One of Seattle’s largest employers, Amazon.com is consolidating its offices in the South Lake Union area of Seattle. Building on many years of work on the sustainable development of South Lake Union, Vulcan Real Estate and Amazon.com set a goal of achieving LEED Core and Shell (LEED-CS) Gold Certification for all of the buildings in the five block campus. The first of those blocks, Amazon.com Phase 2, received LEED Gold certification in the fall of 2010. Amazon.com Phase 3 earned LEED Gold in early 2011, and three others are close to completing the certification process. O’Brien & Company is the LEED and sustainability consultant for the entire development.
At the start of project, O’Brien & Company facilitated the SLU Blocks Eco-Charrette. More than 50 people attended and contributed their knowledge and inspiration for the project. During design, O’Brien & Company conducted LEED working sessions with the design teams and coordination meetings with the City and utility representatives for incentives for energy conservation measures. We helped the project team investigate green roofs and water capture on several phases of the project. O’Brien & Company is now orchestrating the LEED credit documentation process for design and construction for all phases, including pursuing LEED for Commercial Interiors for the fit-out of the first phase of the project, where Amazon.com occupied three buildings built with another local developer prior to the commitment to LEED.
Key features that contributed to Gold Certification in Phase 2 and 3 include exemplary water efficiency, extensive use of regionally produced materials and recycling 95% of the construction waste. The project earned the LEED credit for light pollution in Phase 2, which is often challenging on dense, urban projects, by conducting on-site measurements after installation and designing custom shields for fixtures contributing to light trespass. These same tests revealed no special shielding would be needed on Phase 3.
The Amazon.com projects also served as pilot projects for the development of global guidelines for tenant improvements and green housekeeping for all Vulcan owned properties. O’Brien & Company prepared specific versions of these plans for each phase of the Amazon.com project, which typically allows projects to qualify for two LEED Innovation credits, and then incorporated the results back into broader guidelines applicable to multiple project types owned by Vulcan Inc. and its affiliates.