VCU Rice Center

Rice Center Education Building

Rice Center Education Building

The Walter L. Rice Education Building, situated on a bluff overlooking the James River, is the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum building in Virginia, the highest sustainability rating possible. It houses lecture and laboratory rooms for classes, a conference room and administrative offices, as well as an outdoor classroom pavilion. The building incorporates many sustainable features such as geothermal heating and cooling, solar electrical power generation, use of sustainable building materials, a vegetated roof, advanced water recycling, rain gardens and landscaping with native species.

VCU Rice Building video tour

The $2.6 million,  4,900-square-foot Education Building at the Rice Center was not only built at the highest level of green building standards, but it is also being operated and maintained by its occupants at the highest level of green building operations.

LEED certification of the building was based on a number of green design and construction features that positively impact the project itself and the broader community, including rain gardens to collect and treat storm water runoff and a vegetated roof system to reduce heat island effect and storm water runoff. Energy usage is reduced through geothermal heating and cooling, high-efficiency lighting and high insulation levels that rely on soy-based products and recycled denim. The building promotes efficient water use through dual-flush and power-assist toilets that operate with rainwater collected in a series of cisterns. Pre-engineered, on-site wastewater treatment results in advanced, clear and odorless effluent infiltrated into nearby wooded areas. Rapidly renewable products were featured in construction, including sorghum paneling, recycled steel and gypsum board.

Quick facts

  • 42 percent potable water use reduction below mandated baseline
  • 75 percent construction waste diverted from the landfill
  • 75 percent of construction materials were harvested or extracted and manufactured regionally


View the full LEED scorecard


Creative Scenic Enhancement Award – 2013 – Scenic Virginia

Green Innovation Award – 2009 – Best Institutional Project – Higher Education – Virginia Sustainable Building Network

Project of the Year – 2009 – Mid-Atlantic Construction Magazine – Best Green Project of the Year

Honor Award, Excellence in Architecture – 2010 – Virginia Society of the American Institute of Architects

Honor Award – 2010 – Central Virginia Chapter, American Institute of Architects

Award for New Construction – 2010 – James River Green Building Council (USGBC)

Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award – 2011 – Presented at 22nd annual Environment Virginia Symposium


Rice Center Education Building