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Southern Environmental Law Center

Last certified on:
Certification level: Gold

Project info

Size24,682 sq ft

With a mission to protect the basic right to clean air, clean, water, and a livable climate, it was important that the Southern Environmental Law Center’s (SELC’s) new regional headquarters in Charlottesville reflect their values. The project involved a full-floor tenant fit out of the 27,000 square foot fourth floor of a newly constructed mass timber office building in the downtown core of Charlottesville, Virginia. 

LEED Silver certification was established as a project goal.  The headquarters achieved LEED v4 ID+C CI Gold certification in August 2022 and features many replicable sustainable green building design strategies, practices, technologies, and products.

An urban infill site in Charlottesville was selected to provide more sustainable alternatives to single-occupancy vehicle commuting, with a near-perfect Walk Score of 98 out of 100 and served by 12 different bus lines. The ground floor lobby features a bike storage room and shower and changing facilities were included in our new space to facilitate bicycle commuting

WaterSense labeled low-flow toilets, urinals, faucets, and shower heads were utilized throughout to reduce water usage, including retrofitting the core restroom facilities with water-saving faucet aerators to further increase water efficiency. Water-efficient ENERGY STAR labeled dishwashers reduce process water usage.

High-efficiency LED lighting was utilized exclusively to reduce electricity use for artificial lighting Office equipment and appliances were ENERGY STAR rated to reduce ‘plug loads.’ All spaces feature vacancy sensors to further reduce electricity use for artificial lighting and plug loads when spaces are unoccupied. An advanced energy metering system provides submetering of receptacle, HVAC, water heating, lighting, and IT electrical loads for better management and tracking of energy usage.

A mass-timber-framed office building (Virginia’s tallest) constructed with sustainably-harvested cross-laminated timber (CLT) was selected reduce the embodied carbon impacts associated with conventional construction. The interior design selectively exposes the building’s primary structural elements including mass timber columns and ceilings and concrete floor slabs to reduce the cost, maintenance, and environmental impacts of secondary finish materials.

A Carbon Dioxide monitoring system monitors indoor air quality (IAQ) within the space, increasing ventilation rates as required. Certified low-emitting finishes where selected to reduce pollutants and improve indoor air quality, including paints and coatings, adhesives and sealants, flooring, composite wood, and insulation). The contractor implemented a Construction IAQ Management Plan to promote the well-being of construction workers and building occupants by minimizing indoor air quality problems associated with construction and renovation.

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