Toilets use rainwater in new government building in Seattle

Seattle headquarters U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Toilets that flush using rainwater, construction with reclaimed timber and lighting mostly through windows are some of the features of the new $72 million, state-of-the-art headquarters of the Seattle District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. (Image courtesy ZGF Architects) | Zoom
Toilets that flush using rainwater, construction with reclaimed timber and lighting mostly through windows are some of the features of the new $72 million, state-of-the-art headquarters of the Seattle District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The 209,000 square foot Federal Center South Building is built at the site of an industrial brownfield warehouse as part of the U.S. General Services Administration's Design Excellence program, which aims to promote a clean energy economy.

The building has a distinctive U-shape that surrounds a central atrium. The government expects the new Army Corps district office to be the most energy efficient air conditioned building in the region, using 100 percent outside air, underfloor ventilation and heat recovery "optimized via the atrium."

ZGF Architects, of Seattle, which worked on the design-build project with Sellen Construction said it expects the new facility will earn a top energy efficiency certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Other energy-sustaining features of the building include a 25,000 gallon cistern which stores rainwater from the rooftop for toilets and irrigation, 300,000 board feet of reclaimed timber and a 50 percent reduction in impervious surfaces through landscaping.

The construction was funded by the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.


Tim Haeck, KIRO Radio Reporter
Tim Haeck is a news reporter with KIRO Radio. While Tim is one of our go-to, no-nonsense reporters, he also has a sensationally dry sense of humor and it will surprise some to learn he is a weekend warrior.
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