UW Today

This is an archived article.

January 18, 2007

UW reaches gold standard for energy and environmental design

News and Information

A new building at the UW is just the 11th in the country and the second at a higher education institution to be rated as LEED-CS Gold by the U.S. Green Building Council.

The Benjamin D. Hall Interdisciplinary Research Building is also the first to achieve LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)-CS Gold status on the entire West Coast. The rating applies to the building’s core and shell development and is used to evaluate building projects where the owner does not control the interior design and fit-out.

The building, which is located just west of Publications Services, was evaluated on several criteria, including limited disturbance at the construction site, efficiency of water use, reduced energy consumption, choice of healthy and recycled products to lower chemical use, healthy air in the building, availability of natural light for building occupants and alternative transportation to and from the building. The energy savings alone at the Hall building are expected to be $220,000 greater than if the building had just met current energy codes.

“The University is very pleased with the outcome,” said UW Associate Vice President for Capital Projects Richard K. Chapman. “The collaborative effort among the UW, Collins-Woerman, M.A. Mortenson and Johnson Controls reflected a genuine team spirit, which has made this project a great success.”

UW capital projects manager was Andy Casillas. The project was designed and constructed in a Design-Build-Operate-Maintain process. Under this process, the bid comes as a complete package at the beginning of the project, with the designer-builder obligated to operate and maintain the building at a guaranteed price. This means decisions regarding building materials and systems are made on the basis of life-cycle costs. The building is more efficient and more flexible than typical UW laboratory buildings, allowing for a wider variety of uses that complement one another under the same roof.

“This landmark building will be unlike any other in the state,” said Arlan Collins, principal with Collins-Woerman, an architectural, planning an interior design firm. “The University sought to construct a scientific research building to be delivered more quickly and effectively than conventional processes, and the result was an innovative building.”

The UW also has two silver-rated buildings — Merrill Hall and UW Tacoma Phase II — and one LEED certified building — Nordheim Court, a student residence Hall. (Certified means the building has met minimum requirements for sustainability, while silver, gold and platinum indicate progressive steps up.) The UW has an additional six LEED-registered projects for new construction.