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1063 Block Replacement


The five-story, 225,000-square-foot Helen Sommers Building is the result of the construction project called the 1063 Block Replacement Project.

Helen Sommers Building


The project, initiated by the 2013 Legislature, was designed to be within the top 1 percent of office buildings nationally in energy efficiency. It embodies the vision for improved sustainability and resource efficiency on the campus. The building is constructed with smart features that conserve water and energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. There is a five-year performance agreement with the builder that guarantees results. Here's a snapshot of some building features:

  • 10.63 percent of the building's energy is from renewable solar power, or 166,447 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year -- enough to power over 13 average American homes for a year.
  • Smart water systems will save an estimated 828,310 gallons of water per year -- enough water to provide the water needs for a four-person household for 6.5 years.
  • Compared to an average office building, there will be 71.4 percent less CO2 emissions -- equivalent to taking 291 cars off the road each year or saving the electricity from 204 homes annually.
  • Geothermal wells allow the building to use the earth's energy for both heating and cooling, and save greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to driving an average passenger vehicle 318,082 miles a year.
  • Learn more about the building's sustainable features.

Effective, efficient and accountable government

The new building is expected to help the state avoid more than $100 million over its lifetime compared to leasing space, 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.

In addition:

  • Many building materials were chosen to reduce the need for maintenance, including the limestone on the building’s exterior that closely resembles the sandstone on historic campus buildings. The limestone is much less labor-intensive to clean and maintain.
  • Smart features in building systems provide the ability to reduce wasted energy through real-time data analysis.

A gateway to the Capitol Campus

The Helen Sommers Building provides a transitional gateway from the City of Olympia to the historic West Capitol Campus.

Ten public benches as well as plants that were selected to weave the Capitol Campus landscape design together with an urban, Pacific Northwest palette are featured outside the building. An estimated 400,000 pounds of CO2 will be absorbed by the building's plants over the life of the building.

Rain gardens add texture and also collect and absorb stormwater runoff from nearby paved surfaces, helping to remove pollutants and slow the water's movement.

Learn more about the building's sustainable landscape design features.


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