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GSA's Federal Center South Building 1202 reduces energy use by 40 percent in first year

March 5, 2014

Release Date: March 5, 2014

Innovative Design and Energy Saving Measures Result in Taxpayer Savings

Seattle, Wash. – Today the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) announced that the redeveloped Federal Center South Building 1202 has met all of its performance goals during the first year of operation, performing in the top 1 percent of similar-sized office buildings across the nation.

The building GSA provided for their client, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Seattle District Headquarters, completed its one-year contract measurement and verification period in January, achieving an Energy Usage Intensity (EUI) of 25, 40 percent below industry standards. In addition, the entire Federal Center South campus, including Building 1202, achieved a 40 percent energy reduction from 2011 to 2013, saving more than 18,350 million BTUs per year, which is equivalent to the energy use of 311 typical homes in Seattle.

“GSA is committed to creating a more sustainable, better-performing and cost-saving federal building portfolio that ultimately saves taxpayer dollars and reduces the impact on the environment,” said GSA Northwest/Arctic Region Regional Administrator George Northcroft. “The investments, innovative technologies and design expertise used in this award-winning project are delivering results.”

From the outset of the Building 1202 project, the design-build team, led by Sellen Construction and ZGF Architects, optimized the design solution using strategies that included building orientation and integrated active and passive systems and materials to meet energy performance measures. Innovative elements include passive radiant chilled sails, ground loop heat exchanger integrated into the structural piles, a thermal storage tank filled with bricks of phase change material to store heating or cooling energy for later use, underfloor air, and daylight harvesting lighting controls. The project is an exemplary workplace, fostering collaboration and a collective identity for the Army Corps of Engineers, as well as a living laboratory and proving ground for high-performance building strategies.

"This project represents the next evolution in the design-build delivery model - one in which the client remains engaged in project decisions, honors beautiful design, and incentivizes and guarantees energy performance - all within a guaranteed price structure,” Jack Avery, senior project manager and integrated delivery specialist for Sellen Construction, said. “For a long time, the industry has said it was not possible, but we just proved that it is."

As part of the design-build requirements for Federal Center South Building 1202, GSA required a performance guarantee to comply with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding requirements and the standards of GSA’s Design Excellence program. During the first year of occupancy, the team worked closely with GSA to ensure the building was meeting the performance goals while providing a comfortable environment for the occupants. The team built a measurement and verification (M&V) phase into the schedule, established a financial guarantee, and developed an M&V plan to measure the energy performance over the first year of operation.

“The design work we are doing today requires us to use analytical tools early in the design process to simulate and guarantee the performance of different design options,” says Todd Stine, partner at ZGF Architects LLP. “We believe that proving the performance, well into operation, is the standard toward which our industry is swiftly moving. We’re excited about the new innovation this is spurring and the transformative effect on the built environment.”

This type of performance-oriented contracting, tied to an M&V period, is a way for building owners to guarantee that high-performance buildings will lower operating costs while improving occupant productivity. The theory is simple – obtain the metered performance data during the first year of operation and compare the results with the projected performance from the design simulation to see if the two line up. “The use of post-occupancy M&V, or energy guarantees, to verify a building’s performance as designed is increasingly popular and could soon be the standard to which the industry is held,” said GSA Project Manager Rick Thomas.

Additional Resources: Federal Center South Modernization

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For additional information, or high-resolution project images, please contact Erin Zangari at 206-521-3503, or Stephanie Kenitzer at 253-931-7873, or Erin Hobson at 206-682-7770,

About the U.S. General Services Administration
As the manager of thousands of federal properties, GSA is a leader in providing sustainable and innovative solutions for design, workplace management and construction. The mission of GSA is to deliver the best value in real estate, acquisition, and technology services to government and the American people.

About Sellen Construction
Sellen Construction Company is the largest locally owned commercial construction firm in the Pacific Northwest. Since our founding in 1944, we have been a part of the phenomenal growth of this region. Our success is based on one simple philosophy – we help our customers achieve their goals.

About ZGF Architects LLP
ZGF Architects ( is a national practice offering services in architecture, urban design and interior design with offices in Seattle, Portland, New York, Los Angeles, Washington, DC, and Vancouver, BC. The firm has received over 700 awards for design excellence, including the Architecture Firm Award, the highest accolade given to a company by the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

Last Reviewed: 2017-08-13