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VCU’s Rice Center Education Building is recognized by the Virginia Sustainable Building Network

The conference room of the Walter L. Rice Education Building fills one end of the building, situated on the banks of the historic James River.
The conference room of the Walter L. Rice Education Building fills one end of the building, situated on the banks of the historic James River.

Virginia Commonwealth University’s Walter L. Rice Education Building at the VCU Rice Center has been recognized by the Virginia Sustainable Building Network with the “2009 Green Innovation Award for Best Institutional Project – Higher Education.”

The Virginia Sustainable Building Network, or VSBN, is a statewide, nonprofit organization that was developed in 1995 to promote environmentally friendly, energy-efficient buildings and sustainable communities. 

“VCU is very proud to receive this prestigious award,” said Leonard Smock, Ph.D., chair of VCU’s Department of Biology and director of the Rice Center. “This recognition is significant, given that VSBN is at the forefront of promoting environmentally sound building practices throughout Virginia.”

The award was presented during the Virginia Sustainable Building Network’s 14th anniversary celebration and annual meeting on June 25 in Charlottesville.

The $2.6 million education building opened in October 2008 at the Rice Center, VCU’s 343-acre living laboratory on the James River southeast of Richmond in Charles City County, and houses lecture and laboratory rooms for classes, a conference room and administrative offices. The 4,900-square-foot building features sustainable strategies for efficient energy use, lighting, water and material use. 

In April, the Walter L. Rice Education Building became the first building in Virginia to be awarded the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED platinum certification, the highest sustainability rating possible.

“Not only is the building the first LEED Platinum building in Virginia, it now has been recognized with this award by the VSBN for its many ‘green’ features. Our building illustrates VCU’s commitment to sustainable design, construction and operation of not only this building, but also future new buildings and renovations,” Smock said.