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1063 Block Replacement


Newest addition to the Capitol Campus conserves electricity and water, and reduces carbon emissions

The construction project called the 1063 Block Replacement Project resulted in the five-story, 225,000-square-foot Helen Sommers Building. It is the first state-owned building on the Capitol Campus to gain LEED Platinum Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.*

The streamlined and cost-efficient design-build construction model used for this project helped ensure the project was completed on time and on budget. See more project photos.


Buildings with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification are healthier, more productive places that reduce stress on the environment because they are energy and resource-efficient. Platinum is the highest of four levels of certification. The building also achieves:

  • Top 1 percent nationally in energy efficiency.
  • ENERGY STAR score: perfect 100
  • 2018 Energy in Design award winner - American Institute of Architects

Helen Sommers Building


  • Emits 71.4 percent less carbon monoxide (CO2) than an average office building - equivalent to taking 291 cars off the road for one year.
  • Solar panels: Supply 10 percent of the building’s energy -- enough to power over 13 average American homes for a year.
  • LED lighting & sensor controls – save CO2 emissions equal to burning 141,988 pounds of coal a year.
  • 30 Geothermal wells use the earth's energy for both heating and cooling, saving greenhouse gas emissions equal to driving 318,082 miles a year.
  • Sustainable landscaping: 400,000 pounds of CO2 to be absorbed by plants over the building’s lifetime. Includes 5,100 native, adaptive and drought tolerant plants and 640 square feet suspended paving to increase tree root growth.
  • Saves 828,310 gallons of water a year - enough water to provide the water needs for a four-person household for 6.5 years.

Effective, efficient and accountable government

  • Design-build project completed on time and on budget. Total project budget: $85.7 million.
  • Cost avoidance: The new building is expected to help the state avoid more than $100 million over its lifetime compared to leasing space*
  • Smart materials: Chosen to reduce the need for maintenance, including the limestone on the building’s exterior that closely resembles the sandstone on historic campus buildings.
  • Smart systems: Provide real-time data analysis to monitor building performance.
  • Guaranteed performance: Under agreement with Sellen Construction. To date, building systems are meeting performance objectives. 

Green economy growth in Washington

From the solar panels to brick and steel, “made in Washington” was a project priority for the design-build team of Sellen and ZGF Architects:

  • Over 20 percent of materials were regionally sourced (less than 500 miles from site).
  • Approximately 23 percent total construction hours worked by apprentices.
  • Learn more about the team’s Made in Washington priority.
  • 88 cents of every dollar was invested in Washington labor and materials.
    • That’s $68 million supporting the Washington economy. 

*Helen Sommers is the campus’ second building overall to achieve the platinum designation.  In 2014, the 1500 Jefferson Building on the state’s East Campus, occupied under a lease-purchase agreement, also gained LEED Platinum certification. That building was constructed in 2011.
**According to 2015 life-cycle cost estimate by the Office of Financial Management. A building’s typical “life” is estimated at 50 years, though many stay in use longer than that time frame.