LEED Silver Certification Awarded to Virginia Tech Southwest Chiller Plant

BLT Architects announced that the southwest chiller plant at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., is awarded with LEED NC v2009 Silver certification. BLTa’s role was design consultant to Burns and Roe of Oradell, N.J. and Trefz Engineering of Horsham, Pa.

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Certification program encourages implementation of sustainable building and development practices through a third-party rating system.

The University’s Southwest Chiller Plant is among a handful of chiller plants to be LEED certified and is serving recently completed on-campus facilities with capacity for future facilities. Built on a new precinct on campus, the plant is an addition to the central chilled water system and is part of a larger expansion to the academic campus. The centralized system will be used to cool air for a collection of buildings on campus.

“We approached every project with LEED certification in mind,” BLTa Senior Associate Sherman C. Aronson, AIA, LEED AP said. “First we focused on the location and then thought hard about the occupancy of the chiller plant and how we could exceed current codes for energy and construction. In fact, the plants occupied spaces that use 28% less energy than code allows. “

Among other LEED buildings on campus, the design of the standalone southwest chiller plant uses local building materials such as Hokie stone, and native plant materials such as wildflowers and meadow grass, which thrives locally and doesn’t require irrigation.

“We are thrilled to achieve this milestone,” Project Manager, David Chinn said. “The Southwest Chiller Plant is the first LEED Silver Chiller Plant in Virginia and one of the few in the country; we are honored to be included.”

BLTa works extensively with educational institutions designing and/or renovating student housing, general purpose classrooms, science and research laboratory facilities, components for performing arts, and athletic facilities. BLTa has built continuing relationships with a number of prestigious educational institutions including The University of Pennsylvania, Villanova University, The Pennsylvania State University and Virginia Tech.  The results of which are more than 2.0 million SF of college and university work completed in the last ten years.