News | August 30, 2022

SELC headquarters earns Gold level green certification

Charlottesville space recognized with LEED gold status

With a mission to protect the basic right to clean air, clean, water, and a livable climate, it was
important that our office in Charlottesville reflect our values. We are thrilled to share our headquarters was awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold certification in August 2022 and features many replicable, sustainable green building design strategies, practices, technologies, and products.

The Southern Environmental Law Center moved into the space in the spring of 2022 and pursued certification under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program of the U.S. Green Building Council, the most widely used green building rating system in the world.

The Charlottesville space is housed in Virginia’s tallest mass timber frame structure, constructed with sustainably harvested
cross-laminated timber, which reduces the carbon impact from materials like steel.

Features like bike parking, a shower and changing room, and EV charging stations all serve to reduce the carbon footprint of getting to and from the work, while choosing to develop an underutilized lot near existing amenities helps to reduce sprawl and promote dense, multi-use neighborhoods.

During construction emphasis was put on reducing waste and repurposing materials. To that end, more than 60 percent of the furnishings, by cost, were reused or salvaged and contractors diverted more than 70 percent of their waste from the landfill. Recycling stations for paper, cardboard, plastics, aluminum cans/metals, batteries, and e-waste are conveniently distributed throughout the space to continue minimizing what is sent to landfills.

Other more subtle design choices with a green impact include window placement to maximize natural light and toilets, faucets, and dishwashers all chosen for their efficient use of water.

Additional features contributing to the office’s LEED status include:

  • Hydration stations to avoid single-use water bottles
  • Sensors that turn lights out when a room isn’t being used
  • Compost collection
  • Sourcing power from solar panels.

A full list of the features included in SELC’s LEED Gold certification can be found here.

SELC’s LEED Gold qualifications

The building is Virginia’s tallest mass-timber-framed office building, constructed with sustainably harvested cross-laminated timber.

Salvaged and refurbished furniture make up more than 60 percent of the furnishings by cost.

High-efficiency LED lighting reduced electricity use for artificial lighting by an estimated 25.8 percent.