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GSA's U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project in Seattle earns First Place High Performance Building Award

January 10, 2013

The U.S. General Services Administration’s new U.S. Army Corps Engineers Seattle District Headquarters in Seattle has won one of the nation’s most prestigious green building awards.

The project received an Honor Award - First Place for a High Performance Building from the Sustainable Buildings Industry Council (SBIC). The Beyond Green High Performance Building Award was presented today at the SBIC Symposium in Washington, D.C.

The SBIC Beyond Green High Performance Building Awards recognize initiatives that shape, inform and catalyze the high-performance building market, as well as the real-world application of high-performance design and construction practices.

“The twin challenges of making a high performance buildings and a secure federal facility are met elegantly and efficiently, to the significant benefit of the client and the public,” according to Susan Piedmont-Palladino, a member of the Beyond Green Award jury and curator at the National Building Museum. “The building testifies to the tight collaboration and coordination of architecture; structural; mechanical, electrical, and plumbing; and interiors resulting in an impressive integration of systems. The strategies used are directly part of the inhabitant's experience, and communicate an important narrative to those who work there about the organization’s values.”

“We are extremely honored to receive this industry recognition,” said GSA Regional Administrator George Northcroft. “This project is an excellent example of GSA’s commitment to providing 21st century workspace for federal agencies while delivering high performing, sustainable buildings that will last for years to come and outperform its contemporaries in terms of energy use, durability, and ease of maintenance.”

Pursuing aggressive energy performance targets, the building is anticipated to be one of the most sustainable office buildings in the nation. The building is on track to earn an ENERGY STAR Score of 100 – putting it in the top 1 percent of comparable buildings.

The building is expected to attain a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Among the many green features of the new building are:

  • extensive use of natural daylight
  • changing the existing landscape into low impact sustainable green space
  • rainwater collection system that captures water and stores it in a 25,000 gallon cistern for use in toilet flushing,
  • irrigation, cooling, and landscaping
  • geothermal energy wells that extend 150 feet below ground and loop water for cooling and heating
  • thermal storage that ‘stores’ cold-energy for future use in the chilled beams to cool the office space
  • an energy-efficient HVAC system using under-floor air distribution
  • reuse of nearly 200,000 board feet of structural timber and 100,00 board feet of wood decking that was salvaged from the adjacent decommissioned warehouse

In addition to the green features, the building has a unique design suited to the Army Corps of Engineers mission of “build strong.” The U-shaped floor plan is representative of the original course of the Duwamish waterway and maximizes daylight and flexibility. The building faces the water to reflect the Army Corps of Engineers work with our nation’s waterways.

The GSA invested $72 million in Recovery Act funding to develop a state-of-the-art office building that meets the current and future needs of the Army Corps and its Seattle workforce. The work was completed by a team of Sellen Construction and ZGF Architects. Approximately $21 million was subcontracted to small business.

“Our goal was to design a building that met all of the stringent energy-efficiency and high performance green building guidelines set forth by GSA, celebrates the spirit of the Corps of Engineers, and serves their workplace needs now and well into the future,” said Allyn Stellmacher, ZGF Architects Design Partner. “This project delivers.”

The SBIC is part of the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) which supports advances in building science and technology to improve the built environment.

The Corps of Engineers moved into the new space at the end of November. For more information see

Last Reviewed: 2017-08-13