DNREC announces LEED Existing Buildings Operation and Maintenance certification of Richardson & Robbins Building

Date Posted: Wednesday, January 4th, 2017
Categories:  Division of Energy and Climate DNREC

DOVER – Governor Jack Markell joined DNREC Secretary David Small, DNREC staff and project partners today to announce that DNREC’s downtown Dover campus, the Richardson & Robbins (R&R) Building, has earned Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification in the category of Existing Buildings: Operation and Maintenance from the US Green Building Council.

Governor Jack Markell and DNREC Secretary David Small display the Richardson & Robbins Building's LEED certification plaque.

Governor Jack Markell and DNREC Secretary David Small display the Richardson & Robbins Building’s LEED certification plaque.

LEED certification is a globally-recognized benchmark for environmental sustainability. Beginning in 2009, DNREC staff and partners implemented a series of energy efficiency and sustainability projects which, among other benefits, resulted in a 40 percent reduction in energy use and a 24 percent reduction in water use in the building, bringing significant savings to the state’s utility costs.

“My Executive Order 18 asked state agencies to lead by example towards a clean energy economy and increased sustainability for Delaware, including goals for reducing energy use, increasing recycling, promoting clean transportation and saving money while benefiting the environment,” said Governor Markell. “The announcement of LEED certification of the Richardson & Robbins Building epitomizes the type of results we aimed to achieve in this process and I applaud the hard work and commitment to environmental stewardship by the DNREC staff involved in this effort.”

“LEED certification for existing buildings in operations and maintenance is based on a rating system that holds facilities to the highest standards of sustainability. Earning this certification is a prestigious achievement that recognizes sustainability in every aspect of a building, its systems and its employee activities,” said Secretary Small. “It’s a testament to the perseverance and dedication of our staff and to the benefits of forging partnerships with other agencies and organizations that we are here today to celebrate the success of this low-cost, high-return project.”

Inspired by Executive Order 18 and building on the earlier energy efficiency upgrades made to R&R, DNREC’s LEED team formed in 2011 with the goal of “walking the walk” on sustainability and reducing environmental impacts, said LEED Team Manager Bahareh van Boekhold, calling the results “a triumph of inter-departmental teamwork and coordination.” Staff from seven DNREC divisions joined forces with staff from the Office of Management and Budget’s Division of Facilities Management and Government Support Services, working with partners including LEED consultant Lorax, energy upgrade contractor Ameresco and state vendors and service providers including Goodwill, the state’s janitorial contractor.

“Richardson & Robbins is the first state-owned building and one of only three buildings in Delaware to achieve this specific LEED certification – an especially significant achievement for a building constructed as a cannery in 1881 that was modernized into a state office more than 30 years ago,” said van Boekhold. “Our DNREC staff and the Office of Management and Budget formed a strong and continuing relationship while working collaboratively and persistently with our partners for nearly five years to establish cutting-edge 21st century sustainable processes that will continue to improve operations even after certification,” she said.
Project achievements include:

  • Lower energy and water usage, resulting in utilities cost savings
  • Sustainable purchasing and waste management practices
  • Green no-irrigation landscaping with native species and restored habitat
  • Integrated pest management and green cleaning practices
  • Lower-impact employee commuting supported by preferred parking for “green” cars and carpool vehicles
  • Improved work environment inside the R&R Building for the health and comfort of employees through indoor air quality monitoring and reduced exposure to hazardous chemicals

“Most importantly, the LEED Team has demonstrated that by working together on a common goal and finding creative solutions, state buildings can be operated in a sustainable and healthy way, while saving the state money,” said Susan Love, Climate & Sustainability Section Lead, Division of Energy & Climate. “This project and its LEED certification ‘greens’ the way for other state-owned buildings to operate more sustainably and efficiently, providing a template for other state buildings to achieve similar savings and improvements.”

The Richardson & Robbins Building was built in 1881 by food-canning pioneers Alden B. Richardson and James Washington Robbins to house their Dover canning operation, which produced a popular line of products including canned meats, locally-grown fancy fruits and vegetables and their award-winning plum pudding. In 1959, the company and its cannery complex were sold to the William Underwood Company, which continued to make some of R&R’s products. The landmark Dover cannery was closed by Underwood in 1976.

In 1979 – the same year the State of Delaware purchased the empty cannery complex – R&R was placed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Victorian Dover Historic District. The abandoned complex was extensively renovated, while retaining its tall arched windows, ornate exterior brickwork and massive, rough-hewn exposed ceiling beams. It was dedicated as the new main office of Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control in April 1983.

The US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class strategies and practices. To receive LEED certification, building projects satisfy prerequisites and earn points to achieve different levels of certification. The LEED Rating System for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance provides a set of performance standards for operations and maintenance of existing commercial or institutional buildings of all sizes, both public and private. The intent is to promote high performance, healthful, durable, affordable and environmentally sound practices in existing buildings. LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance is used by owners and operators of existing structures to implement sustainable practices and reduce the environmental impact of their buildings over their functional life cycles.

Issued in February 2010, Governor Markell’s Executive Order 18: Leading by Example towards a Clean Energy Economy & Sustainable Natural Environment, states that the State of Delaware’s agencies shall integrate the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) practices into all new construction, renovation and operation of state facilities, with a particular focus on integrating technologies and design/material/construction elements that generate lower long-term operating expenses. EO 18’s mandates include implementation of energy conservation and efficiency measures; use of clean, renewable energy; environmentally-responsible and energy-conscious construction; environmentally-sensitive procurement and recycling practices; and reduction of emissions from state vehicles.

Media Contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902.

Vol. 47, No. 2


DNREC Logo The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC). Want your news hot off the press? Join the DNREC press release email list. Send a blank email to
For more information, contact the DNREC Public Affairs Office, at 302.739.9902

The Division of Energy & Climate is responsible for strategic energy planning and policy to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the people and the economy of the State.

Related Topics:



State Agency Newsrooms

External Links

Flag Status


Adjust Your Font Size

Make Text Size Smaler Reset Text Size Make Text Size Bigger

State of Delaware Facebook Page State of Delaware Facebook Page
State of Delaware Twitter Page State of Delaware Twitter Page
State of Delaware Flickr Photos State of Delaware Flickr Photos
State of Delaware Youtube Page State of Delaware Youtube Page
State of Delaware RSS Feed State of Delaware RSS Feed