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Two Northwest Federal Buildings Earn Green Building Recognition

LEED certifications for Nakamura Courthouse and Peace Arch border crossing exceed expectations.

October 6, 2011
Stephanie Kenitzer, 253-931-7873

SEATTLE -- Two area federal properties that recently underwent major renovation and modernization efforts have been awarded green building certifications for their advanced sustainable design and construction features. The William Kenzo Nakamura U.S. Courthouse in downtown Seattle earned the LEED Silver certification and the Peace Arch Land Port of Entry in Blaine, Wash., earned the LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Both certifications were higher than originally planned.

“In keeping with the U.S. General Services Administration's sustainability agenda, we set very aggressive goals for LEED certification during the design stage for these properties. So to exceed those goals is testament to the dedication of everyone attached to these projects," said GSA Regional Administrator George Northcroft. “GSA and its partners are committed to building green, to help reduce the federal government’s consumption of energy and water, and to increase our use of clean and renewable energy sources. These buildings and the new certifications are proof that we deliver on that commitment.”

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the U.S. Green Building Council’s green building rating system for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings. Both properties are owned and managed by the U.S. General Services Administration.

Nakamura Courthouse

The Nakamura Courthouse achieved the LEED Silver certification for:
• the design and specification of energy efficient building systems
• the reuse and recycling of existing building materials
• the selection of new materials with low environmental impact and
• many other measures influencing the overall site and building design.

The historic courthouse, which opened in 1940 and was the first building in the West designed specifically for use as a federal courthouse, was renovated from 2006-2009. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980 for its national and local significance and is part of the Seattle 2030 District, the city's efforts to create the nation's first green-building district.

The Nakamura Courthouse project was designed by the Seattle firm Weinstein A|U Architects + Urban Designers in association with Ross Drulis Cusenberry Architecture from Sonoma, Calif., and Magnusson Klemencic Associates of Seattle. Weinstein A|U led the design team for the seismic upgrade of the existing facility, the replacement of all of its essential systems, and its transformation from a Federal District Courthouse to a courthouse for the United States 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Peace Arch Land Port of Entry

The Peace Arch Land Port of Entry incorporated a number of innovative, energy efficient and environmentally sustainable features to attain the LEED Gold recognition. Most prominent is the installation of a nearly 22,000 square foot “green roof” on the canopy over the new secondary inspection area, which will moderate temperatures below and reduce water run-off. The project is also the first Land Port of Entry project to incorporate an advanced exterior lighting design meant to reduce energy usage and light pollution into the atmosphere.

The Peace Arch facility was built by JE Dunn Construction, a general contracting, construction management and design-build contractor located in Bellevue, Wash. JE Dunn’s tenacity resulted in the successful collaboration between multiple public agencies in order to complete this project while fulfilling the requirements of Homeland Security.

GSA’s Northwest/Arctic Region, serving Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington, has five completed LEED certified buildings, with another four projects in the process of pursuing LEED certification.

The U.S. Green Building Council's LEED green building certification system is the foremost program for the design, construction and operation of green buildings.


As the federal government's workplace solutions provider, the U.S. General Services Administration works to foster an effective, sustainable and transparent government for the American people. GSA’s expertise in government workplace solutions includes:
• Effective management of government assets including more than 9,600 government-owned or leased buildings and 215,000 vehicles in the federal fleet, and preservation of historic federal properties;
• Leveraging the government’s buying power through responsible acquisition of products and services making up approximately 14 percent of the government’s total procurement dollars;
• Providing innovative technology solutions to enhance government efficiency and increase citizen engagement; and,
• Promoting responsible use of federal resources through development of government wide policies ranging from federal travel to property and management practices.

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