Our Sustainability

plant grow
plastic in water

What is Sustainability?

Sustainability is development in which humans and nature can exist in harmony without compromising the needs of present and future generations. Sustainability includes:

  • Defining operations to reduce our carbon footprint through energy efficiency, conservation, and process optimization
  • Lessen and limit the impacts of the built environment on natural systems through low impact design, integrated design management, system optimization
  • Incorporating efficient and conscious ways of handling materials including reducing amount of materials, reusing materials, and recycling materials
  • Providing transportation options to reduce commuting emissions
  • Educating current generations and training the next generation


What is the latest news about VCCS sustainability and conservation efforts?

In March 2021, then-Governor Ralph Northam signed an Executive Order aimed at reducing Virginia’s reliance on single-use plastics (see press release here). As a result of this Executive Order, the Shared Services center executed a number of key contract modifications that are currently in effect (as of May 2022). Those contract modifications can be found here.

In March 2022, Governor Glenn Youngkin signed an Executive Order which promotes recycling, reducing waste and encourages the creation and relocation of clean technology companies that are involved in recycling-related issues to Virginia. (see press release here)


Our Goals

Reduce VCCS carbon footprint and educate future generations about environmentally sustainable policies and practices. Accomplish this through a combination of projects and initiatives spanning campus operations, academics, workforce training, college community behavior, external engagement and community outreach.

  • Incorporate environmental considerations into all aspects of planning, contracting, operations and education.
  • Make a concerted effort to progressively reduce overall environmental impact — measured by reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
  • Educate about sustainability and provide green jobs training across the Commonwealth.


Consider alternatives to single-use plastic in your daily life. If there is no alternative, remember the 3 R’s – Reduce, Re-use, & Recycle.

VCCS follows Virginia’s High Performance Building Act (March 2021) in building design and construction.

Prior to 2018, VCCS chose to follow the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) LEED standard.

Since 2018, VCCS follows the Virginia Energy Conservation and Environmental Standards (VEES), July 2021 edition, as outlined in the High Performance Building Act.

What is LEED?

An acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), LEED is a comprehensive suite of certification systems that measures sustainability in the design, construction, operation and maintenance of homes, buildings, and neighborhoods. The LEED rating system can be applied to new construction, major renovation projects, and existing building operations.

Developed by the USGBC, LEED certification promotes best-in-class green building and design techniques that reduce negative environmental impacts while improving occupant health.

Many buildings within VCCS have achieved a LEED certification level:

LEED Existing Buildings

  • TNCC – Hampton III

LEED Certified

  • NVCC – Mark R. Warner Student Services

LEED Silver –

  • NVCC – Brault building
  • NVCC – Higher Education Center
  • NVCC – Regional Center for Workforce Education & Training
  • NVCC – Support Services
  • TCC – VA Beach Student Center
  • TCC Portsmouth – Student Center


  • NVCC – Arts & Science
  • NVCC – Center for Design, Media, and the Arts
  • NVCC – Parrish Hall
  • TCC – VA Beach Learning Resource Center

What is VEES?

Virginia Energy Conservation and Environmental Standards (VEES) was developed as a state alternative to LEED and other green building certification program by the state of Virginia. It was initiated under Executive Order 48 in 2007.

VEES applies to new and renovated state-owned facilities. VEES follows similar categories to LEED such as: Energy performance, water conservation, indoor environmental quality, and operation and maintenance.

To date, only 1 building within VCCS has achieved a VEES certification:

  • TCC VA Beach Bayside Building

Other VEES buildings currently in design or construction:

  • LFCC – Hazel Hall
  • NVCC – Reynolds
  • TNCC – Diggs Moore Harrison Complex


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