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VCU's Rice Center Awarded LEED Platinum Certification
April 15, 2009

“Virginia Commonwealth University’s”: (VCU) Walter L. Rice Education Building at the VCU Rice Center is the first building in Virginia to be awarded the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED platinum certification, the highest sustainability rating possible. The $2.6 million education building opened last October at the Rice Center, VCU’s 343-acre living laboratory on the James River southeast of Richmond in Charles City County, and houses lecture and laboratory rooms for classes, a conference room and administrative offices. The 4,900-square-foot building features sustainable strategies for efficient energy use, lighting, water and material use.

LEED certification of the building was based on a number of green design and construction features that positively impact the project itself and the broader community, including rain gardens to collect and treat storm water runoff and a vegetated roof system to reduce heat island effect and storm water runoff. Energy usage is reduced through geothermal heating and cooling; high efficiency lighting; and high insulation levels that rely on soy-based products and recycled denim. The building promotes efficient water use through dual flush and power assist toilets that operate with rainwater collected in a series of cisterns. Pre-engineered, on-site wastewater treatment results in advanced, clear and odorless effluent infiltrated into nearby wooded areas. Rapidly renewable products were featured in construction, including sorghum paneling, recycled steel and gypsum board. Seventy-five percent of the construction waste materials were diverted from landfills by recycling.

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