Campus Sustainability

Virginia to Get State’s First Net Zero Higher Ed Building

On the campus of Piedmont Virginia Community College in Charlottesville, Virginia, construction of the Advanced Technical Training Center is scheduled for completion in spring 2023. The center will be the first higher education facility in the state—and one of just a few community college buildings across the U.S.—to achieve net zero energy. The building was designed by VMDO Architects, and its budget is approximately $21 million.

The Advanced Technical Training Center will serve as the home for the college’s workforce training and career development programs. It will feature amenities like cybersecurity and forensics labs, advanced manufacturing and robotics labs, and active learning classrooms. It will also house the college’s admissions, advising, and career services offices, as well as a café, open spaces for group work, a multipurpose event room, and a veterans’ resource center.

“The PVCC faculty, staff and students are committed to a clean energy future for Virginia,” said PVCC President Frank Friedman. “We are so pleased to be leading the way by constructing this net zero energy building, which will become the centerpiece of our beautiful campus.”

According to a press release, VMDO’s résumé of net zero energy buildings includes the world’s first LEED Zero school (Discovery Elementary School), what is considered to be the largest net zero building in the country (Alice West Fleet Elementary School), and what is considered to be the first net zero energy community gathering place in Washington, D.C. (Stead Park Recreation Center). Construction of the Advanced Technical Training Center is expected to help the state of Virginia achieve 100% clean energy by 2050.

“In their focus on student success, community colleges are innovative training grounds and important contributors to local and regional economies,” said Joe Atkins with VMDO Architects. “It’s so rewarding to see PVCC explore net zero energy as a learning opportunity that will prepare students for future workforce and career opportunities.”

About the Author

Matt Jones is senior editor of Spaces4Learning. He can be reached at [email protected].