At a Glance

A Chesapeake Bay Foundation environmental education center is designed to meet the industry’s most stringent sustainability standards and become one of the nation’s first “Living Buildings.”

Project Description

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation is an independent conservation organization dedicated to the protection and restoration of the Chesapeake Bay. CBF operates out of offices in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and DC as well as 15 field centers. One of its newest facilities is the Brock Environmental Center, located in Virginia Beach, VA. Intended as a regional home for its environmental education programs, the Center itself is an innovative example of environmentally sensitive and smart building. It is among the first in the nation to embrace energy and water independence. Designed by SmithGroup JJR, the Center is set to be certified as one of the first structures in the mainland U.S. to achieve the most advanced measure of sustainability in the built environment: a “Living Building.”

Biohabitats provided peer review for the design of the building’s rain-to-potable-water infrastructure. The system consists of rain cistern, filtration, and disinfection components. Biohabitats also helped the design team attain permitting for the project.

As a site that has achieved Living Building certification, the industry’s most rigorous sustainability standards, the Center is permitted to supply all of the water and energy it needs while composting all of its building and human waste.

The Brock Environmental Center received a 2017 American Institute of Architects Committee on the Environment (AIA COTE) Top Ten Award.



Chesapeake/Delaware Bays

Physiographic Province

Coastal Plain


Chesapeake Bay

Expertise Areas

Community, Infrastructure, Water


Chesapeake Bay Foundation


Virginia Beach, Virginia, United States

Project Team
  • SmithGroupJJR