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Newsletter Stories


Wednesday, 19 November 2014
King County Creates Model for Solid Waste Industry

 (© King County)© King County

November 20, 2014


In December 2013, King County, Washington (serving 2 million people in metropolitan Seattle) became only the second government in the country to require all new capital projects to seek LEED Platinum certification. So it was clear that the new Bow Lake Recycling and Transfer Station was going to be one of the greenest buildings of its type anywhere.  

To achieve such a high level of sustainability, the facility needed to pursue many different strategies, including use of FSC-certified products throughout. In fact 90 percent of the wood used, valued at more than $50,000, was FSC certified. This included interior finish materials, structural timbers and sheet goods. And while much of the FSC wood is visible in the building, a big part of the story is now hidden, including hundreds of yards of tall soldier-pile retaining walls that used FSC-certified lagging as the primary structural material. This component was so significant, the County now features it in their regular tours of the facility.  

Within administrative and crew spaces, FSC-certified products are featured prominently as finish materials, including wainscot, doors, cabinets, shelving and signage. For all the attention to detail, the $92 million capital project was delivered on time and under budget.  

King County wants Bow Lake to be a catalyst for other green building projects, regionally and nationally. The County uses a “Sustainable Infrastructure Scorecard” to encourage green strategies, including a credit for use of FSC-certified products. While the County builds 5-7 LEED-eligible projects a year, the scorecard is used annually in nearly 200 projects. 

The Forest Stewardship Council applauds King County for its vision and leadership, developing cost-effective projects that also maintain high standards for environmental and social performance.  

For more information, download the Bow Lake case study here.