Shannon Hill winery earns elite LEED designation
Pop the corks and let the celebration begin at Cooper Vineyards in Louisa County. The award-winning winery’s elegant “green” tasting room that officially opened in 2011 has earned a coveted LEED Platinum certification, which is awarded only to construction projects that meet the highest-rated standards in green building technology.
The announcement was made by Baskervill, an architectural, engineering and design firm in Richmond, Va. The Cooper Vineyards Tasting Room is the firm’s first LEED Platinum project and represents a rural enterprise success story for Louisa County and Virginia.
“With this prestigious distinction, Cooper Vineyards becomes the first winery on the east coast to boast the LEED Platinum status,” said Michael Pellis, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, architect and designer of the tasting room project. “Only a handful of wineries in the U.S. are LEED Platinum and they are all on the west coast.”
LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, validates the integrity in construction of a green building. The LEED certification award process is broken into a four-tier classification system ranging from Certified to Platinum, the highest possible level. Among the benefits of a green building are improved air quality and waste reduction, reduced operating costs and a minimized strain on local infrastructure.
“We are absolutely thrilled to be named a LEED Platinum facility, a project that we’ve been dreaming of for over ten years,” said Jacquelyn (Jacque) Hogge, co-owner of Cooper Vineyards with Geoffrey (Jeff) Cooper, who adds, “Our ‘green’ tasting room enables us to respect the land while producing some of the finest wines in the state.”
In addition to incorporating many renewable and environmentally sustainable features, the spacious tasting room features dramatic two-story walls of glass on two sides. This heightens the visitor’s experience of a fully integrated indoor/outdoor space that is one with the terroir of the vineyard’s landscape, emulating how sunlight is transformed into wine.
The most notable green building technologies used in the Cooper Vineyards’ project include:
• Rainwater harvesting system that filters rainwater for irrigation and toilets
• Solar powered panels that provide more than 15 percent of electricity for the building
• An ultra-efficient geothermal HVAC system
• Energy-efficient lighting fixtures and Solar tubes
• Low-impact land disturbance practices
• Natural stone and native cypress siding
• Structurally Insulated Panel System (SIPS) providing 70 percent greater insulation value over traditional stick frame construction
• Energy efficient windows
• Extensive use of reclaimed, recycled and locally-sourced materials
• Use of other recycled and/or rapidly renewable resources, including custom-concrete counter tops of the tasting bar
“LEED-certified buildings use energy and water resources more efficiently when compared to conventional buildings, which are simply built to code,” added Pellis. “After one year, the project has already achieved a 67 percent performance over a code-minimum measurement and we anticipate an ever greater performance next year.”
The tasting room project is also a 2012 Greater Richmond Association of Commercial Real Estate (GRACRE) award winner and a 2011 Virginia Green Program Green Travel Leader award winner.
For more information, visit www.coopervineyards.com.