“Leeding” by Example: Operation Smile Earns LEED Gold Certification

Press Release
Posted 8/7/2018

Operation Smile is awarded a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification for its 75,000 square foot headquarters in Virginia Beach, Virginia. LEED is an internationally recognized green building certification system.

“We’re excited to receive a LEED Gold certification. A lot of hard work and strategic planning went into the construction of the building to ensure it was as environmentally friendly as possible, said Kevin Summerlin, Facilities Manager at Operation Smile.

Obtaining LEED certification requires compliance with a minimum number of criteria affecting many aspects of a project, from site selection to the recycled content of building materials. Projects earn points for criteria they fulfill; those that earn more points are awarded a higher level of certification.

Operation Smile achieved Gold certification using both proven and innovative strategies for site development, water savings, energy efficiency, material selection, and indoor environmental quality. Certification is gained through evaluation by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

“We are pleased to partner with a mission-driven organization like Operation Smile that shares our commitment to sustainability and the environment,” said Clark Nexsen senior project manager LouAnn Fornataro, the Virginia-based architecture and engineering firm that designed the building. “In close collaboration with the site designer, VHB Engineering, and the design/builder, Hourigan Construction, we exceeded our expectations,” Fornataro added.

Attributes of the building that contributed to the LEED Gold Certification include:

• Daylighting so effective that no artificial lighting is necessary for 87% of the day;

• Positive impact on the local community;

• Reduction of Volatile Organic Compound emissions;

• A heating and cooling system that reduces energy usage to 34% lower than the average comparable building;

• Reduction of potable water usage by 30%;

• Nearly one quarter of construction materials sourced from recycled components;

• Landscaping that cuts irrigation water needs by at least 50%.

“Achieving LEED certification is more than implementing sustainable practices. It represents a commitment to making the world a better place and influencing others to do better,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO, USGBC. He adds, “Given the extraordinary importance of climate protection and the central role of the building industry in that effort, Operation Smile demonstrates their leadership through their LEED certification of their global headquarters in Virginia.”

The City of Virginia Beach and Tidewater Community College were also instrumental to the success of the project.

About Operation Smile

Operation Smile has provided hundreds of thousands of safe surgeries for those born with cleft lip, cleft palate or other facial deformities. With more than three decades of expertise, Operation Smile creates solutions that deliver free surgery to people where it’s needed most. As one of the largest medical volunteer-based nonprofits, Operation Smile has mobilized thousands of medical volunteers from a wide range of medical specialties from more than 80 countries. Operation Smile engages public-private partnerships to advance health care delivery, train local medical professionals to provide surgical care for patients in their communities, donate crucial medical equipment and supplies, and increase access to surgical care so that everyone living with cleft is treated. Visit www.operationsmile.org, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.