Virginia Theological Seminary delivers energy-saving returns
Virginia Theological Seminary is finding ways to save energy as it adds buildings to its campus.
Five years after construction of Alexandria’s first government-certified, single-family residences, the seminary’s two adjoining, semi-detached homes are generating positive reviews for aesthetics and livability. They’re also saving on energy use, qualifying them for certification by Leadership & Environmental Design — a designation granted through the U.S. Green Building Council, a government entity.
Not only are these homes part of Alexandria’s city-wide drive for energy conservation and green building standards, they also advance the seminary’s efforts to showcase the campus as an emerging sustainability model for other Episcopal seminaries and churches.
Designed by Alexandria-based Cole & Denny Architects, and built by Harry Braswell, Inc., the two LEED-certified homes at 1509 and 1511 North Frazier St., just off Seminary Road, offer styles and floor plans that are similar to those of two nearby homes that were built in 2005. The LEED homes share a common wall, which reduces their foundational
footprint, and incorporate a number of other sustainable features.
This sustainability spirit reflects a master plan for the seminary that was laid out by the Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, shortly after he became dean and president in 2007. It’s
a plan the dean views as extending to both the physical infrastructure and natural surroundings of the 88-acre campus.
The LEED homes are part of a larger environmental initiative by the seminary. VTS recently upgraded its central utility plant with the latest in HVAC thermal and electrical energy-saving devices, including a green roof. Groundbreaking ceremonies took place August 13 for the construction of new student housing that will offer even higher LEED standards. On October 13, the seminary consecrated its new Immanuel Chapel, which was built to LEED-Gold practices.
“The Seminary is dedicated to being responsible stewards of our natural environment,” Markham says. “With finite resources, we view sustainability as environmental conservation for future generations. For us, LEED has become not only economical, but theological as well.”
By: Jonathan Moore