​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Sustainability​

Th​is region of the East Coast was once the gateway for international exploration and expansion and now has significant potential for the development of offshore wind resources off its coast.

The announcement from Virginia Power about the expansion of a test project came just days after Governor Northam issued an executive order 43 calling on state agencies to develop a plan for Virginia to produce 30% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030 and to be fully carbon free by 2050.​​

Currently, there are two Virginia/Carolina Offshore Wind Energy projects underway:

  • Avangrid Renewables and its affiliate Kitty Hawk Wind LLC.: Development of 2.5 GW, $5-8bn Kitty Hawk offshore wind energy with two substations in Virginia Beach. Avangrid had recently secured an option from the City in Princess Anne Commons to acquire 20 acres and from the City of Virginia Beach Development Authority in Corporate Landing Business Park to acquire 30 acres to locate the substations. The regional investment is estimated to be between $60 ​- $310 million including the creation of ​11,500 jobs.
  • Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind-Dominion Energy: includes two 6-MW turbines on 2,135-acre site which lies 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach, generating about 12 megawatts to power 3,000 homes later in 2020. Project's c​apital cost is $300 million and the major participants are Ørsted for the offshore installation and L.E. Meyers for the onshore installation​​.​

Sustainable Practices, Polices, and Directives​ ​​​​​​

The City of Virginia Beach recognizes the critical importance of environmental sustainability to its long term success, and is committed to fostering the principles of environmental, economic, and social stewardship through the incorporation of sustainable practices, polices, and directives:

Green Building Criteria for New City Buildings​

In 2008, the City Council formally adopted a Green Building Criteria for New City Buildings. This Administrative Directive requires each new or renovated city/school building to achieve a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) silver rating at a minimum. To date, there are 35 LEED-certified buildings throughout the city, including the 225,000-square-foot Clark Nexsen office tower in Town Center and the 500,000 sf Virginia Beach Convention Center.

Sustainable Procurement Directive​​

The purpose of this policy is to address procurement elements of the City's Sustainability Plan. This Sustainable ​Procurement Directives provides a framework for the procurement of goods and services for minimizing negative impacts on human health and environment while being mindful of fiscal responsibilities. 

Energy Management for Municipal Operations Directive

The City's Energy Management Program was established to analyze energy consumption of city buildings, utilities systems, motor vehicles, and improve their energy performance. The program is administered by the City's Energy Office, which monitors city energy usage, and identifies new ways for the city to save money on energy bills as well as become more energy efficient. 

Energy-Efficient Buildings Tax Credit 

In 2010, Virginia Beach City Council adopted the Energy Efficient Buildings Real Estate Tax Incentive Program to encourage sustainable commercial and residential development. The program reduces the real estate tax by $0.15 per $100 for buildings certified as energy efficient by a qualified licensed engineer or contractor.

Virginia Beach City Public Schools Sustainability Practices

Virginia Beach City Public Schools understands the importance of conserving resources and protecting the environment. The Division has established a Su​stainable Schools​ program with three sustainable goals: 

1) Develop a sustainable building i​nfrastructure that requires LEED silver rating for any new or renovated building; 

2) Integrate sustainable practices throughout the division to include no-idle policies for buses and purchase of fuel-efficient vehicles;

3) Educate the public about the importance of sustainability beginning in elementary school.

Sea Level Rise Resilience Strategy​​

What is the City of Virginia Beach doing?  

  • In 2014, City Council launched the Comprehensive Sea Level Rise and Recurrent Flooding Capital Improvement Program project, which is now known as Sea Level Wise. ​​
  • Beginning in the 2015 budget, City Council provided $3 million in funding for this critical initiative to specifically identify the potential impacts of SLR and develop a comprehensive long-term response plan.  
  • Also, the City received an $844,000 grant - the Regional Coastal Resiliency Grant - awarded by NOAA's Office for Coastal Management, to further the City's efforts, bringing the total to $3.8 million. 
  • The City has hired Dewberry, a national consulting firm with significant experience in developing strategies for coastal resiliency, to help with planning for reducing our risk.  
  • We are identifying short- and long-term measures that will reduce flooding risks for each watershed.  These will include combinations of policy measures, flood control structures, and structural engineering and nature-based solutions. 
  • The City is updating its stormwater master plan concurrently, creating an opportunity t​​o determine how the increased coastal flood elevations will be reflected through the stormwater system and which causes additional interior flooding. Visit this pag​e for more sea level rise information.


 Renewable Energy

Electro-M​echanical Energy Storage 

In 2017,  the Virginia Governor McAuliffe announced that Global Technical Systems​ (GTS), a premier provider of advanced engineering solutions for defense, homeland security and related U.S. Government and international customers,  will invest $54.7 million on a new electro-mechanical energy storage system (EMB) manufacturing operation in Virginia Beach. The company is constructing a 500,000-square-foot advanced manufacturing center to produce and distribute 100% green energy storage systems using advanced composites and engineering technologies. It will create 1,100 new jobs with an average annual salary of $74,000.

