The Advanced Technical Training Center at Piedmont Virginia Community College (PVCC) will be the first higher education facility in Virginia, and one of just a handful of community college facilities in the United States, to achieve net zero energy. The center was designed by VMDO Architects and is slated for completion in spring 2023.
In joining the race to net zero, the center provides a compelling example of how Virginia is taking steps to attain 100% clean energy by 2050, as outlined in Governor Ralph Northam’s 2020 Virginia Clean Economy Act.
“The PVCC faculty, staff and students are committed to a clean energy future for Virginia,” says PVCC President Frank Friedman. “We are so pleased to be leading the way by constructing this net zero energy building which will become the centerpiece of our beautiful campus.”
Designed by VMDO Architects to elevate PVCC’s comprehensive commitment to workforce training and career development, the Advanced Technical Training Center will lead the way in training a new generation of students for the clean energy economy. Budgeted at a construction cost of approximately $21 million, the center will create a campus destination that meets the diverse needs of today’s community college student while also inspiring a sense of community and connection. The building includes advanced manufacturing and robotics labs, cyber-security and forensics labs, and active instructional spaces. In addition, the center will create a hub for admissions, advising, and career services as well as a welcoming, student-centered commons with a café, student group spaces, a veterans’ resource center, and a large event room with improved outdoor public spaces for multi-use programming.
“In their focus on student success, community colleges are innovative training grounds and important contributors to local and regional economies,” said Joe Atkins, Principal, VMDO Architects. “It’s so rewarding to see PVCC explore net zero energy as a learning opportunity that will prepare students for future workforce and career opportunities.”
VMDO has designed several net zero energy buildings including, notably, the first LEED Zero school in the world, Discovery Elementary School; what is expected to be the largest net zero energy building in the U.S., Alice West Fleet Elementary School; and what is expected to be the first net zero energy community center in Washington, DC, Stead Park Recreation Center. According to the New Buildings Institute’s annual Getting to Zero report, net zero energy schools and municipal buildings have been increasing in number across the country, yet higher education facilities have tended to lag in comparison. The Advanced Technical Training Center is helping to set the bar for building sustainably in higher education while implementing pragmatic clean energy solutions that double as teaching tools for students.