April 21, 2014
Deep-well GeoThermal,Solar, Wind, Cistern Water System, Roof Garden, Solar Light Tubes, In-Ground Swales, LED Lighting and LEED Gold Certification ...these are some of the many features in the new "ENERGY BUILDING" located at 21371 Forsythe Road, Bristol VA, just off of interstate l-81's Exit 7 in Washington County Virginia .
The Energy building is an example of energy production and energy efficiency that is possible in 2151 Century commercial buildings. Visible from 1-81 and Highway 11, the building is positioned to take advance of natural sun light. Floor to Ceiling windows allow natural sunlight into the space to provide outstanding mountain v iews while utilizing passive light to supplement the heat in the building.
The Energy Building is also equipped with Solar Light Tubes that use natural sunlight for lighting interior space in a cost-effective and energy efficient method. This significantly reduces the need for electricity while keeping occupants connected to the outdoor environment. The amount of light distributed into the room can be controlled by dimmers. All interior and exterior lighting is energy efficient LED. The building is equipped with video-conferencing capabilities and state of the art information and technology systems.
Nearly 300 solar photovoltaic panels are located on the property which generates 50 kilowatts of electricity. This will be enough power to supply the electrical needs of the Energy Building with surplus sold to Bristol Virginia Utilities. This currently is the largest solar array on BVU's entire system.
HVAC systems operate from deep well GeoThermal Heating and Cooling units. Three 800 foot wells extract water from the earth at approximately 52 degrees and circulate through coils to heat and cool the building. The return well is dumped back into a third well to complete the energy efficient "Pump and Dump" System. Because the water from the ground remains a constant temperature, a minimal amount of energy is necessary to heat or cool the water to meet the demands of the building.
A small wind turbine generates additional electricity . This cylinder shaped device adds a sense of curiosity to the architectural features of the exterior while serving as research opportunity for future commercialization.
There are two large cisterns on the property that collect the water run-off from the roof. This "gray water" passes through a natural in-ground filtration system to flush toilets and supply water for internal and external landscape irrigation.
Two manmade swales are part of the landscape features that collect water run-off from the parking lot and sidewalks. This water passes through multiple layers of plants, sand, gravel and silt screen before reentering the earth.
The two story glass lobby, complete with a light drum, provides an impressive entrance for clients entering the building. A large screen monitor in the lobby indicates the amount of energy that the building is producing and the demands for energy made by the building in real time. This monitoring system reminds tenants and guests of the energy production and efficiencies that are available in construction of buildings today.
On the approach to the second floor balcony one can see the Roof Garden that extends beyond the glass curtain wall in the lobby. Drought resistant plants provide a natural insulation to absorb water and reduce the heat effect of the roof.
Construction on this 15,822 square foot Energy Building began in October 2012 and is now ready for occupancy. Funded by a grant from the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification Program, the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center designed the building to attract energy sector companies to Southwest Virginia. The building will accommodate a single company or multiple tenants that are involved in product development and light manufacturing of research, manufacture and/or development of products of systems related to alternative or clean energy sector industries.
The completion of this building complements the success that the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center Foundation's Clean Energy Research & Development has had over the past 3 years in bringing new industry to the region. Much of Southwest Virginia is rich in natural resources: coal natural gas, water, hardwoods and geological formations. Capitalization on these resources, "Clean Energy R&D seeks early-stage, investment-worthy companies operating in the energy field or related industries. With grant support from the Virginia Tobacco Commission, the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center Foundation has invested in multiple companies that have relocated to the region. Additional companies are currently being considered.
We also invite companies interested in working with our program to check our website or contact William D. Carmack or Edwin 0. Rogers at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center in Abingdon at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 276-619-4302