Blue Ridge Regional Jail Authority’s First LEED Facility

The Amherst County Adult Detention Center recently earned Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) certification with the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI). Designed by detention specialists Moseley Architects, the 170,000-square foot facility is the sixth facility operated by the Blue Ridge Regional Jail Authority. The facility opened in December 2011 and recently received its LEED Silver certification, making it the Authority’s first LEED certified facility.

The facility houses 380 male and female inmates and features full service laundry and kitchen areas, a medical unit, intake and booking areas, magistrate offices, educational services, as well as administration and support spaces.

Elton Blackstock, the Authority’s administrator, stressed the importance of pursuing LEED certification for the project. 

“Not only do we owe it to the community to make environmentally-responsible decisions, but the operational costs that can be achieved through water and energy savings are impressive.”

Elton Blackstock, Administrator of Blue Ridge Regional Jail Authority

Blackstock commented that the AcornVac system was chosen as a greener alternative to a traditional plumbing system, but that it is also a practical option for the facility in terms of controlling water costs, conducting maintenance with ease, and helping prevent excessive inmate use. The vacuum plumbing system will reduce wastewater by 70 percent and overall water use by more than 60 percent, which can annually save over 3.5 million gallons of water.

Carrie Henaghan, Moseley Architects’ Project Manager, credited the outstanding dedication and efforts of the entire team for the facility’s accomplishments. 

“The owners, building users, architects, and engineers were focused on determining the most energy-efficient options that complied with the facility’s security requirements.”

Carrie Henaghan, Moseley Architects’ Project Manager

Moseley Architects and Hitt Contracting, Inc.  worked to incorporate design and construction strategies that were critical to achieving LEED certification. Despite the challenging site, the design team planned to maximize naturally vegetated open space, appropriately manage stormwater, and landscape with native and drought-tolerant plants that would not require irrigation. Additional features included:  selecting high-performance mechanical equipment, installing an air barrier, optimizing building insulation, and using energy-efficient lighting to reduce overall energy use by 16 percent; supporting the local economy by using regionally manufactured materials; and diverting 80 percent of construction waste from landfills by sorting and recycling over 2,000 tons of waste.

Blackstock said that both he and the staff are pleased with the results.

“Controlling costs on a building that’s open 365 days a year is a challenge, but I feel like we made sounds decisions that will quickly pay for themselves.”

Elton Blackstock, Administrator of Blue Ridge Regional Jail Authority