The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers has just moved into their state-of-the-art, LEED Gold headquarters located on the site of a previously non-descript brownfield warehouse in Seattle. The $72 million, 209,000 square foot compound, designed by ZGF Architects in partnership with Sellen Construction, boasts the latest innovations in green building technology such as geothermal energy, cutting-edge integrated mechanical systems, and an advanced rainwater harvesting system. It also utilizes time-tested low-tech green strategies such as building orientation and dimension to maximize daylight and to take advantage of passive solar design.
Already on its way to achieving an Energy Star Score of 100, the Federal Center South Building will use one-fifth of the energy used by other air-conditioned buildings in the region. This is partly due to the geothermal energy harvested from deep structural piles and partly due to a phase-change thermal storage tank coupled with a ground-loop heat exchanger to capture and reuse thermal energy. The floor plan is U-shaped with an atrium in the center, which allows 90% of the building to be daylit. This, coupled with high-efficiency lighting is a big part of its long-term energy-efficient operation. The building also uses 100 percent outside air, underfloor ventilation and heat recovery optimized via the atrium.
Besides energy efficiency, USACE and the design-build team employed other strategies to achieve a LEED Gold rating, ones they hope will push them over the top to a Platinum rating. They restored half of the 46-acre site from the original paved surfaces to permeable green spaces, allowing for greener storm water management and reduced Urban Heat Island effect. They used 300,000 board feet of reclaimed structural timber and decking from the old warehouse in the new building. And they installed a 25,000 gallon cistern collects rainwater from the rooftop and provides water for flushing toilets and irrigation.
This new headquarters for the USACE was funded by the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and is part of the US General Service Administration’s Design Excellence program to promote sustainability, help communities and advance a clean energy economy.
Via Clean Technica