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City of Seattle
Gregory J. Nickels (former Mayor)

SUBJECT: Seattle City Hall receives gold rating for environmental design

10/11/2005  2:00:00 PM

Seattle City Hall receives gold rating for environmental design

SEATTLE — Mayor Greg Nickels announced today the U.S. Green Building Council has awarded the Seattle City Hall a gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating.

“Receiving a gold rating is an extraordinary achievement and reflects the city’s leadership in protecting the environment,” Nickels said. “This building is a gathering place for the people of Seattle , so it is fitting that it reflects the city’s values of protecting the water, land, and air today and for generations to come.

Six other city of Seattle buildings have also received LEED certification: the downtown Justice Center (silver); Fisher Pavilion at Seattle Center (certified); Park 90-5 (building C – gold; building A – silver); the Seattle Central Library (silver); the Highpoint Community Center (certified); and the Carkeek Park Environmental Learning Center (gold). In all, 14 public and private buildings are LEED certified in Seattle , the most in any city in the country.

Some sustainable elements of the City Hall are:

  • Water conservation and on-site water detention and reuse
    • To reduce the potable water demand, low-flow plumbing fixtures, waterless urinals and drip irrigation were installed.
    • Rainwater is harvested and collected in a cistern for landscape irrigation and toilet flushing to further reduce potable water use.
    • A green roof with drought tolerant plants absorbs and filters rainwater, reducing the volume of stormwater requiring treatment.
  • Use of local and regional materials, recycled content materials, demolition and construction waste recycling
    • A variety of recycled materials from local sources were installed, such as concrete, steel, carpet, ceiling tiles, gypsum wallboard, restroom partitions and ceramic tile.
    • Concrete from the previous building was reused in both the concrete mix for the new City Hall, as well as for shoring, and the old parking garage was crushed for fill.
    • On-site recycling during construction saved more than a million dollars by diverting 25,924 tons of waste (representing almost 90 percent of the total construction waste materials) from the landfill. Overall, concrete made up 65 percent of the material; wood and metal combined made up another 25 percent.
    • A high percentage of materials were procured regionally, reducing energy consumption in the transportation of materials.
    • Fly ash was used in some of the glass, allowing reuse of waste materials and reducing the heat load from sun.
  • Indoor environmental quality and energy conservation
    • City Hall was designed for a 100-year life span through material choices, spatial layout qualities and the ability to accommodate updates in city services and future technology. The building layout allows flexibility for occupants, and barrier-free design provides accessibility for all.
    • Low volatile organic chemical paints and glues were used.
    • CO2 detectors change the air flow to ensure healthy air.
    • Solar-activated light sensors, dimmers and occupancy sensors are utilized.
    • Lights are on timers and in zones.
    • Efficient elevators consume less energy.
    • HVAC is energy efficient.

Opened in 2003 and located on Fourth Avenue between James and Cherry streets, City Hall is a civic center that is open and inviting to the public. In addition to hosting numerous meetings, the building contains TV studios, plazas, fountains, event space and other amenities. This winter it will also include an emergency shelter for the homeless. Although highly energy-efficient, these features mean the building is open longer and uses more energy than a typical office tower.

The U.S. Green Building Council developed the LEED green building rating system as a formal certification process for building projects. Different levels of green building certification (certified, silver, gold, platinum) are awarded based on the total credits earned in each of several categories: site, energy, material and resources, indoor environmental quality and water. The city of Seattle was the first municipality in the nation to formally adopt a LEED standard for its projects, and many other cities across the country have now followed suit.

City Hall was designed by the joint architectural venture of Bassetti Architects and Bohlin Cywinski Jackson. The contractor was Hoffman Construction.

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Office of the Mayor

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