A large portion of greenhouse gas emissions are attributable to energy use in buildings, both here in Fairfax County and nationwide. By constructing buildings designed to use less energy, Fairfax County can save taxpayer dollars and reduce our carbon footprint. Green buildings do more than just reduce energy use, they also address water use, waste, siting, indoor air quality, and material sourcing. Studies show that people who work in green buildings perform better, feel healthier, and have a better overall experience at their workplace. On this page you will find information about Fairfax County's green building policy for county-owned and operated buildings.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors first adopted a green building and sustainable development policy for county facilities in February 2008. The 2008 policy established LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, as the standard for county capital facility projects. In 2008, all projects greater than 10,000 square feet (SF) were required to achieve LEED Silver. Those projects between 2,500 and 10,000 SF were required to achieve a LEED Certified rating.
On September 15, 2020, the Board of Supervisors approved an updated version of the green building and sustainable development policy, with the following provisions. All county building projects greater than 10,000 SF will now be required to, at a minimum:
- Achieve LEED Gold;
- Be both solar and electric vehicle (EV) ready;
- Provide an on-site renewable energy generation component, as practicable, with off-site renewable energy generation as a supplement;
- Achieve a 30% energy performance improvement for new construction, and a 25% energy performance improvement for major renovations;
- Achieve a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 32% for new construction, and 24% for major renovation.
In addition to these requirements, building projects will need to use LEED v4 and, eventually, LEED v4.1 going forward, rather than LEED v2009. This represents a dramatic increase in the performance standard for both newly constructed and renovated buildings.
The updated policy also includes provisions related to lifecycle energy performance of existing buildings and recommissioning. These proactive building management measures can ensure that green buildings designed to save energy and money are doing so over time.
Finally, the policy outlines a path to achieve net zero energy for county buildings. The progression in energy performance is included in the summary table below.
|Year||Construction Type||Minimum Energy Performance||Minimum GHG Reduction||Minimum Certification|
|FY 2021||New Construction||30%||32%||Gold|
|FY 2021||Major Renovation||25%||24%||Gold|
|FY 2024||New Construction||40%||65%||Gold|
|FY 2024||Major Renovation||35%||50%||Gold|
|FY 2027||New Construction||50%||100%||Gold|
|FY 2027||Major Renovation||45%||80%||Gold|
|FY 2031||New Construction||Net Zero Energy||Net Zero Energy||Gold|
|FY 2031||Major Renovation||Net Zero Energy||Net Zero Energy||Gold|
Buildings are certified under established green building rating systems that recognize outstanding performance in several key areas:
- Sustainable Sites: discourages development on undeveloped land and seeks to minimize a building’s environmental impacts
- Water Efficiency: encourages the smarter use of water inside and out
- Energy & Atmosphere: encourages the implementation of energy-wise strategies
- Materials & Resources: encourages the use of sustainably produced materials and waste reduction, reuse and recycling strategies.
- Indoor Environmental Quality: promotes strategies that improve indoor air quality, acoustics and access to natural daylight.
- Innovation in Design: encourages the use of technologies and strategies that improve a building’s performance.
- Regional Priority: encourages the builders to consider and address local high-priority environmental concerns.
The U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design® (LEED) rating system includes several tiers. The goal for county projects greater than 10,000 square feet is silver certification; smaller facilities are recommended for certification.
Currently, these are the county buildings that have been certified:
- Crosspointe Fire Station
- Dolley Madison Library
- Gartlan Center for Community Mental Health
- Great Falls Fire Station
- Herndon Fire Station
- I-66 Transfer Station Operations Center
- JoAnne Jorgenson Laboratory
- Martha Washington Library
- McLean Police Station & Governmental Center
- Pohick Regional Library
- Providence Community Center
- Public Safety Headquarters
- Richard Byrd Library
- Virginia Department of Transportation Administration Building (Design, construction and overall project management provided by the county)
- Woodrow Wilson Library
- Baileys Crossroads Fire Station
- Burke Centre Library
- Fair Oaks Police Station
- Fire & Rescue Training Academy
- Merrifield Center - Core & Shell
- Merrifield Center - Commercial Interiors
- Newington DVS
- Oak Marr Recreation Center
- Oakton Library
- Reston Police Station & Governmental Center
- Shelter Care II
- Spring Hill Recreation Center
- Stringfellow Road Park 7 Ride
- Thomas Jefferson Library
- West Ox Animal Shelter
- Wolftrap Fire Station
Fairfax Center Fire Station
Fairfax County received certifications from the Green Building Initiative's environmental assessment and rating system for commercial buildings.
- Foundations (formerly known as the Girls Probation House)
- Katherine K. Hanley Family Shelter