Most Environmentally Sustainable Building in Virginia Gets Green Light from Virginia Beach

City Council Vote Plus $3.5 Million Lead Gift Enable CBF Brock Environmental Center to Move Forward as Fundraising Campaign Progresses

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA – The Virginia Beach City Council has voted to approve a Conditional Use Permit for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) to construct what will be the most environmentally sustainable building in Virginia, located at Pleasure House Point. Tonight’s city council action clears the way for CBF to move forward with the Brock Environmental Center, named in honor of Macon and Joan Brock of Virginia Beach, who provided a $3.5 million leadership gift toward the $20 million project.

“Virginia Beach is very pleased to advance the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s plans for an environmental center at Pleasure House Point,” Mayor Will Sessoms said. “The Foundation was instrumental in helping preserve this important property and now will use a small portion of it as a teaching tool for environmental stewardship. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Brock Environmental Center is an exciting project and one that will enhance the Pleasure House Point experience.”

“We are extremely gratified that the Virginia Beach City Council and the community support our new venture at Pleasure House Point,” said CBF Hampton Roads Director Christy Everett. “The CBF Brock Environmental Center will be a model of sustainable design, demonstrating how it is possible to build responsibly and make a substantial environmental difference without sacrificing comfort or aesthetics.”

The CBF Brock Environmental Center will feature cutting-edge green construction practices to meet the “Living Building Challenge,” a set of stringent, specific environmental standards established by the International Living Future Institute. These standards require the facility to have “net zero” impact on the environment, not only during construction but during its daily operation.  It will be the first of its kind in Virginia. Additionally, CBF will seek the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum rating for the project.

“CBF is excited to raise the bar and move green building to a higher level. We owe a world of thanks to the Brocks and many others for their generous support, and we hope their generosity inspires others also to be part of something truly exceptional,” Everett said.

The center will become the hub for CBF’s Hampton Roads staff, and the foundation’s award-winning environmental education programs, which take thousands of students and teachers onto local waterways each year for in-depth Bay learning experiences. It will also provide office space for Lynnhaven River NOW and Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation staff, and serve as a venue for community meetings and collaboration.

Of the 118 acres recently preserved at Pleasure House Point, the CBF Brock Environmental Center footprint will encompass approximately one acre. CBF also intends to enhance nine acres of surrounding land for educational programming and habitat restoration, using native landscaping and employing nearby waterways for high quality, hands-on field trips.

“The Chesapeake Bay Foundation is a leader in environmental initiatives, championing collaboration with local groups to support clean waterways and the Chesapeake Bay itself,” Macon Brock said.  “To foster this important work, the CBF Brock Environmental Center will be a destination for environmental education and cooperation in the Hampton Roads Community.  This project is an unparalleled opportunity for conservation, education, restoration, and community-building, one that we are honored to support.”

Partnering with CBF to create the Brock Environmental Center are SmithGroupJJR, one of the largest architecture, engineering, and planning firms in the nation and the designer of CBF’s LEED Platinum headquarters building in Annapolis, Md.; Hourigan Construction, an award-winning builder that has constructed multiple projects in the Hampton Roads region and across Virginia; Skanska (owner’s representative), one of the nation’s largest, most reputable construction and project management service providers with exceptional credentials in green and sustainable construction; and WPL Site Design, a Virginia Beach-based environmental landscape architectural, surveying, and civil engineering firm.

Capital Campaign Details

An ongoing fundraising campaign includes goals of $10 million to acquire the land and construct the center; $5 million for programs to improve water quality, including environmental education, restoration, and outreach; and $5 million to endow the center and its education and community programs.

Groundbreaking for the CBF Brock Environmental Center is slated for late summer 2013 with a target completion date of autumn 2014.

For more information, contact Kate Wilson, CBF Hampton Roads Development Director, 757/622-1964 or send an e-mail to


Hourigan Construction Formally Introduced as the Builder of the Pleasure House Point Center

“Chesapeake Bay Foundation To Create “Living Building” in Virginia Beach”


VIRGINIA BEACH, VA. – The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) today announced plans to create an ultra-green environmental education/community center on a small corner of Pleasure House Point, a 100-acre-plus track of dunes, marsh, and trees acquired last month by the City of Virginia Beach for conservation and recreation.

The center, which will be built on a 10-acre parcel that CBF will purchase, will house CBF’s Hampton Roads office, potentially that of other local conservation organizations, include space for public meetings, and serve as home base for CBF’s award-winning environmental education programs in Hampton Roads.

