City Of Burien Wins Two Awards For Library/City Hall Building

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Two honors for design recently have been accorded the King County Library/Burien City Hall building, which opened last June.

The three-story centerpiece of downtown Burien has received an award for “outstanding” masonry design – and LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Gold is the Green Building Council’s second highest standard.

A commonly-used standard to assess environmental sustainability, the LEED achievement recognizes the city’s use of green building principles that benefit the public.

The central location of the facility at SW 152nd St. and 4th Ave. SW – easily accessible by foot, bike, bus or car – was a primary factor in the rating by the Green Building Council, as was the preferred parking created for low-emitting vehicles such as hybrids and for carpool drivers.

Detail of frosted glass in city council chambers.

In addition, during construction the builders diverted more than 89 percent of waste generated on-site from the landfill, and chose to purchase “green power” from renewable sources. Energy-efficient lighting and low-water plumbing fixtures were used throughout the facility.

LEED gives building owners and operators the tools they need to have an immediate and measurable impact on their buildings’ performance.

It promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

The 58,000 square foot library/city hall building received the “Commercial: Government” category award in the 2010 Masonry Institute of Washington Excellence Awards in Masonry Design.

Its masonry, natural stone, glass and metal exterior “is designed to expose [its] programs and internal activities to passersby and to complement activities in the adjacent 1-acre park,” noted the award from the Masonry Institute.

Ruffcorn Mott Hinthorne Stine designed the building, which anchors Burien’s Town Square. The library occupies the first two floors, with city hall on the third floor. City council chambers are in a shared meeting room on the first floor.

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2 Responses to “City Of Burien Wins Two Awards For Library/City Hall Building”
  1. Really? says:

    Sure wish I owned stock in the U.S. Green Building Council company. I’d be rich. What value did we gain when we paid an extra approx. 2% to 8% of the construction costs to certify this building as a “LEED” building? The design professionals would have given us the same efficient and environmentally friendly design even without paying for the privledge of having the “LEED” ranking. You see, to obtain LEED rankings such as Gold, Silver etc., the owner must pay fees to U.S. Green Building Council for evaluation services, and must reapply (with more fees to USGBC) after so many years to keep the ranking. It’s great to have efficient and “Green” designs in our buildings, but it’s silly to pay extra for a ranking system that doesn’t even give any tax deductions to the owners….. and yes, the utility costs are lower in this building, but the design professionals already knew how to produce these environmentally friendly solutions we obtained.

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    • think says:

      ok, so i understand your dislike for the beauracracy that is the USGBC and the strangely marketable street cred a project earns for a LEED certification, but you’ve got some seriously erroneous information in you reaction. firstly, the USGBC is a non-profit, so i don’t think you can own stock in them. IF you have an initial cost increase, the payback will come in the form of energy savings, maintenance costs reductions, reduced reliance on non-renewable resources – you name it! and yes, there are many design professionals out there that are familiar with sustainable strategies and may unsolicitedly offer the suggestion, but you usually don’t give a client something they haven’t asked for. that would be like your waitress bringing you a salad instead of a steak because she thinks it will be better for you. and although i agree that registration and certification fees for LEED projects can be pricey (bureaucracy at it’s best!), you do NOT need to re-apply for certification in subsequent years unless the project decides that it would also like to become certified under a different LEED rating system, such as Operations & Maintenance. a project retains its certification regardless. i’m glad that you are paying attention to your community, but make sure you are informed!

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