UW Tacoma buildings earn certification for design

The newest “recycled” buildings on the University of Washington Tacoma campus have received a landmark certification for sustainable design from the U.S. Green Building Council.

The university’s Phase 2B project has been awarded the group’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver certification, a high ranking from the nation’s most recognized non-profit sustainable design organization. This is the first LEED certification granted in the UW system and the City of Tacoma.

On Sept. 23, UW Tacoma will host an event to accept the certification and recognize the contributions of the architects, engineers, contractors and others who made it possible. The event will begin at 9:30 a.m. in the Mattress Factory building, which was part of the Phase 2B renovation project.

The Phase 2B project was recognized for several innovative design features and construction methods, USGBC officials said. Among these were:
– The re-use and restoration of 100-year-old masonry building facades;

– An ivy wall against the Mattress Factory building that will lower dependence on artificial air conditioning and reduce cooling costs;

– Passive cooling strategies to offset cooling load, such as high-performance windows with solar control, shading devices and exposed thermal mass;

– Use of renewable or salvaged materials and environmentally responsible finishes for floors, woodwork and walls;

– Re-use of columns, beams and floors; and

– Reduction of water and power usage and optimized energy performance in HVAC equipment.

The team of architects, engineers and contractors, headed by McGranahan Architects and Lease Crutcher Lewis, set out to create a sustainable renovation design using state-of-the-art technology, resource re-use and management and strategic design methods. During construction, the project team implemented an intensive recycling program with a goal of diverting 78 percent of construction debris from landfills. In addition, the team monitored indoor air quality during construction to ensure a good work environment.

As an urban campus located in a historic downtown district, UW Tacoma has capitalized on a unique design opportunity. Many of its campus facilities are restored, turn-of-the-century brick structures, originally industrial facilities that grew up around the terminus of the transcontinental railroad.