The Greenfire Campus in Seattle, a mixed-use commercial and residential development, has been recognized by the American Society of Heating Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers for excellence in energy-efficiency design with a 2015 Society Level Technology Award. The project, for which WSP|Parsons Brinckerhoff provided high performance design and early mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineering services, received a second place award in the commercial buildings category.

The ASHRAE Technology Awards recognize outstanding achievements by members who have successfully applied innovative building design in the areas of occupant comfort, indoor air quality and energy conservation. Their designs incorporate ASHRAE standards for effective energy management and IAQ. Performance is proven through one year’s actual, verifiable operating data.

The Greenfire Campus is comprised of a four-story office/retail building (27,300 sq. ft.) and six-story apartment building (23,400 sq. ft.), a large green “commons” between them, and structured parking below each building. The project addresses the challenge of reducing carbon emissions with an integrated design for two buildings that use dramatically less energy than typical buildings in Seattle.

“For our project team, the principle of ‘sensible sustainability’ provided a guiding hand for setting high-performance strategies,” noted Tom Marseille, senior vice president at WSP|Parsons Brinckerhoff and managing director of the Seattle office. “This project was ultimately completed using an integrated, highly collaborative effort throughout design and construction that is on track to achieve a LEED v3 platinum certification.”

Design strategies such as a “right-sized” geoexchange loop that was shared by both buildings via water-to-water heat pumps, radiant heating in residential units, mixed-mode passive cooling in office spaces with backup chilled beams, heat recovery ventilation, rainwater harvesting for irrigation, low-flow plumbing fixtures and appropriate renewable energy strategies ultimately led to the success of the project.

The design energy model for the apartment building anticipated it would use 42% less energy than a comparable 2030 baseline building, while energy for heating and domestic hot water production was anticipated to use only about 30% of the total energy consumed. The over operational Energy Use Intensity (EUI) for the apartment building was measured at 21 kBtu/sf/year during the first year, meeting the target.  The energy model for the office portions of the office/retail building anticipated a 70% reduction in energy use compared to a typical building. In operation, the office building has significantly exceeded expectations achieving an EUI of 15.0 kBtu/sf/year.