2018 Virginia Energy Efficiency Leadership Awards

Applications for our 2019 Virginia Energy Efficiency Leadership Awards will open on July 15th. Stay tuned for details!


The Virginia Energy Efficiency Council (VAEEC) celebrated the winners of its 3rd annual Virginia Energy Efficiency Leadership Awards at a Luncheon in Richmond on November 14th. The event was attended by more than 140 people as part of the VAEEC Fall 2018 Meeting. For the first time since implementing the awards in 2016, the VAEEC honored two first-place winners in the Residential category, the EarthCraft Multifamily Program and the Batesville Net-Zero Residence. Additionally, the Virginia Energy Sense’s Education Curriculum received the first-ever Committee’s Choice Award for the creation of their 3rd-grade energy conservation curriculum.

The Luncheon showcased how energy efficiency champions across the Commonwealth are helping businesses, government, homeowners, and schools save money on energy expenditures while reducing energy consumption – all while stimulating job growth and our economy.

Winners: 2018 Virginia Energy Efficiency Leadership Awards (Project Summaries below)


1st Place: Discovery Elementary School (Arlington County)
Entities recognized: Arlington Co. Public Schools, Discovery Elementary School, Discovery Elementary School Design Team

2nd Place: Frederick County Middle School
Entities recognized: Frederick Co. Public Schools, Stantec, 2RW Consultants, Inc., Aqua Nova Engineering

3rd Place: T.C. Williams High School (City of Alexandria)
Entities recognized: Alexandria City Public Schools


1st Place: Worldgate Sport and Health Facility
Entities recognized: Recurrent Innovative Solutions, LLC and Sport and Health Virginia Properties L.C.

2nd Place: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
Entities recognized: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, McKinney & Company, Secure Futures, Riddleberger Brothers, Inc., Rappahannock Electric Cooperative 

3rd Place: Senseware, Inc.
Entity recognized: Senseware, Inc.


1st Place: Arlington County Central Library
Entities recognized: Arlington Co. Facilities Management Bureau, Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy, Arlington Public Libraries

2nd Place: Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center
Entities recognized: STV, Advanced Engineering Consultants, and PCA Global

3rd Place: Langley Research Center’s Integrated Engineering Services Buildings (NASA) 
Entities recognized: NASA Langley Research Center, General Services Administration Region 3, Whiting-Turner, Cooper Carry


1st Place (tie): Batesville Net-Zero Residence
Entities recognized: Barbara Gehrung (Gehrung + Graham Energy Positive Architecture LLC- Architectural Design + Energy Concept), Daniel Ernst (Promethean Homes LLC- General Contractor), John Semmelhack (Think Little- HVAC Design + Quality Control), Randy Peltola (Genesis Home + Energy- PV System Design), and Stew + Alyce Pollock (Homeowners)

1st Place (tie): Earthcraft Multifamily
Entities recognized: Viridiant (in partnership with Southface Energy Institute and VHDA)

2nd Place: SmartHub 
Entities recognized: A&N, Community, Mecklenburg, Prince George, Rappahannock, and  Southside Electric Cooperatives

Committee’s Choice Award

Energy Sense Education Curriculum
Entity recognized: Virginia Energy Sense

First Place Summaries


1st Place: Discovery Elementary School 

Discovery Elementary School is Arlington Public Schools’ first elementary school designed in the 21st century. The school’s integration of design, sustainability, and learning creates a unique environment that promotes environmental stewardship while advancing Arlington County’s carbon and energy goals. The school’s zero-energy design results in $117,000 of annual utility cost savings. The project was completed under budget, allowing the school district to apply $2,900,000 to other projects. The building is operating more efficiently than designed, at an actual energy use intensity (EUI) of 15.8 kBtu/ft2/year.   Discovery Elementary School is the first verified zero-energy building certified by the International Living Future Institute and New Buildings Institute and is currently the largest verified zero-energy building of any kind, anywhere in the world. The project has inspired change at the county, state, and national levels. Arlington Public Schools made zero-energy a requirement for all new construction. The leaders of this policy successfully lobbied the Virginia Assembly to pass legislation that allows net-positive schools to sell and keep the money generated from this excess energy. In 2016, the Department of Energy launched the Net-Zero Accelerator at Discovery – a national partnership aimed at demonstrating how investing in renewable energy translates into cost savings and enhanced learning environments.


