U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Seattle Headquarters Lauded with AIA Green Building Award

GSA project highlighted as example of reducing operating costs, saving tax payer money and providing healthier work space for a federal agency

Washington, D.C. – April 22, 2015 – The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and its Committee on the Environment (COTE) have selected the U.S. General Services Administration’s (GSA) Federal Center South Building 1202 in Seattle, as the recipient of the Top Ten Plus award.  The Top Ten Plus, now its third year, recognizes one past AIA COTE Top Ten Project Award recipient which has quantifiable metrics that demonstrate the true impact the sustainable design has achieved.  The Federal Center South Building 1202, designed by  ZGF Architects LLP and built by Sellen Construction, was selected in 2013 as a recipient of the AIA/COTE Top Ten Project Award program. More information on the design elements and images are available  here.

The redevelopment project was part of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and was delivered on time and within the original $72 million budget.  The new building transformed a previously toxic brownfield into a new standard for a high-performance, cost-effective and sustainable workplace environment for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  Far from typical in government projects, the design and construction of the facility was completed in just 31 months as part of a rapid project delivery model.

Following a one-year measurement and verification period, it was established that the building’s energy performance is meeting the goal of more than 30 percent better than  ASHRAE 90.1 – the benchmark for commercial building energy codes in the U.S.  After the first year, the facility’s metered energy performance has met every design target, including the contractually required energy performance and the  AIA 2030 Commitment.  At of the end of last year, the Federal Center South building was using 61% less energy than the national average for similar buildings and 46% less water than a current plumbing code defined baseline. 

“This project demonstrates the success of performance-oriented contracting and the value of both energy modeling and post-occupancy monitoring,” said Todd Stine, AIA, partner at ZGF Architects LLP.  “The energy modeling done in the design phase showed a $55,000 energy cost savings each year associated with the high-performance systems integrated into the building.  The post-occupancy evaluation looked at energy and workplace performance and has been crucial in determining how to best optimize all facets of how the building was intended to function.”

The COTE Top Ten Plus jury commented, “We admired ZGF Architects for their persistence over time to improve both their understanding of the planned performance of the building and its actual performance; they were genuinely curious about how the building was working out. There are signs of science and research in the relationship between daylighting and employee performance, along with evidence that the building has caused an enhanced environmental culture amongst its occupants.”

“The AIA COTE+ recognition is an honor and a testament to the teamwork between GSA, ZGF and Sellen Construction to build a facility that not only exceeds GSA’s sustainability goals but delivers bottom line results that will save taxpayers money for years to come,” said GSA Regional Administrator George Northcroft.

To further enhance the building’s sustainable performance, the team developed, tested and evaluated enhancements to the base design during the design and construction of the project so that the GSA could incorporate upgrades into the project as funding became available.  Through this process, the team was able to add rainwater harvesting, a geothermal system, enhanced lighting controls, an energy dashboard and improved glass in the main skylight.

This project was designed to meet GSA’s requirement for a building with a 50-year minimum lifespan, and mechanical equipment that lasts a minimum of 20 years.  The campus site can also accommodate the 30-year expansion and redevelopment requirements for a number of federal agencies.

About The American Institute of Architects

Founded in 1857, members of the American Institute of Architects consistently work to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. Through nearly 300 state and local chapters, the AIA advocates for public policies that promote economic vitality and public well-being.  Members adhere to a code of ethics and conduct to ensure the highest professional standards. The AIA provides members with tools and resources to assist them in their careers and business as well as engaging civic and government leaders, and the public to find solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit  www.aia.org.

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