First Net Zero Higher Ed Building in Virginia

The Advanced Technical Training Center at Piedmont Virginia Community College (PVCC), by VMDO Architects and slated for completion in spring 2023, will be the first higher education facility in Virginia, and one of just a handful of community college facilities in the United States, to achieve net zero energy. In joining the race to net zero, the Center provides a compelling example of how Virginia is taking steps to attain 100% clean energy by 2050, as outlined in Governor Northam's 2020 Virginia Clean Economy Act.
Workforce Development for the Jobs of the Future
Designed by VMDO Architects to elevate PVCC's comprehensive commitment to workforce training and career development, the Advanced Technical Training Center will lead the way in training a new generation of students for the clean energy economy. Budgeted at a construction cost of approximately $21 million, the Center will create a campus destination that meets the unique and diverse needs of today's community college student while also inspiring a sense of community and connection. The building includes advanced manufacturing and robotics labs, cyber-security and forensics labs, and active instructional spaces. In addition, the Center will create a hub for admissions, advising, and career services as well as a welcoming, student-centered commons with a café, student group spaces, a veterans' resource center, and a large event room with improved outdoor public spaces for multi-use programming.
"The PVCC faculty, staff and students are committed to a clean energy future for Virginia," says PVCC President Frank Friedman. "We are so pleased to be leading the way by constructing this net zero energy building which will become the centerpiece of our beautiful campus."
According to VMDO Architects' Joe Atkins, "In their focus on student success, community colleges are innovative training grounds and important contributors to local and regional economies. It's so rewarding to see PVCC explore net zero energy as a learning opportunity that will prepare students for future workforce and career opportunities."
VMDO has designed several net zero energy buildings including, notably, the first LEED Zero school in the world (Discovery Elementary School), what is expected to be the largest net zero energy building in the U.S. (Alice West Fleet Elementary School), and what is expected to be the first net zero energy community center in Washington, DC (Stead Park Recreation Center). According to the National Buildings Institute's annual Getting to Zero report, net zero energy schools and municipal buildings have been increasing in number across the country, yet higher education facilities have tended to lag in comparison. The Advanced Technical Training Center is helping to set the bar for building sustainably in higher education while implementing pragmatic clean energy solutions that double as teaching tools for students.
About VMDO
VMDO Architects designs community-centered environments that connect people and place through design. Since 1976, VMDO has focused the entirety of its architectural practice on designing high performing learning environments and transformational projects that enrich institutional missions. Success of this integrated approach has led to acclaim from a variety of societies and associations, including: the Society for College and University Planners (SCUP), the AIA's Committee on Architecture for Education (AIA CAE), and the AIA Committee on the Environment (COTE). Learn more about the Piedmont Virginia Community College Advanced Technical Training Center here.
About Piedmont Virginia Community College
Established in 1972, Piedmont Virginia Community College is a nonresidential two-year institution of higher education that serves Central Virginia – principally, residents of the City of Charlottesville and the counties of Albemarle, Buckingham, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, and Nelson. PVCC is one of 23 community colleges in Virginia that comprise the Virginia Community College System. PVCC is committed to providing access to a college education for all who can benefit, an opportunity for each student to reach her/his potential, and excellence in all programs and services. Visit

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