Virginia Becomes Twelfth State With High Performance School Building Criteria

Thursday, May 12, 2011 (San Francisco, CA) The Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) has released a new high performance school rating system for use in Virginia today. The Virginia CHPS Criteria (VA-CHPS) is a state-specific benchmark system for the design and construction of high performance school buildings in Virginia. The goal of this new tool is to provide guides for developing energy efficient, comfortable, environmentally responsible and healthy spaces of learning.

"As the largest school district in Virginia, and the eleventh largest school district in the US, Fairfax County Public Schools can have a huge impact by deciding to embrace high performance schools," said Steve Nicholson, Coordinator of Technical Support and Sustainable Design at Fairfax County Public Schools' Office of Design & Construction. "I think the Virginia CHPS Criteria is a reflection of the priorities and mission of Virginia school districts, and it provides a tool to help us move closer to the goal of putting every Virginia K-12 student in a high performance school."

VA-CHPS is available for free download on the CHPS website at:

A multi-disciplinary advisory committee, led by Fairfax County Public Schools, the state’s largest school district and the eleventh largest school district in the US, in partnership with Loudoun County Public Schools, created the VA-CHPS Criteria to reflect the unique codes and regulations, climates, opportunities, and local priorities of the state. VA-CHPS applies to the design and construction of new schools, major modernization and addition projects. Schools that pursue recognition using VA-CHPS will be supported by CHPS throughout the design and construction process.

The development of the Virginia CHPS Criteria also marks the first time a state has used the new CHPS “Core Criteria” to design a high performance building rating system. The Core Criteria reflect CHPS’ three major priorities of improving health and student performance, reducing operating costs and mitigating environmental impacts. States then use the Core Criteria to build in state priorities, local climate and code issues and other regional variations that make each state’s rating system unique. Over the last five years, ten states have developed rating systems for their school systems.

“Virginia is the twelfth state to come to CHPS looking for a localized, regional approach to high performance schools,” said Chip Fox, chair of the CHPS Board of Directors, and New Construction Manager at Sempra Utilities. “It took a mere six months to develop Virginia CHPS, which really showcases our new streamlined process for bringing new states onboard with CHPS. We are happy to welcome Virginia into the CHPS family.”

Virginia CHPS contains prerequisites and credits that reflect the changing nature of school design and construction in Virginia. A credit for BIM – Building Information Modeling – acknowledges how technology can be used to reduce wasteful construction mistakes in the design phase. Because energy management systems are still not prevalent in Virginia schools, VA-CHPS provides greater incentives for their use. Local resources such as the Virginia School Facilities Guidelines for acoustics and the Virginia Stormwater Management Program are referenced throughout the Criteria. The committee also used the point distribution to incorporate environmental priorities in Virginia.

"We developed VA-CHPS specifically with the Virginia climate - as it relates to school construction and operations - in mind,” said Kevin Lewis, PE, Director of Construction Services of Loudoun County Public Schools. “The CHPS program’s focus on energy efficiency, energy conservation and resource management was right on target with Loudoun County Public Schools' goals and made participation worthwhile for us. VA-CHPS provides an appropriate, easy-to-understand vehicle for any Virginia district interested in maintaining or improving their sustainability program.”

Virginia is the twelfth state to offer a CHPS Criteria. Other states with CHPS Criteria include Colorado, Texas, New York, Washington, California, Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maine and Rhode Island.

CHPS is a 501c(3) non-profit headquartered in San Francisco.

May 12, 2011 (San Francisco, CA) Virginia Becomes Twelfth State With High Performance School Building Criteria ~order=2011-05-12
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