CBF intends for the new center to meet the “Living Building Challenge™,” a set of strict environmental standards established by the International Living Future Institute ( that requires the facility to have “net zero” impact on the surrounding land, water, and air. The building would be the first of its kind in Virginia, among only 18 prospective Living Buildings on the East Coast, and one of only about 150 currently pursuing the Challenge worldwide.

“Our vision quite simply is to create one of the most environmentally sustainable buildings in the world at Pleasure House Point,” said CBF Hampton Roads Director Christy Everett. “We want it to be an international model that demonstrates how to build, work, learn, and play responsibly beside a natural treasure like the Chesapeake Bay. Our goal is a facility the entire Hampton Roads community can be proud of, and we are actively seeking the community’s feedback on our Pleasure House Point vision.”

CBF intends to use community input to fine-tune its building plans before formally applying to the city next month for a conditional use permit to construct the center. As part of that outreach effort, CBF and the City of Virginia Beach will host a community stakeholders meeting and a separate public open house today in Virginia Beach. CBF will continue to accept comments until August 30 through its website at, via email to, or by calling 757/622-1964.

“The entire community partnered to help preserve and protect Pleasure House Point,” Everett noted. “CBF now hopes to create an environmental education/community center that sets a new standard — a cutting-edge facility that will engage, inform, and inspire the community to solve the challenges facing the Bay in innovative, sustainable, and collaborative ways.”

Jim Spore, Virginia Beach City Manager, said, “We are thrilled that the vision for Pleasure House point is one step closer to reality. The environmental education/community center will not only help educate our citizens about the various habitats and wildlife in this beautiful natural area of Virginia Beach, but it will also contribute to a greater appreciation of what a gem this piece of land is.”

To be certified as a Living Building, a project must meet 20 stringent criteria in seven areas – site, water, energy, health, materials, equity, and beauty – and do so for at least 12 consecutive months after opening.

“The mission of the International Living Future Institute is to lead the transformation toward communities that are socially just, culturally rich, and ecologically restorative,” said Jason F. McLennan, chief executive officer of the International Living Future Institute. “The Chesapeake Bay Foundation has embraced this ethic in its vision for its Pleasure House Point project. We applaud the foundation and look forward to working with it in making this Living Building Challenge project a reality.”

Also today, CBF formally announced the architect for the Pleasure House Point center, SmithGroupJJR (, one of the largest architecture, engineering, and planning firms in the nation. SmithGroupJJR designed CBF’s headquarters building, the Philip Merrill Environmental Center in Annapolis, Md. The Merrill Center was the first building to receive the U.S. Green Building Council’s highest Platinum rating for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) in 2001 and has since won numerous awards for its sustainable design.

“Working with CBF again is extremely gratifying, and we are excited about the opportunity to redefine the possibilities of sustainable design for a new decade,” said Greg Mella, SmithGroupJJR design architect and project manager. “We hope the new center will have similar impact as the Merrill Center in transforming communities to embrace environmental stewardship.”

CBF today also formally introduced Hourigan Construction ( as the builder of the Pleasure House Point center. With offices in Virginia Beach, Hourigan Construction is an award-winning builder that has done multiple projects in the Hampton Roads area, including LifeNet’s engineered science building, several Sentara Healthcare facilities, and the Long Bay Pointe Marina.

“This is a prestigious and much sought-after project, and we are pleased to have been chosen as the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s partner,” said Mark Hourigan, president of Hourigan Construction. “There are less than a handful of projects like this in the world that have achieved the Living Building Challenge status, and these are primarily on the West Coast of the United States. We are literally breaking ground in multiple ways through this opportunity.”


EDITORS NOTE: To download a conceptual rendering of CBF’s planned Living Building at Pleasure House Point, go to, enter the username “media” and password “rockfish.”

What Will Make The Environmental Center LEED Platinum and Living Building Challenge Certified

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s new Environmental Center is planned to be a LEED Platinum and Living Building Challenge certified building. This mean that there will be photovoltaic cells, solar hot water heating cells, geothermal heating, green vegetative roofs, composting toilets, rain water collection systems, radiant floor heating, environmental controls for the air quality, day lighting and thermal comfort. The Center will also have many other uses of recycled materials and restorative processes to minimize or completely eliminate the carbon footprint of the development.