Virginia Commonwealth University, Rice Center

The Rice Center is the first LEED Platinum certified building in Virginia. This 6,000-square-foot educational facility is situated on the banks of the James River. The center is comprised of a multipurpose resource room for faculty and researchers, a multipurpose area for laboratory use and an administration center.

The building relies on rain gardens to collect and treat storm water runoff, and a vegetated roof reduces heat island effect and storm water runoff. The entrance road is loose aggregate and the parking area is covered with plastic grid pavement. Energy consumption is reduced by many features, including a geothermal heating and cooling system; high-efficiency interior and exterior lighting; photovoltaic panels for solar energy collection; high insulation levels with soy-based products and recycled denim; and ventilation via operable windows. The building was designed to maximize available natural light reducing the need for artificial lighting.

Water efficient plumbing fixtures include dual flush and power-assist toilets flushed with collected rainwater. Pre-engineered, on-site wastewater treatment results in clear and odorless effluent infiltrated into nearby wooded areas. The center features many rapidly renewable products, including sorghum paneling, cotton denim batt insulation, soy insulation and sunflower board. Gypsum board, carpet, casework are some of the many materials used with high post-consumer and pre-consumer recycled content. Sixty-nine percent of the construction waste materials were diverted from landfills to be recycled or reused.

Project Awards

Best of 2009, Overall and Green Building Category Mid-Atlantic Construction magazine

Client Testimonial

Brian Ohlinger, Virginia Commonwealth University

"When [VCU] selected the contractor for the Rice Center, we wanted to make sure that we selected a firm that not only could build using sustainable practices, but also truly believed in the importance of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. For us, KBS was that firm."

Project Info

Owner: Virginia Commonwealth University
Architect: Train & Partners
Location: J.T. Memorial Highway, Charles City, VA
Project Size: 6,000 SF
Completion: September 2008
LEED Certification: Platinum