Diagram of sunlighting and sunshading. Smith Group JJRDaylighting and sunshading are two of the many energy-saving technologies contributing to the new Brock Environmental Center's "net-zero energy" achievement. Image courtesy Smith Group JJR

Making of a Green Building

Green building is nothing new to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. In 2001, CBF led by example, building the first LEED Platinum certified building in the world—the Philip Merrill Environmental Center, CBF's headquarters in Annapolis, Maryland.

Brock Center architects SmithGroupJJR is a national leader in sustainable buildings. In this video (right), co-leaders Russell Perry, Greg Mella, and Don Posson talk about some of the most significant trends in sustainable design. Trends which have been incorporated into the Brock Center.  Go to our Multimedia page to view larger.

Achieving Net-Zero Water

The Brock Environmental Center will capture, store, and use only as much water as inhabitants need and use during the course of a year. This will be accomplished by reusing rain water for hand washing and by using no-flush Clivus composting toilets.

Rainwater collection cistern. Smith Group JJR Rain Water
Water captured from rooftops will be stored in cisterns and used for drinking water, hand-washing, cleaning, irrigation, and other general uses (pending permit approval). Image courtesy Smith Group JJR
Rain garden. Chesapeake Stormwater

Rain Gardens
Excess rain water will be treated and routed to rain gardens where it will sink into the soil and be naturally filtered. This keeps the excess rain water from picking up pollutants and running off into Pleasure House Creek, Crab Creek, the Lynnhaven River, or the Chesapeake Bay. Photo courtesy Stormwater Management


Composting toilets diagram. SmithGroupJJR

Composting Toilets
Composting toilets will use no water. Human waste will be composted naturally over time to produce a sanitary soil enhancer (compost) for the site’s native landscaping. This saves water and reduces the load on sewage treatment plants that contribute nutrient pollution to our waterways. Liquid waste will be sent to a Hampton Roads Sanitation District fertilizer production facility. Image courtesy Smith Group JJR


Constructed wetlands. Technorati

Constructed Wetlands
All greywater (wastewater generated from sinks and showers) will be treated through constructed wetlands through a process called biofiltration. Greywater will be channeled through a wetland constructed of native plants where natural processes will clean it and return it to the underground aquifer. Photo courtesy Technorati


Achieving Net-Zero Energy

The building will generate as much energy as its inhabitants use during the course of a year by employing photo-voltaic solar roof panels, which will provide 60% of the Brock Environmental Center's energy. The center will also operate two small wind turbines, which will provide the remaining 40% of the energy needed. 

Natural ventilation diagram. Smith Group JJR

Natural Ventilation
To reduce the need for electricity, the building is situated to receive maximum southern exposure for warmth and to take advantage of prevailing winds for natural ventilation. Using the sun’s heat in the winter and natural ventilation during warm months, the heating and cooling systems won’t be needed approximately 15% of the year. Image courtesy Smith Group JJR


Daylighting and sunshading diagram. SmithGroupJJR

Daylighting and Sunshading
Natural daylight from the northern window wall will illuminate the entire building without glare, substantially reducing electric lighting especially the need for overhead lights during the day. The open design also allows daylight to be distributed throughout the building, providing more efficient heating and cooling. Roof and eaves are designed to provide shade in the summer to prevent glare and help further reduce cooling costs. Image courtesy Smith Group JJR


Geothermal heat pump diagram. Planet Save

Geothermal Wells
The design takes advantage of the earth's constant temperature (about 54° in this region) to provide heating and cooling. Geothermal wells create a loop 300 feet below ground. Liquid will circulate through the loop, extracting cool temperatures from the ground in the summer and warm temperatures in the winter. A high efficiency HVAC system is used to distribute air at a moderate, comfortable temperature throughout the building. Image courtesy Northern Weathermakers


Super insulation diagram. Model Group

Super Insulation
Exterior walls, floors, and roof insulation are designed to reduce energy demands by maximizing the building’s insulation envelope, achieving the most efficient R value. Energy modeling indicates that the center's most efficient R value will be R50 for the roof, R35 for the walls, and R31 for the floor. By comparison, R values in insulation for most new buildings typically are R10 to R15. Image courtesy Model Group


Solar panels. Conserve Energy Solar Power
Rooftop photo-voltaic panels will produce approximately 60 percent of the Brock Environmental Center's energy needs by converting the sun's energy to electricity. Photo courtesy Conserve Energy
Wind turbine. Planet Save

Wind Turbines
Two small 10-kilowatt wind turbines will provide approximately 40 percent of the Brock Environmental Center's energy by converting wind energy to electricity. Photo courtesy Planet Save




Recycled and renewable materials. CBF Staff

Recycled and Renewable Materials
Businesses and organizations in Hampton Roads have donated salvaged building materials for various construction components. Mop sinks, wood doors and old bleachers are being reused and repurposed to construct the Brock Environmental Center. Photos by CBF Staff


Red list materials list. Sustainable Business

Red List Materials
To meet the Living Building Challenge™, designers must do more than simply meet net-zero energy and water use requirements. They also must do so without using any materials on the Red List, which includes chemicals and materials considered harmful to humans and the environment. Materials and chemicals listed on the Living Building Challenge’s™ Red List include polyvinyl chloride, chemically treated wood, and halogenated flame retardants, among others.

See how we're doing by checking the Brock Environmental Center Materials Tracking Spreadsheet.

Image courtesy Sustainable Business



Overhead image of Brock Center site. Smith Group JJR Preventing Site Disturbance
The site’s design and construction are predicated on minimal disturbance to the land and water. Automobile parking for visitors and staff will be available in designated parking areas or on city streets. The center is sited 200 feet beyond the water’s edge—100 feet above and beyond Virginia’s standard 100-foot Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act Resource Protection Area. Photo courtesy Smith Group JJR
Satellite image of Pleasure House Point. From dredge spoil to a native landscape. Google Earth

From Dredge Spoil to a Native Landscape
The site had been modified over the years by the placement of millions of cubic yards of dredge spoil from nearby waterways. CBF will restore habitat for local and migratory wildlife by planting native trees, shrubs, and grasses; protecting and restoring wetlands; and conducting oyster restoration activities. Image Google Earth


Stormwater. By Krista Schlyer/iLCP.

Stormwater Runoff
The Brock Environmental Center will be a model for effective, site-based stormwater management, a practical example of the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint in action. It will prevent increases in peak stormwater discharge volume and net increases in stormwater volume and pollutants. Permeable roads and paths will allow water to filter into the soil, while rain garden treatment, rain water harvesting, and water re-use will reduce the volume of runoff and meet pollution-reduction objectives. The site design will ensure that all stormwater that falls on CBF’s property will be filtered through the vegetation and the soil, not flow untreated into local waters. Photo © Krista Schlyer/iLCP



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