Bellevue Towers, is a new high-rise residential and retail development in downtown Bellevue, Washington. It is the city’s first residential high-rise to achieve LEED Gold certification. The towers’ energy use beats industry standards for this building type by 30%, a result of strategic design measures that contribute to its LEED Gold rating. A joint-venture team of GBD Architects and MulvannyG2 Architecture designed Bellevue Towers.
Comprised of two towers, one 42 stories, the other 43, upon a six-story retail podium, the one-million square foot project contributes 541 residential units to downtown Bellevue, known for a strong retail and knowledge-worker base, as well as increasing density and economic significance. Microsoft, Symetra Financial, Yahoo!, Expedia, Paccar, and Puget Sound Energy are among companies headquartered or located nearby. Bellevue Towers’ urbane skyline presence and compelling street-level retail have increased this downtown’s momentum for an even more vibrant 24-7 presence.
Sustainable design strategies
Some specific strategies that contribute to its Gold LEED certification include:
1. Green roofs atop both towers and the six-story retail podium avoid a heat sink effect, and reflective, light-colored material tops the towers’ roofs to reflect sunlight rather than absorb its heat. The podium’s green roof also provides walking paths, a dog run, and an expansive lawn for residents.
2. The buildings’ energy efficient mechanical system is designed to acknowledge that the air in the Pacific Northwest is temperate, relatively, much of the time. Whereas typical systems heat and cool air with no regard for given outside air temperatures, this system heats air only to the degree needed, and in-takes more fresh air rather than re-circulating many times as typical systems do.
3. Bellevue Towers’ high-performance, highly insulated building envelope features low-e glass and windows that filter UV rays, which contribute to heat gain.
4. Rain collected from the two towers’ roofs routes rainwater through a dedicated collection system,
and then supplies a drip irrigation system to sustain plantings and fountains on the retail podium’s green roof. Drip irrigation uses 50% less water than typical spray irrigation.
5. The site orientation and curved curtain walls maximize exposure to sunlight and views.
6. Recycled or locally produced content comprise the building materials and seventy-five percent of demolition and construction waste was recycled.
7. The site leverages existing transit lines.
8. Low-VOC materials, efficient shower heads and faucets, and dual-flush toilets were specified.