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What Makes it Green(er)?

16 May 2012 | Posted By Jeff Cole 6,880 views No Comment

The 2012 What Makes it Green Award Winners were announced April 18th, at Seattle City Hall. Established over a decade ago, by the AIA Seattle Committee on the Environment (COTE), these awards recognize outstanding regional sustainable design, through a process designed to help other design professionals and interested parties to learn more about sustainability best practices. And, based on this year’s projects, the learning related to energy performance has been proceeding fast and furious.

Christopher Meek, AIA, Research Assistant Professor at the University of Washington, and a daylighting specialist at the Puget Sound Integrated Design Lab, was co-chair of this year’s awards (along with Eric Anderson, of CDI Engineers). Chris told us that the energy bar has been raised much higher for this group of winners, compared when the awards were last given, two-years ago. For example the Rice Fergus Miller Office 7 Studio has a measured summer EUI (Energy Use Index) of 19 kBTUh/sf/yr and a winter EUI of 22 (achieved with the adaptive reuse of an existing building). The Machias Elementary School project submitted by NAC|Architecture has a design EUI of 18 or 19. Other projects were projected to have EUIs in the high teens or low 20s. Only two years ago, EUIs in the low 40s were associated with winning projects. As one of the notable local architects in attendance said to Chris as the award winners were being announced, “people are getting pretty good at this stuff.”

The Award Winners

Rice Fergus Miller Office & Studio (Bremerton, WA) – a 30,000 square foot LEED Platinum commercial office project designed by Rice Fergus Miller; the adaptive reuse of a Sears Auto Center at $105/sf with only the original shell salvageable.







Bertschi School Living Science Building (Seattle. WA) – KMD Architects designed this 1,425 square foot elementary school wing, the first building that meets Living Building Challenge v2.0 criteria, including net zero energy and net zero water.









LOTT Clean Water Alliance – Regional Services Center (Olympia, WA) – an interpretive center, commercial office and laboratory, located at a water treatment plant, this project welcomes the public with an exhibition gallery and a classroom for water education. Designed by The Miller Hull Partnership, the project has received LEED Platinum certification.






Machias Elementary School (Snohomish, WA) – this 80,000 square foot elementary school was designed by NAC|Architecture and their consultants to achieve outstanding energy performance. Located on a rural site, the project’s vision of sustainability includes the notion of self-sufficiency, encompassing energy performance and the use of the building to teach land stewardship.










Bullitt Center for Sustainable Design & Construction (Seattle. WA) — a winner in the Unbuilt category (although currently under construction) this 52,000 square foot project is expected to be the first urban office building to meet the goals of the Living Building Challenge, including being net-zero energy and water. This building was by The Miller Hull Partnership.








Greenfire Campus (Seattle, WA) the second winner in the Unbuilt category, designed by Johnston Architects, this 346,500 square foot mixed-use project includes residential, commercial, and office space, “placing housing near offices and commercial spaces, allowing occupants to work, live, play and produce food in the heart of Ballard.”








Under NEEA’s  BetterBricks initiative, thePuget Sound IDL provided various levels of technical advisory support to four of the six winning design teams, for the Bertschi School, the Bullitt Center, LOTT Clean Water Alliance and the Rice Fergus Miller Office and Studio. Project descriptions, including identification of complete project teams and sustainability criteria addressed by the project, for the winning projects, as well as those that received Honorable Mentions, can be found at  http://wmig2012.aiaseattle.org/.

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