Helen Sommers Building Achieves LEED Platinum Certification

In April 2018, the USGBC certified the Helen Sommers Building (formerly the 1063 Block Replacement project) as LEED Platinum. Sellen and ZGF Architects partnered as a design-build team for the project, located on the state Capitol Campus in Olympia, in late 2013. The team worked closely with the owner, the Washington State Department of Enterprise Services (DES), to set energy performance goals that aligned with the values of DES.

Today, occupied by the Washington State Patrol and multiple state legislative offices, the building is expected to perform within the top 1% of buildings nationally in energy efficiency. It’s Sellen’s third LEED Platinum project (and our second with ZGF) and it was recently lauded by Governor Jay Inslee.

“This building exemplifies the types of innovation we want in Washington state,” Inslee said. “It is in the best interest of our state to take sustainability seriously, and at the state’s capitol, we have a special obligation to lead by example.”

Sustainable features include:

  • 71.4% reduction in CO2 equivalent emissions compared to the average office building. The impact of that is equal to removing 291 cars off the road for a year, or saving all electricity use in 204 homes for a year.
  • Concrete mixes used for the project reduced embodied greenhouse gas emissions by 31% compared to average mix designs in the U.S.
  • 10.63% of the building’s energy is from renewable solar power. This is equivalent to 166,447 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year — enough energy to power 13 homes for a year.
  • Highly efficient LED lighting, controlled by daylight sensors, minimizes unnecessary energy use, saving CO2 emissions equal to burning 141,988 pounds of coal each year. The energy saved from these LED fixtures is enough to power 19 homes for a year.
  • 75% of the heating comes from heat recovery chillers and ground source heat exchangers that use geothermal energy from the earth. The system saves the equivalent greenhouse gas emissions of a vehicle traveling 318,082 miles per year.

Congratulations to everyone who played a role in this achievement in sustainability. The new building will serve Washington and its residents for decades.

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