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Ode to Joy in Tacoma: Historic UWT building awarded LEED Platinum

Post by C.R. Roberts / The News Tribune on Jan. 31, 2012 at 2:58 pm with No Comments »
January 31, 2012 2:58 pm

The Green Building Certification Institute has awarded its highest certification – LEED Platinum – to the University of Washington Tacoma’s Russell T. Joy Building.

The Joy Building is the first in Tacoma and first in the University of Washington to achieve a Platinum rating in the “new construction/major remodel” LEED system, the university said in a release Tuesday. It is the second state-funded building to receive this recognition. The downtown Wells Fargo Plaza in July received a LEED Silver designation for existing buildings, and the Pacific Plaza project received LEED Platinum. St. Elizabeth Hospital in Enumclaw has received a Silver designation. Salishan Phase III rental units have received a Platinum designation.

Erected in 1892, the building was the last of the historic structures along Pacific Avenue to be repurposed for the UWT campus. It opened last spring offering classroom space and first-floor retail storefronts.

The architect of the renovation was THA Architecture, and the general contractor was Korsmo Construction.

The state mandates that all state-funded new construction and major renovations be designed, constructed and operated to at least a Silver LEED certification level.

“LEED Platinum certification is very difficult to achieve on new construction, and even more difficult for renovations,” stated Milt Tremblay, director of facilities and campus services.

Among the features of the Joy Building that earned it the high rating is a system that captures 90 percent of the rainwater falling on the building and reuses it in planters.

Among other sustainable features:
• 43.6 percent water reduction during building operations;
• 49.7 percent reduction in energy;
• 95.1 percent of construction waste recycled;
• 83.9 percent of building structure reused;
• Electrical vehicle recharging station installed;
• 56 secure bike storage locations;
• 22.7 percent recycled content in building materials;
• 20.3 percent of materials were purchased within 500 miles.

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