Virginia Tech Students Generate Innovative Ideas for the Brock Environmental Center Site Utilization Plan

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In the Fall of 2012, Hourigan Construction invited students from Virginia Tech’s Myers Lawson School of Construction, Department of Building Construction, to work with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) on the Brock Environmental Center in Virginia Beach, VA. The students were asked to research and recommend suitable solutions for the “state-of-the-art” construction processes needed to construct the Brock Environmental Center to meet the extremely rigid and sustainable Living Building Challenge requirements.

The Living Building Challenge is a certification program that defines the most advanced measure of sustainability in the built environment, and projects that achieve this level of performance can claim to be the “greenest” anywhere. The Virginia Tech students focused on four higher-level factors: constructability, means and methods, logistics and schedule.

The video below shows how the student team collaborated with the team from Hourigan Construction and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation to provide innovative approaches to preserve the sustainability of both the design and the site and minimize the carbon footprint of construction activities.

The Virginia Tech students generated innovative and forward thinking ideas for the design and implementation of the high performance building. Their recommendations included several ways to reduce carbon emissions by replacing the typical fossil fuel-powered equipment with energy-efficient alternatives. A few that will be incorporated into the site utilization plan include:

1. A Mobile Photovoltaic Array will provide temporary power for the construction tools and activities, replacing the typical gas or diesel generators.

2. An Electric Platform Lift will elevate construction materials and equipment to the first floor deck of the building (~ 10’ up from the exterior site elevation), eliminating the need for the use of multiple forklifts.

3. A Small Electric Mobile Tower Crane will be used to erect the building’s structure, replacing gas or diesel-powered cranes.

The students’ work will contribute greatly to the successful build of the Brock Environmental Center.

Chris Brandt, Executive Vice President at Hourigan Construction, and Andrew McCoy, Assistant Professor at Virginia Tech’s  Myers Lawson School of Construction, worked closely with the students during this project.

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