Going Green: Virginia Beach Visitor Center Earns LEED Gold Standard

 Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 8.02.40 AMVIRGINIA BEACH—The Virginia Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau (VBCVB) recently announced 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. The facility is 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 its 2010 LEED Gold certification under a more stringent rating system ad- opted by the U.S. Green Building Council. Both facilities are owned and managed by the City of Virginia Beach.

Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 8.03.15 AMAccording to the VBCVB, the resort-area Visitors Information Center welcomes 45,000 people annually. Recent upgrades to this facility included energy-efficient (LED) lighting, and new heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment that lowered electrical costs. The VBCC, a facility that held 327 events attended by more than 583,000 people in 2014, also saw new upgrades to lighting and to building automation systems which reduced electricity usage and reduced its electric bill $42,000. Cultivation of an onsite vegetable garden, improvements in water efficiency and the diversion of more than 140 tons of waste from landfills through recycling and composting helped to secure necessary certification points.

“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.”

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