First frame of Our Building Flyover Video

WSSI’s LEED-Gold Headquarters

In 2005, we built our headquarters in Gainesville – Virginia’s first Gold-certified building under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system. Our goal was to incorporate innovative design and sustainability practices into a showcase office building and grounds that supports our work and stewardship ideals.

Our design includes a variety of low impact development (LID) stormwater management techniques, solar energy, water-efficiency and energy-efficiency measures, and recycled and rapidly renewable materials, along with landscaping and a rain garden that support wildlife.

Our office is both a laboratory and a classroom. Our fully-integrated LID design uses detention, retention, and evapotranspiration to reduce storm water volumes and peak flow rates. Our design components include a green roof, an indoor cistern (used to flush toilets), an underground outdoor cistern (used for irrigation), a rain garden, four types of pervious parking surfaces, a bioswale, and a CU-Structural Soil® patio.

The extensive native landscaping has also earned Home Wildlife Sanctuary certification from the Audubon Society and Silver level certification from the Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) Conservation program.


Green Roof

The green roof was built on a one-story, 3,626 square foot extension of the building above employee work areas, and has become an employee amenity with sitting areas and walkways.

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Rain Garden

Rain gardens, also known as bioretention basins, are designed to pond water on the surface during storm events and allow the water to infiltrate once the storm passes.

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Two cisterns (4,000 and 8,000 gallons) collect the runoff from the main and green roofs. The water is used to flush all onsite toilets and irrigate the site landscaping.

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Permeable Concrete Pavers

The front parking area uses pervious concrete pavers – resembling standard paving blocks, except missing the corners – which allows stormwater to soak down between the pavers into a reservoir below.


GravelPave2 Pervious Pavement

GravelPave2 is a grid of plastic rings fused to a filter–fabric backing, which is filled with small, angular, gap–graded gravel. Stormwater can soak through the small gravel and filter fabric and into the gravel base below.


Pervious Concrete

11,800 sf of pervious concrete is located at the back of the site. Pervious concrete is made in approximately the same manner as standard concrete, except the fine material is removed giving the concrete very high porosity and permeability.


Porous Asphalt

Much like pervious concrete, porous asphalt differs from regular asphalt in that it includes less fine material. Instead, fibers are added that bridge large aggregates, adding strength and reducing the risk of cracking.


CU-Structural Soil Patio

Our rear patio is constructed using a deep layer of CU–Structural Soils, a specialized soil blend that maintains void space and allows for healthy tree root growth. Three canopy trees are planted into the structural soil mix under the patio, providing evapotranspiration and shade.


Underground Gravel Detention

All BMPs at the back of the office site drain to a gravel bed detention area, filled with crushed angular gravel, through the underdrain network.



Our water quality swale, also known as a bioswale, is a vegetated channel approximately 275 feet long. The long flowpath and three rock check dams help slow water down before it leaves our site.


Living Walls

We use living walls on portions of the south- and east-facing walls to shade and cool the building in the summer and to provide habitat for songbirds and insects.


Naturalistic Landscaping

Locally-native plants and the land’s natural contours create a landscape that closely resembles surrounding natural areas. These plants usually require less irrigation and maintenance; are aestheti­cally pleasing; provide abundant wildlife habitat; and can mimic natural hydrologic function.


Dog Kennel and Dog Waste Composter

We provide a kennel with an exterior fenced dog run for employees who wish to bring their dogs to work. The kennel also houses a composting bin to render dog waste into soil rather than sending it to a landfill where anaerobic conditions would slow its natural degradation.


Community Garden

Our community garden is planted, maintained, and harvested by employees. The garden is a series of raised beds with an irrigation system and fencing to protect the plants from local wildlife.


Native Forest and Nature Trail

Behind our office, a 1,850 lf woodchip trail winds through the forested Resource Protection Area (RPA) between our building and the nearby shopping center. The trail gives employees an easy way to walk or ride to the shopping center for lunch or errands.


Solar Panels

WSSl’s second-story roof is covered in a high-albedo (highly-reflective) mem­brane and rows of solar panels to reflect sunlight or turn it into an asset that provides the office with electricity.

Take a look at our Steps Toward Sustainability booklet to learn more about our building.