What is LEED®?
The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™ is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings. LEED gives building owners and operators the tools they need to have an immediate and measurable impact on their buildings’ performance.
LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health:
- sustainable site development,
- water savings,
- energy efficiency,
- materials selection,
- and indoor environmental quality.
LEED-certified buildings have reduced operating costs, healthier and more productive occupants, and conserve our natural resources.
The Western Virginia Regional Jail’s LEED® Certification
The Western Virginia Regional Jail received LEED Certification in April 2010. The LEED Certification plaque and certificate were presented to Superintendent Russell by the President of the Southwest Virginia Chapter of the US Green Building Council at a ceremony on August 19, 2010. The Regional Jail is the first correctional facility in Virginia to become LEED Certified and one of the first in the nation.
The Western Virginia Regional Jail Authority initially decided to pursue LEED Certification in recognition of the many environmental features that were incorporated into the Regional Jail’s design to minimize the Jail’s impact on its site which is adjacent to the Roanoke River in the Dixie Caverns area of Roanoke County.
Constructing a building to LEED standards can increase construction costs up to 5 percent; however, the Regional Jail’s architectural and engineering firm was able to incorporate the chosen “green” features in the Jail’s design so that project costs increased only 1.2 percent. A majority of the Regional Jail’s green features should pay for themselves within the first five years of the Jail’s operation.
Other Environmental Awards
The Jail’s innovative green design was awarded the 2009 Real Estate and Construction Review Northeast Green Building of America Award and a 2010 American Council of Engineering Companies Virginia Honor Award in the Building/Technology/Structural Systems category for its plumbing design.