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©2015 This excerpt taken from the article of the same name which appeared in ASHRAE Journal, vol. 57, no. 12, December 2015

Benjamin Gozart, Associate Member ASHRAE; Tom Marseille, P.E., Honorary AIA, Member ASHRAE; Charles Chaloeicheep, P.E., Associate Member ASHRAE; Tom Boysen, P.E., Member ASHRAE

About the Authors
Benjamin Gozart is an engineer and Tom Marseille, P.E., is the managing director and a senior vice president at WSP in Seattle. Charles Chaloeicheep, P.E., is senior associate with WSP Built Ecology in Honolulu. Tom Boysen, P.E., is a senior project manager with Sellen Construction in Seattle.

Federal Center South provides a transformation from a “silo” office culture to an integrated community for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). The three-story, 209,000 ft2 (19 417 m2) regional headquarters building is owned by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), and the USACE is the tenant. In the Corps’ previous home on site—a former 1930s Ford Motor warehouse, later converted to offices—tall cubicle walls and limited access to daylight or exterior views did little to encourage interaction. Now, employees meet members of other departments when they take the open stairs or bridges to the central Commons space located in the daylit atrium.

The Commons contains a variety of meeting rooms, break room facilities and informal collaboration areas. Nearly every space provides daylight and views of the restored 4.6 acre (1.9 ha) former brownfield site, including the Duwamish Waterway.

Setting the standard in sustainable, high performance workplace environments, its exceptional energy performance places it among the most elite class of high performance buildings in the U.S. It is the result of a guaranteed performance-oriented contract—a first for the GSA and an emerging industry trend—which withheld a portion of the payment until the first year energy use was verified. The guaranteed energy performance target was set at 30% better than an ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1-2007 baseline model, or an effective operational EUI of 27 kBtu/ft2·yr (307 MJ/m2·yr).

As part of its Design Excellence program, the GSA specified a set of holistic sustainable performance criteria. The project was further shaped by government programs designed to spur high performance design and stimulate the economy via the release of stimulus funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The GSA used the tight time line demanded by the stimulus dollars and the competitive bidding market in 2009 to experiment with a design-build competition. The design-build contract meant money could be budgeted immediately, and the rapid three-year project time line delivered results two to three times faster than traditional design-bid-build contracts.

This project team used an integrated design approach that focused on energy conservation measures rather than expensive on-site renewable energy generation strategies. Floor depth, façade design and daylighting were optimized to reduce heating and cooling requirements and the amount of artificial lighting. Several innovative technologies were used: passive chilled sails, thermal storage using phase change material (PCM), a 100% dedicated outdoor air system (DOAS) serving a raised floor air-distribution system with heat recovery of exhaust, heat recovery chillers, high-efficiency radiant heating and a ground loop heat exchanger that was cost-effectively integrated into structural piles.


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