The facility will be operational in 2020​.​​ ​


Onshore wind​​

Onshore wind opportunities are already gaining momentum in Virginia Beach.  In 2009, the City adopted Wind Energy Conversion amendments into the zoning ordinance.  These amendments are designed to promote the use of renewable energy sources by allowing wind energy conversion systems (wind turbines) in appropriate locations while minimizing visual, safety and environmental impacts and promoting the safe, effective and efficient use of such systems. ​

Solar

Dominion Energy has a variety of renewable projects​ in the works, including green and emerging energy technology research. The company has announced plans to develop multiple utility-scale solar projects in Virginia totaling 400 megawatts of electricity through 2020. Dominion Energy, the Department of the Navy and the Commonwealth of Virginia  constructed 21-megawatt direct current (18- megawatt alternating current) solar energy facility at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach that  consists of 179,000 solar panels on 100 acres.​


 LEED and ENERGY STAR Buildings

​ENERGY STAR-Certified Buildings

The region has 77 ENERGY STAR-certified buildings. More than half of them (54) are in Virginia Beach, including 41 public schools, and 13 commercial buildings. There are many more projects in progress according to the US Green Building Council's database for 2017.

LEED Buildings

To date, the City has 35 LEED buildings, including the 225,000 square foot Clark Nexsen office tower in Town Center.

  • The Brock Environmental Center​ is recognized as one of the most environmentally sustainable buildings in the world, achieving zero net CO2 emissions and zero waste leaving the site.​
  • The 500,000 square foot Virginia Beach Convention Center was the first convention center in the United States to achieve LEED Gold Certification for existing buildings.
  • The City's new 65,000 square foot Housing Resource Center is LEED Silver.
  • Most of the City's public recreation centers are either LEED certified or registered.
  • Several of the City's largest manufacturing facilities are LEED certified.​

The school buildings that have earned a LEED rating include:

​​Platinum

Pupil Transportation Facility

College Park Elementary School

Gold

Virginia Beach Renaissance Academy

Great Neck Middle School

Silver

Windsor Oaks Elementary

Virginia Beach Middle School

Kellam High School

Certified

Hermitage Elementary School​

Registered

Old Donation School

Thoroughgood Elementary School

Princess Anne Middle School​

Source: Virginia Beach City Public Schools 2017 data

​Our community is committed to sustainability and environmental protection. Here are some examples from Virginia Beach nonprofits and business organizations.

The Brock Environmental Ce​nter in Virginia Beach is one of the most energy-efficient, environmentally smart buildings in the world. It is also the first commercial building in the U.S. permitted to capture and treat rainfall for use as drinking water, and it has achieved one of the toughest building standards in the world—Living Building Challenge certification. With its solar panels and residential wind turbines producing nearly twice as much energy as the building has used, the Center has far surpassed expectations since its completion in late 2014.  The building uses 90 percent less water than a typical office building of its size. And as a result of conservation efforts and innovative technologies, the building uses 80 percent less energy than a typical building that size. Click here for an online virtual tour: http://bec.dronevideosnow.com/

STIHL Inc. - In 2009, STIHL Inc. installed a 60,000-square-foot green roof on its new manufacturing facility. At that time, this green roof was the largest privately-owned green roof in Virginia. They also installed six wind turbines on the roof of their plants and were able to reduce their energy consumption. This past year they started a "Zero Waste" project with the goal of completely eliminating all of their solid waste going to landfills.  They are addressing one recycling approach at a time, continuously improving their programs.

​IMS: Gear, one of the leading manufacturers of automotive gear assemblies in the world, is using onsite water cisterns for cooling. 


 Resources

Water Conservation 

The City of Virginia Beach Public Utilities department​ provides a number of services to help the community use water wisely, including free water conservation presentations, a generous toilet rebate program and tips to make conserving water a daily part of your life both around your home and yard​​.​

Parks, Natural Areas, Recreation, and Trails

Virginia Beach is home to 293 parks and park facilities, encompassing over 7,000 acres, including neighborhood and community parks, metro parks, signature parks, natural areas, waterway accesses, trail linkages, open space preservation areas and park athletic facilities. Each park is unique and offers something for everyone, from wide open spaces to playgrounds, picnic shelters, and ball fields.

The bikeway and trail system ​serves equally important functions as part of the transportation network and the recreational system network. New shared use paths are being built with new roadways and roadway improvements throughout the City.  The city currently has over 100 miles of trails. 

Recycling Programs

The City of Virginia Beach has a robust recycling program​ with many opportunities to reduce, reuse, and recycle. The Recycling Program received a 2015 Outstanding Municipal Program Award by the Virginia Recycling Association and a Communications Achievement Award for Excellence in Local Government by the Virginia Municipal League.

​Educat​ional Resources

​Learn more about the seminars and educational resources provided by external subject experts and organizations such as Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Lynnhaven River NOW, and Elizabeth River Project​

Additional Resources​



 Earth Hour

​What is Earth Hour?

​Earth Hour is a unique opportunity for you to become more sustainable and do something positive for the environment:

  • ​It’s been the source of inspiration for millions of people taking steps toward a cleaner, safer future.
  • It’s not just about saving energy for one hour; it’s about going beyond the hour with lasting, behavior-changing actions for a sustainable planet.​
On Saturday, March 28, 2020​​​​​ at 8:30 p.m. the City of Virginia Beach will participate  for a fifth​ time in this global initiative by turning off all non-essential lights for one hour. Through this symbolic action, the City strives to encourage residents and businesses to turn off their lights, and to find ways in which they can become more sustainable. For participation and more details, visit this pag​e​. ​