geothermal heating and cooling systems, another milestone as NOVA establishes itself as a leader in the growing movement toward greener buildings.

Sustainable elements incorporated into the design of these buildings include low-flow plumbing fixtures to reduce water use, efficient heating, cooling and ventilation, daylighting to reduce reliance on electric lighting, indoor air quality management during construction, low-emitting materials for better indoor air quality, recycled and regionally manufactured materials, recycling of construction waste, native and adaptive plant species, and rain gardens and storm filters for stormwater management.

In the near future, NOVA plans to expand the Brault Building at the Annandale Campus, replace the Tyler Building on the Alexandria Campus, build a Workforce Development Center at the Woodbridge Campus, and add a Higher Education Center on the Loudoun Campus. All will be designed to LEED Silver standards.

“The scale of new construction offered a historic opportunity for NOVA to assume a position of leadership in this area and, to our credit, we did the right thing,” Bailey said. “When this ambitious program of construction is completed, NOVA’s campuses will be models of environmentally friendly design with a significant number of LEED-certified buildings that few public or private institutions in the region can match.”

To learn more about NOVA’s green efforts, contact Bailey at rbailey@nvcc.edu or 703-257-6683.

Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through NOVA Online. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College's Web site, www.nvcc.edu.