Inspiring Case Studies from our August 2022 Newsletter

For our August newsletter, we highlighted some wonderful stories from our members that address the climate emergency by coming up with long-term solutions to lower CO2 emissions—one building at a time. We are proud of our members and hope that these stories encourage building developers and property owners to find creative ways to lower energy use and meet the upcoming state and city energy performance standards. Click here to subscribe to our monthly newsletters.

Microsoft's Thermal Energy Center

Microsoft Thermal Energy Center

Located at Microsoft’s Redmond headquarters, an electric utility plant called the Thermal Energy Center will provide heating and cooling for daily operations to the new East campus using a geothermal energy exchange system.

Instead of carbon-generating natural gas or fossil fuel-based equipment commonly used in central utility plants, the Thermal Energy Center circulates water through 900 geothermal wells hidden 550 feet underground—almost the height of the Space Needle in nearby Seattle! Using the earth’s thermal energy, the plant transfers heat from the ground to the water within the system, which is then circulated and stored in several massive thermal energy storage tanks. The Thermal Energy Center also houses heat recovery chillers and cooling towers, which work together to process and disperse 322,000 gallons of water to control temperatures across Microsoft’s new East campus.

S2030D Member, GLY Construction is the general contractor, NBBJ is the architect, and AEI is the lead engineer on the Thermal Energy Center project.

The Thermal Energy Center was a major factor in Microsoft’s nomination and win of our 2020 Vision Award in Leadership, particularly the company’s commitments in becoming carbon negative by 2030 and removing all the carbon and electric consumption Microsoft has emitted since the company’s founding in 1975 by 2050 (you can watch the video of the award winners here; it starts at 24:46). If you would like to nominate a company for the 2023 Vision Awards, fill out this form.

HPP's 505 1st Ave rooftop

Early Adoption of Clean Building Standards: HPP

To meet compliance with the Clean Buildings for Washington law (HB 1257), which now applies to all commercial buildings over 20,000 sq. ft., Hudson Pacific Properties is participating in the Monitoring Based Commissioning Program, offered by Seattle City Light.

After energy efficiency measures are implemented, the energy use intensity (EUI) of Hudson's building will be reduced by 41%, bringing the building well below the state's EUI target. Efficiency measures include the implementation of Iconics real-time commissioning software, confirmation balance of existing HVAC systems, control sequence modifications, and possible electrification of domestic hot water heaters that are currently gas.

Approximately 85% of the software costs, air balancing, preliminary scoping, and development of energy efficiency measures are expected be covered by the resulting rebate. Hudson Pacific is demonstrating how implementing new systems and technologies in your buildings today can mean substantial energy savings in the future!

Picture of Space Needle at night. Photo by Casey Horner|Unsplash

A Clearly Defined Path: Space Needle

The Space Needle's recent renovations, which included seismic work along the steel legs, a glass replacement of the observation tower for better temperature regulation, and low-flow plumbing upgrades, earned the building LEED gold certification and the 2019 Vision Award in Leadership.

Leading with the Space Needle and Chihuly Garden and Glass' value of "Big Legacy Small Footprint" the plan starts with assessing the venues' operational and embodied carbon use. These numbers are taken from data resources such as the EC3 tool and meter data form Energy Star Portfolio Manager.

Continuing this commitment to the environment, The Space Needle and Chihuly Garden and Glass have a robust sustainability strategy to achieve zero carbon and waste in the operations of both buildings. Click here for more information on the Space Needle's sustainability plan.

[Photo of the Space Needle by Casey Horner | Unsplash]