The City of Virginia Beach is making excellent strides toward sustainability in some key areas and is already a leader and role model in several fields.
“Renaissance Academy, photo courtesy of RRMM; Energy Savings = $105,000/year; Water Saving = 950,000 gallons/year; Recycling = 140 tons/year”
The City and the School System have successfully partnered with local businesses to earn countless green distinctions, including:
- The Virginia Beach Convention Center is the first convention center in the country and the largest building in Virginia to achieve the LEED Gold Certification for existing buildings. The facility attained LEED points for energy conservation, sustainability initiatives, as well as innovation credits.
- Virginia Beach ranks in Top 10 Greenest Places to Retire. U.S. News & World Report, April 2008
- Sustainable School Recognition Award for the 2008-2009 school year
- 6th Best Place in the US for the Outdoors, Forbes Magazine, May 2009
- The Virginia Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau became the first Platinum member of the International Green Meeting Industry Council.
- The City achieved a Silver Certification from Virginia's Go Green Challenge in 2009.
- Both the City of Virginia Beach and the School system have committed that all new and renovated buildings, above certain thresholds will be LEED certified.
- The Renaissance Academy, completed in January 2010, is an example of an environmentally sustainable school. Some of the sustainable features include: rainwater harvesting systems to flush the toilets, solar heated hot water, and lighting sensors to supplement natural lighting. The kiosk shown below highlights the various environmental features in the building while providing real time energy data. This data can be viewed here.
- In 2010, the city and partners received a national Coastal America Award for oyster restoration work in the Lynnhaven River, tributary to the Chesapeake Bay. This work has resulted in reopening of over 1,460 acres of habitat for commercial shellfishing and oyster reef construction activity.
- Unique, too, is Virginia Beach’s history of national leadership in farmland preservation. The Agricultural Reserve Program has protected, through agricultural conservation easements, more than 8,878 acres.
- A special tax rate for certain energy-efficient buildings was introduced in 2010.
- The first State of the Urban Forest report was developed in 2010
- The city attained a Silver Certification from Virginia Go Green Challenge in September ,2010
- Integrated Site Design Guide is being developed
- Procurement Policy Administrative Directive, currently under review, targets the movement towards a more sustainable operating government through energy conservation and other environmental initiatives.
- EPA Environmental Achievement Award, 2010. The Virginia Beach Public Schools is the only school system in Virginia to be recognized for exemplary achievements in environmental excellence and pollution prevention.
- On April 14, 2011 the City of Virginia Beach became an Energy Star partner. Through this partnership, the city will work to enhance energy efficiency and preserve the environment for future generations. For more information about the Energy Star program for commercial buildings, visit www.energystar.gov/buildings
- As of July, 2011, the Open Space Acquisition Program has preserved 1,922.5 acres valued at more than $40 million.
- In September 2011, the City of Virginia Beach attained a Gold Certification from Virginia's Go Green Government Challenge.
- In 2011, the Aquarium's E-Cycling Program received the Virginia Green Travel Stars Award for the Most Innovative Green Project.
- Virginia Beach Visitor Center earned the EPA's ENERGY STAR certification for superior energy efficiency - January 2012.
- Virginia Beach ranked 4th among Trip Advisor's Top 10 Beach Destinations in the United States - March 2012
- Ranked number 13on the Trip Advisor's list of the Top 25 Best Destinations in the World - March 2012
- Attained a Platinum Certification from Virginia's Go Green Government Challenge - September 2012
- Growing Wetlands in the Classroom project earned Virginia Recreation and Park Society Environmental Sustainability Award - September 2012
- Virginia Beach ranked No. 4 among the nation's top 10 beach destinations, SuccessfulMeetings.com - January 2013
- Virginia Beach City Public Schools was named Best School District by U.S. Green Building Council's Center for Green Schools - January 2013