Virginia Ranked Top 3 in LEED Green Building Certifications

The U.S. Green Building Council recently named Virginia No. 3 for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certifications as part of its annual ranking.

LEED is one of the most well-recognized and respected green building certification programs in the world, incorporating design, construction, maintenance and operational aspects into its environmentally-friendly analysis.

More than 57,000 commercial and institutional projects currently participate in LEED, comprising 10.5 billion square feet of construction space in 147 countries. Each day more than 1.5 million square feet of space are LEED-certified.

In 2013, Virginia had 160 projects LEED-certified, which encompassed 16.8 million square feet of space and 2.11 square feet per capita. The ranking is based on per capita numbers to allow for a fair comparison among different population levels.

The office and retail space at 1776 Wilson Boulevard in Arlington, Va., received recognition as a notable project. It is the first commercial building in Arlington to earn LEED Platinum certification.

"As the economy recovers, green buildings continue to provide jobs at every professional level and skill set, from carpenters to architects," said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chairman, USGBC.

Investment in green-building infrastructure creates real economic value in the form of lower energy costs up front, and the reduction in greenhouse gases ensures a sustainable future for the environment and subsequent generations.

The Commonwealth’s leadership in green building certifications is another example of the innovative environment Virginia offers companies. To learn more, click here.

Ardagh Group's Project in Roanoke County Wins CiCi Award

Ardagh Group’s project in Roanoke County was recognized with a 2014 CiCi Award from Trade & Industry Development magazine. The Corporate Investment & Community Impact awards celebrate 15 companies each year that made economic development announcements with a substantial, positive effect on their local communities.

In August 2013, Ardagh Group announced plans to invest $93.5 million to establish a metal packaging operation in Roanoke County. Not only is this project expected to create 96 new jobs, it is the largest single manufacturing investment in Roanoke County’s history.

Ardagh Group’s investment illustrates the powerful effect of supply chain economic development. The company is a leading supplier of glass and metal packaging, focused on the food and beverage industry. The company recently won a long-term supply agreement with ConAgra, which required it to add manufacturing capacity on the East Coast.

Just eight days after the company's announcement, a major supplier to Ardagh Group reported it would establish its first U.S. facility, also in Roanoke County. Netherlands-based Canline Systems supplies conveyor systems with can-making and can-processing applications for the food industry that can move up to 2,400 cans per minute. The project is expected to bring another 25 jobs to the region.

Food companies continue to bring their businesses to Virginia, announcing capital investment of $515 million and new job creation of 1,259 positions in 2013. To learn more about the Commonwealth’s thriving food processing industry, click here.

U.S. Foreign Affairs Security Training Center Comes to Virginia’s Fort Pickett

The U.S. Department of State recently announced plans to establish its Foreign Affairs Security Training Center, known as FASTC, on 1,500 acres at Fort Pickett in Virginia’s Nottoway County.

U.S. diplomats are currently trained at multiple sites across the nation. In May 2008, Congress identified the need to consolidate training at one facility to improve efficiencies and cost savings.

After a multi-year search, Fort Pickett was selected as the best site over 70 other properties because it met DOS’ operational requirements and offered close proximity to D.C. agencies and the intelligence community.

FASTC will train approximately 8,000 – 10,000 U.S. ambassadors and diplomats sent to foreign countries. The center will initially focus on hard skills training, which includes detecting surveillance, providing emergency medical care, identifying explosive devices, firearms training, and performing defensive driving maneuvers. The 2012 attacks in Benghazi highlight the importance of this training for the U.S. foreign affairs community.

Fort Pickett is the perfect location because the 46,000-acre campus offers plenty of land and a secure environment to build driving tracks, mock urban environments, and firing and explosive ranges. Fort Pickett was established in 1942 and currently serves as the Maneuver Training Center for the Virginia National Guard. While the land is predominantly in Nottoway County, it covers parts of Brunswick and Dinwiddie Counties.

This project is expected to be transformative for the Nottoway County region. The DOS is currently estimating a hard-skills facility will bring $461 million in investment to the area, not to mention additional jobs both onsite and in the community through the multiplier effect.

U.S. Senator Tim Kaine and a group of federal, state and local officials recently visited Fort Pickett to tour the future site of FASTC. The Administration continues to work through budgetary issues and must complete an updated master plan and environmental impact study before construction can begin.

Virginia’s selection as the site for the FASTC project illustrates how the Commonwealth provides the right location, infrastructure and workforce for both public and private entities. To learn more, click here.

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