The Association of Social Work Boards new home is going to be green.
Being built at 17126 Mountain Run Vista Court, the 26,000 square foot building was having solar panels installed last week that will power approximately 50 percent of the complex.
“We started some values that we wanted to incorporate, one of the big ones was sustainability,” Chief Operating Officer Dwight Hymans said. “It ties in very well that we want to be as environmentally friendly as we can be. We want to reduce our carbon footprint as we can, the solar ties into that very well.”
The ASWB now employs 50 and has added room to grow, the new building is designed to old up to 60 staff.
The new building construction started in October 2018 and is expected to be finished later this fall.
“It’s always been a bit of a moving target,” Hymans said.
Last Thursday, Hymans and staff watched as Sun Tribe Solar - based out of Charlottesville - worked to install approximately 600 solar panels. The panels are elevated and based in the parking lot, so they will serve a dual purpose as a cover for vehicles. The panels are fixed - meaning they will not track the sun but they are expected to power a majority of the building.
“Initially we talked about putting a solar array out in the meadow,” Hymans said. “We talked about putting on the building, we finally came up with the idea to have them in the parking lot.
Hymans said the organization has built in other kinds of efficiencies on the electrical side, including an extremely efficient air conditioning system that will feature 88 different HVAC units.
“The nice thing about the HVAC system we are using is that it’s almost as efficient as a geothermal system, but it’s less expensive to install,” Hymans said. “This also allows us to have individual thermostat control in each office of the building.”
Conduits will run from the three solar arrays and will go directly into a pad on the back of the building. All of it is shielded from view by a natural tree line and a rolling meadow on the east side of the building. Hyman said protecting the natural view of the area was important.
“We had the building designed and parking lot designed before we came up with the solar,” Hymans said. “It’s turned out to be very advantageous because it’s over our parking lot which is next to the building - so the view from the building is going to be of our meadow area. We’ve got the tree berm on that side so folks on that side won’t be looking at solar panels either. It ended up being a good design.”
The ASWB owns 35 acres - with the property stretching all the way back to Mountain Run. They plan to design walking trails and have already started planting natural Virginia habitat.
“It’s going to take about three or four years to grow and get rid of the invasive species, but we’re going to get there,” Hymans said.
ASWB is celebrating its 40th anniversary and 30th year serving Culpeper. They are heavily involved in community charities.
“We are an association made up of the licensing boards of social work throughout the U.S. and Canada,” Hymans said. “Our primary services is a licensing exam for social workers. We have a lot of other services we offer now as well.”