Politics blog

House office building secures first 'LEED' green rating on Capitol Campus

OlympianApril 28, 2014 

File photo of Lacey Glass installers Ron Leatherwood (left) and Geurin Erdmann are reflected in a bathroom mirror as they finish work adding double-pane windows in the John O'Brien building in 2009. The windows were among the energy improvements helping the project win a "gold" LEED rating.

STEVE BLOOM — The Olympian

This post is updated with information about other campus buildings.

A $49.4 million overhaul of the John L. O'Brien Building at the state Capitol Campus recently earned a high environmental rating for energy efficiency. The Department of Enterprise says the building holding most House members' offices and hearing rooms earned a “gold” rating by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, second highest in LEED’s system and the first for any building on the campus.

O'Brien was built during the Great Depression and the renovation during 2009-11  improved the building’s seismic strength and upgraded failing infrastructure – including plumbing and heating systems and also new double-pane windows. Members also received new office furniture.

DES said in a news release the improvements included:

  • "Replacing single-pane with double-pane insulated glass while preserving historic windows.
  • "Installing low volume, dual-flush urinals and toilets to reduce water consumption by up to 30 percent.
  • "Linking temperature controls to lighting occupancy sensors to save energy while spaces are unoccupied.
  • "Using carbon dioxide sensors to adjust the quantity of outside air ventilation based on the number of occupants using a space."
Background stories on the project are here  and here

The project is not the only green effort around the campus.

The state put 144 solar panels atop the Legislative Building in December 2004, shortly after it was renovated and damage from a major earthquake was repaired. The solar panels produce 20 kilowatts of electricity, which goes back into the power grid but would be enough to light the dome and lantern areas of the Capitol, according to Jim Erskine, spokesman for Enterprise Services.

A new office project proposed to house the State Patrol is being designed to be one of the most efficient in the country. Details are here and here.

In 2011, the state began leasing an energy efficient project that houses a data center and the Enterprise Services agency, which was the result of a merger of agencies, at 1500 Jefferson St. That structure east of the Capitol is owned by developer Wright Runstad, which is pursuing a top-tier platinum rating on the building, which becomes state property after the 30-year lease ends.

The state put energy efficiency elements into the Cherberg renovation that preceded the O'Brien project, but did not seek a LEED rating, according to Erskine.


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