CBF’s Brock Center Meets the
Living Building Challenge
In May, CBF’s Brock Environmental Center in
Virginia Beach met one of the toughest building standards in the world—Living Building
Challenge certification. This rigorous benchmark requires a building to produce more
energy than it uses over the course of 12
consecutive months and meet a host of other
Pursuing the certification was a chance for
CBF to set the bar high. “At the Brock Center,
we set out to show that a building can have
remarkable benefits for both the environment
and the community,” said CBF President
Will Baker. “Now it’s a proven concept. All of
us have the choice to be sustainable in how
Since its completion in late 2014, the Brock
Center has far surpassed expectations. It is
the first commercial building in the continental United States permitted to capture
and treat rainwater for use as drinking water.
In the past year the center’s solar panels
and residential wind turbines have produced
about 83 percent more energy than it has consumed. Thanks to conservation efforts and
innovative technologies, it uses 90 percent
less water and 80 percent less energy than
a typical office building of its size. In fact,
The Brock Center is a
tool on how to give back to
When cows get into streams they can pollute the waters and transmit disease.
The Brock Environmental Center in Virginia Beach is CBF’s second
platinum-rated building and its first to meet the Living Building Challenge.
electrical hookup fees for the 10,500-square-
foot building add up to only about $17.19 per
month, the minimum fee to tie into the grid.
It’s also become a magnet for visitors, welcoming about 30,000 in its first 18 months.
U To learn more about this innovative building,
Good Fences Make for Healthy Cattle
On his first week as a veterinarian in 1993,
Scott Nordstrom saw a case that would stick
with him for a long time. Shockingly, half a herd
of cattle had died due to bovine viral disease.
The following week, Nordstrom linked the
outbreak to another case of the disease at a
farm just upstream. “The stream carried the
pathogens downstream, spreading it from one
farm to the next,” according to Nordstrom.
Since then, he’s found time and again that
cattle are vulnerable to diseases and inju-
ries when they are allowed into waterways.
“If there is a disease outbreak in the herd
upstream, or even if they are just carriers of
infectious organisms and they defecate in the
stream, your animals are at risk if they drink
from that stream,” said Nordstrom, who is
Director of Cattle Technical Services for an
animal health company.
On his own farm, Nordstrom practices what
he preaches. He is among many Virginia
farmers who have signed up for programs
that offer support for fencing streams and
providing cattle with other sources of drinking water. These steps also prevent excess
nutrients from entering streams, playing an
important role in restoring waterways.
Thanks to Virginia’s legislators and Governor
Terry McAuliffe, the 2016 General Assembly
provided the largest single-year investment
ever in cost-share support to help farmers
implement conservation practices.
But there’s a lot of work left to be done to
meet goals in the Chesapeake Clean Water
Blueprint. A recent assessment shows that in
Virginia even more investment will be needed
next year for farmer conservation efforts. It
will be worthwhile considering how vital
these programs are to both keeping cattle
healthy and our waters clean.
U To learn more about agriculture and how it
affects the Bay, visit cbf.org/agriculture.