Green Building/Sustainability Initiative, Status Report




Provide status report on County’s progress and efforts in green building and sustainability and provide opportunity for Board to comment on staff’s approach to bring the Planning Commission’s resolution of intent to amend the Comprehensive Plan to improve our commitment to green building and sustainability.




Tucker, Foley, Davis, Graham, Dougherty, Temple






February 7, 2007


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On September 13, 2006, staff made a presentation to the Board of Supervisors to update them on the Natural Resources and Cultural Assets chapter of the Comprehensive Plan that addresses sustainability. Staff also provided a comprehensive background on green building. (Attachment A, September Executive Summary)  At that meeting the Board requested that staff pursue four areas to increase sustainability and return to the Board with an update. The four areas are as follows:


  1. Work with the public to expand knowledge and benefits of green building
  2. Work with the development community to promote green building and remove obstacles.
  3. Work with County policy and operations to demonstrate and promote green building and overall efficiency.
  4. Amend the Comprehensive Plan in support of green building.




Goal Two:  Protect the County’s Natural Resources

At the core of green building and sustainability is the objective of protecting natural resources. Through green building, conservation is implemented through reuse of materials or sustainable extraction of resources, such as sustainably-harvested lumber and lower consumption of operational resources, such as water, natural gas, and electricity.


Goal Five:  Fund the County’s Future Needs

Aside from environmental benefits, the operational costs for green buildings are much lower than conventional buildings. Over time, green buildings developed or retrofitted to support local government activities will have lower operational costs.




Attachment C outlines the progress made with respect to the Board’s direction. Progress has been made in each of the four areas discussed in September.


In conjunction with the University of Virginia and the City of Charlottesville, the County participated in a two-month long sustainability exhibit at the Charlottesville Design Center where such projects as the County green roof and Monticello High School were featured. On January 18th, the County hosted the Virginia Sustainable Building Network and 50 professionals, contractors, inspectors and educators for a training session in the EarthCraft green building standard endorsed by Governor Tim Kaine and Virginia Home Builders, among others. Changes to County policy regarding internal operations are being reviewed by Sarah Temple, the County’s new environmental manager. Ms. Temple will be bringing the Board more information regarding our operations in months to come. The most noteworthy progress in this area is the County’s

participation in the ENERGY STAR Courthouse campaign, which guides local government toward energy efficiency while offering partnered localities access to grants for energy efficient equipment.  Contemporary to a discussion of larger shifts in operations regarding energy efficiency and green building at the County level is the upcoming Crozet Library project and the extent to which it is built green. As a preview, Attachment C, a detailed update, lays out the hard and soft costs associated with green building using the LEED certification standards. In conjunction, staff is obtaining and analyzing information necessary to assist the Board in determining what level of green is best for the Crozet Library.


Finally, at the December 19, 2006 Commission hearing, Mr. Edgerton introduced a resolution of intent to work with staff to prepare Comprehensive Plan language that would increase the County’s support for green building. Following Mr. Edgerton’s initiative, staff is helping develop a number of objectives and strategies to be considered as part of a Comprehensive Plan amendment. Recognizing that the breadth of objectives and strategies available for expanding green building and sustainability are multiple and potentially controversial, the proposed statements have been ranked, with those most likely to gain support by the Board first, those items requiring additional staff time, research, or funding second, and those objectives seeming to possess significant impacts to the Work Plan and budget ranked third. This language is included as Attachment B. The first tier of statements will be reviewed by the Commission and prepared to advance as a Comprehensive Plan amendment to the Board. As the second and third tiers are vetted through research and work sessions, those items will return to the Board in the future, potentially as part of a scheduled update of the Natural Resources and Cultural Assets chapter of the Comprehensive Plan.




Current efforts with green building and sustainability have utilized limited staff resources and existing programs have not required significant investments. Longer term paybacks with future facilities will be considered starting with the Crozet Library project, but current projects have emphasized short-term or immediate payback. Recognizing the Planning Commission is pursuing a possible Comprehensive Plan Amendment, staff has prioritized the possible Comprehensive Plan statements that are anticipated to have a minimal budget impact. As other objectives and strategies are developed that require additional resources, staff will return with more specific budget impact information on those items. Additional Information regarding budget impacts is provided in Attachment C.




This executive summary is provided as an update to affirm staff is proceeding as the Board directed in September 2006.




Attachment A – September 13, 2006 Green Building and Sustainability Executive Summary

Attachment B – DRAFT Initiatives for consideration with a Comprehensive Plan Amendment

Attachment C – Detailed Green Building and Sustainability Update

Return to regular agenda