At Cove Point, we have an extensive conservation management plan. The site itself encompasses 1,000 acres, but nearly 90 percent of it remains pristine thanks to our environmental stewardship efforts. Nearby freshwater marshlands provide protected homes for several insects, amphibians and plants. We also use local, native plants in our landscaping so that we don't have to irrigate them.
The offshore platform is accessible from the facility through an underwater tunnel. When constructed, Cove Point worked with the environmental community to place the tunnel underwater and underground so it would reduce any impact on the Chesapeake Bay. Personnel use bicycles to travel back and forth to the offshore platform.
Dominion also is working with the environmental community to promote research and maintain endangered plants and animals in and around the property.
View the video below to learn how Dominion is restoring the largest freshwater marsh on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay.
In addition, the Dominion Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Dominion Resources, awarded a $25,000 grant to the Coastal Conservation Association Maryland (CCA MD) to expand its oyster restoration project in the Patuxent River, not far from Cove Point. This was the largest single project grant in the 14-year history of CCA MD, a non-profit organization of 1,800-plus recreational anglers and other conservation-minded citizens. The $25,000 grant has been used to establish a spat-on-shell restoration project in two Calvert County creeks that feed into the Patuxent River.
In March, 2008, Dominion and other supporters of the Maryland Artificial Reef Initiative (MARI) christened what will be its largest project, the Dominion Reef at the Gooses, by placing oyster shell and oysters on the reef. The MARI steering committee agreed to name the reef after Dominion in recognition of the energy company's support of the project.
In addition to providing $250,000 for the reef, Dominion funded the placement of about 75 tons of shell and about 25 bushels of oysters on the reef, with the goal of providing the new ecosystem a jump start. The oysters and shell were spread over a select portion of the 80-acre, man-made reef. Later that year, Dominion had the reef seeded with juvenile oysters, called oyster spat.
This Trust has ensured the environmental preservation of a significant portion of the more than one thousand acres owned by Dominion Cove Point.
The site includes one of the premier freshwater wetlands on the East Coast. It is designed to blend in and preserve the beauty of the Chesapeake Bay.
The administration building was constructed in 2007 in accordance with standards set by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, a rating system for green buildings that was developed by the US Green Building Council.
The building's location was chosen to avoid impacting wetlands and to maintain open space. Its lighting avoids "Light Pollution" so that nocturnal species are undisturbed and people can see the stars.
More than 24 percent of the materials, such as bricks, windows and cement, used in this building were produced locally. Using regional producers for construction material helped support the local businesses and reduced the amount of energy that was used to transport the material. When construction was completed, more than 85 percent of the waste material was recycled rather than sent to a landfill.
To help reduce air pollution, bike racks are available, as are showers for the bike commuters. Carpooling is encouraged; prime parking spaces right near the building entrance are reserved for registered car and van pools.
To help maintain indoor air quality, this building was constructed with low-emitting paints, adhesives and carpets. The building was "flushed out" with fresh air for two weeks prior to occupancy. Now, high-efficiency filters on the air conditioning system make sure the air stays clean, and a "Green" Housekeeping Program means no toxic chemicals are used to keep the building clean. The air-conditioning system uses environmentally friendly refrigerants.
This building uses 32 percent less energy than a typical office building. Energy-saving design features include clerestory windows that bring in lots of natural light. Where artificial lighting is necessary, fluorescent tubes are used.
A highly reflective/emissive roof, highly insulated walls, and insulated glass at windows and doors reduce heat loss to the environment, and the plumbing fixtures in the restrooms use 40 percent less water than in a typical building.
Dominion is offsetting the energy this building uses by purchasing more than 550,000 kWh of wind power. That means 756,000 fewer pounds of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, is emitted annually.