South Lake Union opened in 2009 and is certified at the gold level by an internationally recognized green building certification system called Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED). LEED provides third-party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies intended to improve performance in metrics such as energy savings, water efficiency, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.
Energy efficient elevator
The KONE Eco-efficient™ elevators used in this building have Eco-Disc™ technology that allow them to operate with 50 percent less energy than what is required by conventional traction elevators.
The low-water toilets in South Lake Union House reduce water consumption by 30 percent compared to traditional flush toilets. Public toilets in the common areas have two flush modes: UP for liquid waste and DOWN for solid waste. They also feature an anti-microbial coated handle.
Air filtration system
South Lake Union House's indoor air quality is 100 percent FILTERED outside air. We use MERV-13 filters. MERV is the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value of an air filter. Merv-13 means that the filter is classified for use in a “Superior Commercial Building,” a rating higher than typically used in hospital laboratories. A “Better Residential” filter is a MERV-7, whereas a standard “Residential” filter is a MERV-3.
The WattStopper™ lighting control system regulates all common area and external lighting to be as energy efficient as possible. The system automatically adjusts for seasonal and daylight savings time changes.
Heat recovery system
The heating and cooling system is designed to use recovered heat, thus saving energy. By using a variable refrigerant volume HVAC system, excess heat from one guest room can be used to heat a colder room and vice versa. Also, the building exhaust air is heat exchanged with incoming outside air to either help heat up or cool down the incoming outside air, depending on the season and the conditions in the building.
Rooftop storm water is retained by green roofs in lieu of on-site detention tanks. Most of the plant varieties used on the green roof areas are in the succulent family and will require very little irrigation system watering. Ninety percent of the construction waste was diverted from disposal, meaning that 90 percent of the waste was recycled.
Low VOC paints (volatile organic compounds) were chosen to reduce indoor air contaminants that have odors and can be irritating and/or harmful to painters and occupants.
Used on the cabinets, tables, stair treads, and residential window sills throughout South Lake Union House, bamboo plywood is a rapidly renewable building material and the plywood contains no added ureaformaldehyde resins.
Carpet and adhesives
The carpet meets Green Label Plus standards for VOC emissions and contains 35 percent pre-consumer recycled material. The backing is PVC-free, and the carpet is 100 percent recyclable.
The brick on the outside of South Lake Union House is a very durable regional material made from products and materials that were extracted within a 500-mile radius of Seattle, supporting the use of local resources and reducing the environmental impacts from transportation.
Linoleum is a durable flooring made from linseed oil, pine rosin, sawdust, cork dust, limestone, and a jute backing. Many of these materials are rapidly renewable (made from plants that are typically harvested within a 10-year cycle or shorter) and the product has 10 percent recycled content. The adhesives and sealants are low VOC.