Better Living Mill Shop Fluvanna County Virginia


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Better Living Mill Shop is the first industrial building in Central Virginia to earn certification for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for New Construction. While Better Living, Inc, founded in 1893, has long been known for their community stewardship, this honor gives them the additional distinction as one of the most environmentally sensitive facilities in Central Virginia. The high performance 25,955 sq. ft. Mill Shop at Zion Crossroads in Fluvanna County is a state-of-the-art building that features many cost efficient green design features and was presented with the 2009 Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence. This fundamental approach to design and construction demonstrates Better Living’s desire to promote environmental awareness along with best value products to their customers.

The Mill Shop designed by The Gaines Group, PLC, an architecture firm with offices in Charlottesville and Harrisonburg Virginia, was completed in June of 2009, by the Mathers Construction Team based in Waynesboro, Virginia.  As Better Living Company president John Nunley states “we could not have achieved this without a great team, The Gaines Group, PLC, Mathers Construction, and F7 Engineers were integral parts of the success of this project. I greatly appreciate their expertise in practical green solutions that make economic and environmental sense.”

The Better Living Mill Shop facility features many unique strategies that will provide cost savings over the life of the structure. Architect, Raymond Gaines, FCSI, AIA, CCS states “the fundamental basis of green design is that it doesn’t add cost to the project, but rather it adds value to the building’s owner.” The transpired solar collector, a black metal wall that uses the sun’s energy to heat the facility, is prominent on the south facing wall of the building. This solar collector along with energy efficient lighting, efficient HVAC system, and high performance insulation strategies provide a 47% reduction in annual energy bills comparable to similar buildings. Through the use of water efficient fixtures, this facility has reduced annual water usage by 40%. It also diverted 95% of the construction waste from the landfill, used 52% recycled content material, 34% regional materials, and numerous long lasting durable materials. The facility also features a 80,000 gallon rain water collection system under the parking lot. This water is used for a fire suppression system and for landscape and truck washing facilitation. As green consultant, Charles Hendricks, AIA, CSI, CDT, LEED AP, of The Gaines Group states, “these fundamental design elements provide a positive Return on Investment, not only for Better Living’s bottom line, but for the resources available to future generations.”

USGBC is the nation’s leading evaluator of environmentally sustainable buildings. LEED is a third party certification program and the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high-performance green buildings.

About Better Living Mill Shop

Since 1893, Better Living Mill Shop has crafted some of the finest millwork in Virginia. Highly regarded for authentic period restoration, Better Living is proud to have shared in the renovations of many historic sites and plantation homes throughout Central Virginia. Today, the Mill Shop combines the quality of yesteryear with the efficient state-of-the-art equipment for guaranteed accuracy and uncompromising quality. Custom production includes windows, doors, stair systems, moulding, trim, and millwork for specialty applications.

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