Grape vines and photovoltaic panels (r.) rely on the sun at Cooper Vineyards in Louisa, VA, the first winery on the East Coast and the second in the country to be awarded the fourth and highest, Platinum certification by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).
From a Virginia Wine Board Marketing Office press release, “The process of building a LEED platinum certified building was initially more expensive and arduous than co-owners, Jacque Hogge, MD and Geoffrey Cooper, MD expected, but they were able to get financial assistance from the United States Department of Agriculture. “Know that there are grants available to help with the costs of sustainable building projects,” Hogge advises to other potential green wineries. Cooper Vineyards received 2 of the 3 USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development (RD) Rural Energy Financing program) grants awarded in Virginia in 2010 to help with the expenses of their construction.”
Rural Energy Financing program focuses on loan guarantees, loans and grants to agricultural producers, businesses, cooperatives and rural residents for renewable energy systems and to make energy efficiency improvements.
The tasting room and building collects rainwater from the roof; uses low flow water fixtures to reduce usage by 40%; utilizes structurally insulated panels for the roof and walls; heats and cools the entire building using a geothermal system that includes pipes that are embedded in the parking lot; low-voltage LED lighting with daylight and occupancy sensors provide ample light when it is needed; a solar panel array provides more than 15% of the energy needs for the building, and much of the construction materials are from local and recycled material sources. For more information about USDA please go to www.usda.gov, Rural Development and Rural Energy Financing. LEED was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is a 501 c3 non-profit organization committed to a prosperous and sustainable future for our nation through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. USDA Photo by Lance Cheung.