It doesn’t matter how many advanced sustainable strategies you have in your building, if it is contributing to sprawl, it is not sustainable. To be sustainable, start with placing the building in a compact, mixed use, walkable and transit-friendly location. These are some of the goals behind LEED for Neighborhood Development, the USGBC’s Pilot program for communities, a new metric for measuring Smart Growth and Environmentally Responsible Development.

Weber Thompson is working on three of the 238 projects accepted into the pilot program. One of these is our own neighborhood. The City of Seattle engaged us to help evaluate how the South Lake Union Urban Center, performs against LEED-ND. While most of the 238 Pilot Program’s applicants are new developments by a private developer, the South Lake Union neighborhood is fairly unique in that it is City sponsored, is based on the City plan and is being implemented by multiple developers.While it gave us the opportunity to evaluate the applicability of LEED-ND in a highly-urbanized, already-developed area, it is also giving the City of Seattle information necessary to guide future neighborhood and City policies. Our other LEED ND project, Sweetwater in Hailey, Idaho, gives us the opportunity to test the program application in a small town and compare the differences between the two vastly different types of locations.

We are in the final stages of certification for both projects and will keep you posted on results. You can also hear more at our presentation during the 2009 Washington Association of Landscape Architects Conference “Engaging Change: A Greener Perspective” on Friday April 3, 2009 at the Seattle Center.


After four years of hard work, fantastic design, minute attention to light candles, air flow and waterless urinals, The Terry Thomas is officially a LEED Gold certified building!!

We are all so excited to learn that our certification came through. It could only have happened through the dedication and hard work of our Weber Thompson Project Team and Consultants. We want to take a minute to thank our team:

 Weber Thompson – Architect, Sustainable Certification
•    Scott Thompson, AIA, LEED AP – Principal in Charge of Design, Core and Shell
•    Peter David Greaves AIA, LEED AP – Principal in Charge of Design, WT Tenant Improvements
•    Elzbieta Zielinska, LEED AP – Project Manager
•    Gabe Hanson, LEED AP – Designer
•    Mina Ghanaie, LEED AP – Job Captain
•    Heidi Fahy, NCIDQ, LEED AP – Project Manager, WT Tenant Improvements
Rafn Company – General Contractor
Stantec – Mechanical Engineering
DCI Engineers – Civil and Structural Engineering
First Western Development Services – Owner and Developer 

Now that the Core and Shell has achieved LEED Gold certification, we can submit the documentation for the Weber Thompson Tenant Improvement which is pursuing LEED-CI Platinum. We anticipate this certification in approximately 6-8 weeks. After that, look to this blog for a download on what credits we pursued and didn’t achieve and how the certification process went for us overall.

In the meantime, we will be peppering this blog with upcoming news on Weber Thompson’s different sustainability efforts including LEED-ND for South Lake Union, Weber Thompson’s greening operations efforts and LEED EBOM.


Early in 2008, Weber Thompson’s Green Team calculated the 2007 carbon consumption for our staff’s commuting and work related air travel, and the electrical loads from our old office space. Our goal was to offset our carbon consumption by planting native trees and shrubs in the greater Seattle Area. 

On several different occasions throughout the fall and winter, WT volunteered for planting and restoration parties with Mountains to Sound Greenway and EarthCorps. We roused ourselves from our warm beds on early, misty Saturday mornings, donned our rain gear and work boots and got down and dirty with our co-workers in the urban forests.

In November, we partnered with EarthCorps as a site sponsor for Climate Action Week and sent teams to Carkeek Park in North Seattle and Carillon Woods in Kirkland to plant native trees and shrubs. Our team scaled steep hillsides, learning about the miles of Mountain Beaver tunnels running just below the surface. We must have spent as much time digging our co-workers out of those beaver tunnels as we did planting trees!  

 As the year comes to an end, we look forward to comparing our carbon consumption between our old and new office. We’ll keep you posted.

Eco-Laboratory Wins National Contest at Greenbuild

Capping a year of awards for Weber Thompson’s sustainable projects, great news came out of the recent Greenbuild conference. A team of four young designers at Weber Thompson beat out sixteen entries to nab first place in the 2008 Natural Talent Design Competition for their Eco-Laboratory project – a conceptual high rise development that meets Cascadia’s Living Building Challenge.

The team re-envisioned a site in Seattle’s downtown Belltown neighborhood, incorporating the site’s existing structures and uses. The result is a financially-viable residential development that harnesses numerous alternative energy sources to create a net-zero building, where the energy sources tapped create the same amount of energy used by the building.

A huge congratulation goes out to the Eco-laboratory team – Myer Harrell, Dan Albert, Brian Geller and Chris Dukehart – for the national recognition they received for their design and, of course, the $5,000 awarded as part of the competition.

If you are interested in learning more about the project, and seeing more images, please visit our portfolio.

A big week for The Terry Thomas and Weber Thompson

In the first week of November we had the honor of winning three awards for our work.
At three different gala events, each put on by three different organizations, Weber Thompson projects were recognized for their design, use of materials and sustainability.

    • AIA 2008 Honor Awards for Washington State Architecture, Perform/Transform: The Terry Thomas  was awarded a commendation award in the Built category during a ceremony attended by the Puget Sound architecture community. Jurors comments were: “This building is innovative in the quality of its interior spaces and its forward-thinking relationship to energy use. The quality of daylight in the interior spaces is particularly unique for an office environment, and provides flexibility in the case of future energy limitations.” They also praised the courtyard for blurring the public and private realm and reinforcing a sense of community. 
    • NAIOP Night of the Stars: At the Washington State Chapter of the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties’ (NAIOP) annual Gala, The Terry Thomas was named Washington State’s Sustainable Development of the Year. The Terry Thomas project team, including the owner, contractor and engineer, was in attendance, in their black tie splendor, to accept the award. 
    • Masonry Institute of Washington: EdenHill, a brick, mixed-use development located at the top of Queen Anne Hill, was given a commendation award for a commercial building between $250,000 and $1,000,000. Both Weber Thompson and Sterling Construction were honored for this building. Eden Hill is pursuing LEED-CS Silver certification.

    These three awards capped a very full year, especially for The Terry Thomas. We are looking forward to entering our second year in this tremendous building.

Urban Zen – National Park(ing) Day success!

Park(ing) Day 2008 was a huge success! Our team had a great time interacting with the neighborhood from the street, rather than in the office. We would like to give a special shout out to the nice parking policewoman who praised us for having all our permits in place and the Salt Lake City, Utah City Council and Planning Department members who stopped by on their tour of South Lake Union.

We would like to thank our sponsors who donated the materials for the park. In keeping with the sustainable spirit of the event, everything we received has been either re-used or recycled. A big thanks to: Continue reading “Urban Zen – National Park(ing) Day success!”

Urban Zen – National Park(ing) Day – 11am

Welcome to Urban Zen. (Deep breath…ahhhh.)








Today is a special day. Today is National Park(ing) Day! Park(ing) Day is a one-day, global event where artists, activists, and citizens collaborate to temporarily transform metered parking spots into “Park(ing)” spaces: temporary public parks.

For our space we had the great pleasure to collaborate with Berger Partnership.. After some discussion we settled on the very fitting and necessary concept of “Urban Zen”. What exactly defines “Urban Zen”? Our vision incorporates traditional Asian designs and materials paired with more “fast paced” necessities used in an entirely different way.

Rather than drinking the coffee, why not rake coffee beans into cool designs?

Rather than sitting at your desk all day to the point of dry eyes, why not take your lap top and sit in the park? Continue reading “Urban Zen – National Park(ing) Day – 11am”