If every person who visits walks away saying 'I can do this one thing,' what a huge difference it would make!

—Mary Tod Winchester, CBF Vice President of Administration


Designed to Inspire: The Brock Environmental Center

It has been a heady year for the Brock Environmental Center. Located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, the facility welcomed tens of thousands of visitors, including Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe—who experienced one of the center's most unique features when he sampled a glass of Brock's treated rainwater (Brock is the first commercial building in the U.S. permitted to treat rainwater for drinking). The center has received 20 awards, including the 2015 Engineering News-Record's "Best Green Project."

In May, Brock achieved a designation that was more than a year in the making: the International Living Future Institute's Living Building Certification. Brock is only the tenth building in the world to achieve the organization's "full petal" certification, which requires a building to produce more energy than it uses over the course of a year, in addition to other strict criteria. Through the Brock Center, CBF is inspiring visitors and demonstrating how each of us can reduce our footprint and actually give back to the environment. Here are a few features that make the facility so unique:

  • The first commercial building in the continental United States licensed to treat rainwater for drinking.

  • Uses 90 percent less water than a typical commercial office building, thanks to features such as composting toilets and cisterns that collect and use rainwater.

  • Uses wind and solar power for all of its energy needs—and generates 83 percent more energy than it uses.

  • Made of salvaged materials, including reclaimed fence posts and a repurposed gymnasium floor.

  • Climate change ready. Elevated 13.8 feet above sea level and landscaped with native plants, flood waters are able to rise, settle, and recede naturally, with little to no harm to the center or nearby communities.

  • Preserved a critical piece of waterfront land that had been slated for a 1,400-unit development.

To schedule a tour of the Brock Environmental Center, please call 757-622-1964 x3312 or email BrockCenterGreenTours@cbf.org.

Photo Credits: 1. Prakash Patel/SmithGroupJJR, 2. Prakash Patel/SmithGroupJJR, 3. Morgan Heim ILICP, 4. Jay Fleming.