It should come as no surprise that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency designed its Region 8 Headquarters with energy efficiency in mind. From the onset, this building was designed to operate as a demonstration of the core values that the agency seeks to foster.
After EPA Region 8 outgrew its previous office building, several teams were established by the General Services Administration (GSA) and EPA to direct the design and construction of a new office with three major considerations in mind: sustainability, security, and schedule. Sustainability was the first design priority, since the agency strives to embody the values that it promotes. Security was also a high priority. The former building did not comply with updated Federal security requirements. Finally, schedule was critical as the agency's lease was about to expire.
Combining sustainability and security on a tight schedule for the 300,000 square foot building (of which 250,000 square feet were to be leased by EPA) was no small task. To start off the process, the EPA and the General Services Administration (GSA) created teams comprised of the contractor/owner, design architect, engineers, and security consultants. These teams collaborated with EPA and the building owner to set superior energy performance goals early in the design phase. Not only did the design achieve Designed to Earn the ENERGY STAR in 2006, the operating building went on to earn the ENERGY STAR Label in 2008.
EPA sought internal technical advice from much of its staff, as well as private consultants and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Also, the decision was made to name an independent consultant to supervise the project, and architect Jim Blackledge was brought on board to manage the design project. According to Blackledge, the decision to design to ENERGY STAR standards was easy, because, "if you recommend ENERGY STAR to others, you must first do it yourself."
Among the notable energy-efficient features include are an under-floor air delivery system, a sophisticated heat recovery system, and radiant heating. The building also includes advanced daylighting dimming controls, as well as occupancy sensors. The roof of the EPA Region 8 Headquarters is one of the more interesting elements: It not only features a green roof to minimize heat gain and loss, but it also houses a PV solar array that generates on-site renewable energy for the facility.
Blackledge noted that the building was meant to serve as a "demonstration of the benefits of ENERGY STAR" and prompt the surrounding community to follow suit with its buildings. To that end, the EPA Region 8 Headquarters offers tours on a regular basis. To date, it has hosted more than 10,000 tours.
Architect of Record
Opus Architects & Engineers, Inc.
Opus Northwest LLC
% Energy and CO2 Reduction*
2006 / 2008
Estimated Site Energy Use Intensity
Estimated Annual Site Energy Use
Estimated Annual Energy Cost
Under-floor air delivery system; heat recovery system; air-side economizers; radiant heating; cool roof installation; solar PV panels; window shading; daylighting dimming controls; occupancy sensors; lighting controls; bamboo flooring; recycled cork floors
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Strategy Groups, LLC