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Going Solar

Crew members from Altenergy Inc. installing solar panels

The University of Virginia’s first LEED-certified building to utilize solar panels is nearing completion. Workers with Altenergy Incorporated of Charlottesville recently installed a 15 kilowatt solar panel system atop the Facilities Management Shop Support and Office Building, colloquially known as Leake II. The solar panels — which will primarily be used to supplement a portion of the building’s energy needs — mark a significant achievement for the University, in advancing renewable energy on Grounds. Slated for completion this winter, Leake II will include a variety of sustainable features.

“Leake II is an environmentally friendly building that also promotes the health of the building occupants. It elevates the work that we are doing at Facilities Management and is an example of our commitment to be responsible stewards of the environment,” said Amy Eichenberger, senior project manager for Capital Construction & Renovations.

Crew member from Altenergy Inc. installs a solar panel

Other sustainable features planned for the building include a green roof, which will capture storm water using native plants and provide passive cooling to the building. Additionally, a curtain wall glazing system, which is a type of exterior wall that can be built with lighter material, like glass, will allow sunlight to penetrate inside the building and provide passive lighting. The pavement around the building will be permeable and contain landscaping with bio filtration capabilities to capture stormwater runoff.

The welcoming and day lit interior has been designed to promote collaboration and impromptu discussions through an open office floorplan. To promote a healthful work environment, furniture was selected with ergonomic principles in mind, such as adjustable standing desks and standing chairs, meant to reduce pressure on the spine and prevent back injuries.

“We designed the space to be flexible and support dynamic work cultures — Facilities Management is an ever evolving organization and requires a space which will meet our needs today and flex to meet our needs in the future,” said Eichenberger.

Several Facilities Management departments will be moving into the building, primarily those who are currently in mobile office units located behind the Leake building. These include Environmental Resources, Office for Sustainability, Human Resources, Geospatial Engineering Services, Occupational Health and Safety, and other Operations groups.

About the author

Sakib Ahmed
Sustainability Coordinator for Communications
Office for Sustainability
UVA Facilities Management
(434) 243-5231