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GSA, Corps of Engineers, Local Business Leaders and Elected Officials Dedicate New Energy Efficient Building at Seattle's Federal Center South

Release Date: October 11, 2012

GSA, ZGF Architects and Sellen Construction transformed existing warehouse space was transformed into energy efficient office space to support the Army Corps of Engineers’ mission

SEATTLE – Federal officials, business leaders, and elected officials dedicated one of the most energy efficient office buildings in the Pacific Northwest and the country today at a ceremony just south of downtown Seattle. The modern, energy efficient building is the new home for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Seattle District Headquarters.

The U.S. General Services Administration (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, who were awarded the design-build contract in 2010.

Federal Center South Modernization | View photo gallery

Pursuing aggressive energy performance targets, the new 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.

“GSA’s job is to provide efficient and effective workplace solutions for federal agencies in the best interest of the taxpayer. This building saves money by reducing energy costs and helps the Corps of Engineers do its job better on behalf of the citizens,” said George Northcroft, GSA Regional Administrator for the Northwest/Arctic Region. “And the project has had a positive impact on the local economy, employing more than 150 workers onsite over the last 24 months and contracting more than $27 million dollars to local small businesses.”

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
  • a 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

“Building a home for the Corps of Engineers, an agency dedicated to designing, engineering and construction, is a tall order,” said Colonel Bruce Estok, Seattle District Headquarters Commander. “We are an exacting customer that knows the business. GSA, ZGF, and Sellen delivered a building that far exceeds our expectation. Our employees are excited about the positive effects it will have on our ability to serve the nation and the Northwest.”

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.

“Because GSA chose to pursue best value through the design-build approach, it really unlocked all sorts of innovative options,” said Bob McCleskey, CEO of Sellen Construction. “Design-build allowed our team to take advantage of a lot of unique opportunities to achieve the quality, sustainability, schedule and budget that made this project a success.”

“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.”

GSA received $5.5 billion from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to convert existing Federal buildings into high-performance green buildings and construct new energy-efficient federal buildings, courthouses, and land ports of entry nationwide. GSA’s projects modernize the nation’s infrastructure, reduce the federal government’s consumption of energy and water, and increase the use of clean and renewable power.

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

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