1st Place: Worldgate Sport and Health Facility

Recurrent Innovative Solutions found several deficiencies in both original system design and current operational functionality, during ASHRAE Level 3 energy audit of the 108k ft2 Worldgate Sport & Health facility in Herndon, Virginia. The completed retrofits (Jan-May 2017) included a 550-ton chiller, refurbished cooling tower with improved heat transfer (a 53% savings post-retrofit), variable speed fans, new energy valves, variable speed drives (VSDs) on pumps, high-efficiency LED lighting and system optimization through a building automation system. Annual electricity savings achieved post-retrofit are over 1.58 million kWh and annual gas savings are over 50k therms. The facility also gained $250k in utility cost savings. The project captured over $45k in estimated rebates for the chiller, VSDs, and lighting and exceeded Virginia’s energy code efficiency requirements as well as the efficiency standards set by Dominion Virginia Power’s Non-Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program. Recurrent continues to demonstrate leadership by adopting a holistic systems approach to developing retrofit solutions to achieve the highest possible performance gains, which was achieved with the Worldgate Project.


1st Place: Arlington County Central Library

Arlington County government has made its Central Library a model of efficient performance of an existing building. This 137,000 ft2 facility is visited by some 900,000 people each year. It is the anchor and headquarters for the Arlington library system. Since 2000, Arlington has cut electricity consumption there by 54 percent through a variety of energy management best practices. In addition, a recent boiler replacement further improved overall energy performance, cutting natural gas use 22 percent (normalized for weather). Arlington hired its first energy manager in 2000. He saw this building was highly visible, heavily used, and had great potential for savings. The building consumed 2.8 million kWh, and peak electric demand exceeded 500 kW in six months that year. Staff began adjusting schedules, tuning equipment, and retrofitting lighting when funds were available. In 2009, the library used 1.8 million kWh and peak demand exceeded 400 kW in three months. A new chiller plant was installed in 2012-13 with PAYG funding to replace aging equipment. The emergence of LEDs enabled additional lighting retrofits, and total electricity use was down to 1.28 million kWh in 2017.  Also, in 2017 peak electric demand did not exceed 385 kW.


1st Place (tie): Batesville Net-Zero Residence

The architecture of the Batesville Net-Zero Home was inspired by the clients’ love of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonian houses and their wish for a contemporary design that integrated energy-efficiency and sustainable materials with comfort and views of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains. In addition to ‘passive measures’ such as overhangs, strategically placed windows, a well insulated, thermal-bridge-free building envelope, and exposed concrete providing thermal mass, the design includes an ‘active system’ composed of a 7.2kWp photovoltaic array designed to generate the same amount of power as the house and its owners use on an annual basis. An energy recovery ventilator (ERV) harvests internal gains and provides constant fresh air for a healthy home environment, while supplemental heating and cooling is provided by two 1 ton ducted mini-split heat pumps and a wood-stove with direct air-supply and a sealed combustion chamber. The owners plan to invest in a battery system to take advantage of the solar array for off-grid backup power, and an electric vehicle to take advantage of this surplus of renewable energy.

1st Place (tie): Earthcraft Multifamily

EarthCraft Multifamily (ECMF), administered by Viridiant in VA, MD, and D.C., is the country’s first multifamily-specific green building program. The program provides certifications for both low-rise and mid-rise projects, with pathways for new construction, renovation, historic preservation, and adaptive reuse. Recent studies from the Virginia Center for Housing Research (VCHR) find that Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) ECMF projects outperform standard new construction by 30% with respect to energy consumption and saved residents 464 kWh/month, equaling $54. Since the majority of our ECMF work is incorporated into the state LIHTC Allocation Plan, these affordable, durable, healthy homes are getting to the people who need it the most. Over the course of a year, residents participating in VCHR’s study save an average of $648 or 5,568 kWh on their electricity bill. Viridiant has certified over 20,000 ECMF units since 2007, so each year, Viridiant’s ECMF LIHTC projects save about $13 million and 111 GWh of energy. VCHR research also found that these units are 55% more energy efficient than the national average, maintaining performance over time (annual resident energy savings grew by 12% between years 1-3). Data also indicated a higher average total cost for NON-green developments of 6.2%.

Committee’s Choice

Energy Sense Education Curriculum

The VAEEC Education & Events Committee selected the Virginia Energy Sense 3rd Grade Curriculum for the first ever Committee’s Choice Award. The curriculum is designed for elementary school students to learn the importance of energy efficiency from a young age and discover how they can make a real difference through small actions to conserve energy. Students learn about their energy use through interactive lessons that promote dialogues in the classroom about the important issue of energy conservation. By helping students learn how to easily and cost-effectively save energy, the program encourages students to take an active role in promoting change at school and at home through their energy use. These lessons are in turn shared with families and friends. The widespread reach of the Energy Sense curriculum makes it a success in promoting energy efficiency throughout communities in Virginia. The program can be downloaded on the Virginia Energy Sense website for general use as well as use in the classroom. While the program is geared toward elementary aged students, Virginia Energy Sense and the Department of Education are discussing developing future versions of the curriculum aimed at middle and high school aged students.

Congratulations 2018 Winners

Check out our blog post for a full recap of the Fall 2018 Meeting and Awards Luncheon.