Sustainability

We ask: “How can we have the most impact?”

Our flexible and adaptive approach allows us to treat sustainability like a puzzle. Our work is never done; we are continuously improving as a firm through education and advocacy. Whether it’s testifying at code hearings, seeking healthier materials for our projects, or finding ways to make sustainability more tangible for our clients, we take our role very seriously. We collaboratively challenge the status quo to create enriching, positive environments and develop a credible narrative of financial value through sustainable design principles.

A hybrid office presentation of the WTST North Star.

In 2023 we went through a rigorous exercise to determine where to focus our sustainability initiatives over the next several years. Facilitated meetings with the entire staff, and subsequent focused meetings with leadership, led us to our Sustainability North Star.

We identified that Health and Wellness are our urgent priority.

Through our biophilic work, Living Building projects and FitWell certifications we have a solid base for designing buildings and spaces that promote wellness, but we want to take it further. To that end, we have crafted an action plan that will take us to 2030 and define how we are going to pursue those goals.

Watershed Landscape Architecture

What makes us unique

Living what we preach – Watershed, Terry Thomas

It isn’t enough that we design sustainable spaces.

We want to inhabit them, experience them, learn from them. We started this journey with The Terry Thomas, a passively-cooled, LEED Gold building where we spent twelve years learning how to happily co-exist without air conditioning (hint: capture the breezes through design).

More recently, we have come to love our new space at Watershed. More energy efficient than The Terry Thomas, yet with air conditioning, Watershed gives us ever-changing views of the water and tree covered hills of Seattle, something else, and the bounty from an annual harvest of honey from the roof-top bee hives. But it also gives us a new space and strategies to learn from.

Pursuing the Living Building Materials Petal

We lived in that research for the better part of a year. Want to prevent as much as possible from going to landfill? We stripped our old office and installed numerous fixtures and materials in our new space. With each new project, whether we move into it or not, we learn, we grow and we help the earth heal.

Mass Timber  ·  Stormwater  ·  Energy and Water  ·  Human Health  ·  Community

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Mass timber building under construction

Mass Timber

Carbon-reducing design

We uniformly recognize that the built environment is a major contributor to carbon emissions that continue to escalate the climate crisis. It is critical for us to look closely at the embodied carbon that makes up our buildings and the operational carbon it takes to run them. The carbon-reducing design ideas we’re most enthusiastic about are those that also improve the health and wellness of people.

We are passionate about mass timber structural systems that can reduce embodied carbon and provide the benefits of biophilia to occupants. WT has a cohort of Certified Passive House Consultants who believe in Passive House because it is both a low operational carbon building standard and a proven way to create superior indoor air quality that greatly improves occupant health and even cognitive function.

Watershed stormawater illustration for SPU

Stormwater

Our region is defined by its relationship to water.

Home to a network of freshwater lakes and rivers that mix with ocean waters to create a brackish environment, it is abundant with life. As our built environment evolved, the water that falls from the skies rolls down our streets, picking up toxic substances and debris. This water needs to be slowed and cleaned before it flows into our lakes and interacts with its water dwelling inhabitants.

With all our projects, from high rise to bioswales, we are developing replicable strategies that slow stormwater, so as to not overflow the system, and treat the water, cleaning it before releasing it back to nature.

RESEARCH

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tour attendee at Solis checks out the operable windows

Energy and Water Conservation

Getting to Net-Zero

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RESEARCH

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Data 1 interior

Design for Human Health

Biophilic design

When designing a built environment, connecting the user to the natural world is paramount to an individuals’ health and happiness. The benefits of creating these connections are significant and well studied and documented. Access to natural light, views to the exterior, connection to greenery all work together to create a better experience within our spaces. Outside of the general health benefits, incorporating biophilic design strategies is a large part of Living Building and FitWell Certification.


Dedicated to continued growth, we use the International Living Future Institute’s transparency platform as a tool for reflection and forward momentum. Weber Thompson is a JUST company.

RESEARCH

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Rachael Meyer standing beside presentation slide

Community Driven Design

Authentic community engagement

Placeholder text: Moving away from top-down approaches, contemporary practices embrace more inclusive and participatory models and design processes. Participatory planning, a notion that prioritizes involving the entire community in the decision-making process, has earned widespread recognition and popularity globally.

RESEARCH

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Organizations

U.S. Green Building Council

The USGBC is committed to transforming our built environment through LEED, the world’s most preeminent green building system.

International Living Future Institute

ILFI envisions a future where our planet and humanity are thriving, and we work towards that future every day. They refer to this future as the Living Future.

Fitwel

Fitwel is the world’s leading certification system committed to building health for all®

American Institute of Architects

As the largest design organization in the world, AIA is working to transform the day-to-day practice of architecture to achieve a zero-carbon, resilient, healthy, just, equitable built environment, for everyone.

The WTST Team

Rachael Meyer headshot

Rachael Meyer, Director of Sustainability, PLA, LFA, GRP, LEED® AP

In addition to her Landscape Architecture projects, Rachael will oversee the firm’s sustainability initiatives with a focus on health and wellness, carbon reduction and stormwater management.

“An architecture firm promoting a landscape architect to serve in this role underscores our commitment to integrated design. We feel this is essential for crafting both indoor and outdoor spaces that contribute to the health and well-being of the urban environment and its users.”

Aaron Swain, Senior Associate, AIA, CPHC, FitWel Ambassador

Amanda Keating, Senior Principal,AIA, LEED AP

Brittany Porter, Senior Associate, AIA, CPHC, LEED Green Assoc.

Emily Evenson, Senior Associate, AIA, RA, CPHD

Jen Primm, Senior Communications Coordinator

Neha Goel, Associate, AIA, NCARB, LEED® AP BD+C

Sandy Enriquez, WELL AP

Sarah Rable, NCIFQ, LEED® Green Assoc.

Tanya Kataria, Associate, AIA, WELL AP, LEED® Green Assoc.

All staff group photo outside of the office with the Aurora Bridge in the background

Awards

Aurora Bioswales

  • 2023 ULI Global Award Winner
  • 2023 ULI Americas Award Winner

Watershed

  • 2023 ULI Americas Award Finalist
  • 2022 AIA National COTE Award
  • 2021 Popular Choice Award, Concept > Architecture + Water
  • 2020 NAIOPWA 2020 Sustainable Office Development of the Year

Solis

  • 2022 ULI Americas Awards Finalist
  • 2021 PHIUS Passive Projects Competition Awards, Best Overall Project
  • 2021 Gold Nugget Awards, Grand Award: Best Design for Energy Efficiency

The Terry Thomas

  • 2009 AIA Seattle What Makes it Green? Award Recipient
  • 2009 AIA National COTE Top Ten Green Projects Awards
  • 2008 NAIOPWA Sustainable Development of the Year

Sunset Electric

  • 2014 Northwest EcoBuild Guild, 10x10x10 Green Building Slam Project

Green Certifications

Watershed: 2023 Living Building Petal Certification

Weber Thompson Offices @ Watershed: 2022 FitWell 3-Star Certification

Solis: 2022 Passive House Multifamily Certification

The Accolade: LEED Gold Certified, 2022

Orenda: LEED Silver Certified, 2021

The Waverly: LEED Gold Certified, 2021

Modera Broadway: LEED Silver Certified, 2021

Nexus: LEED Gold Certified, 2020

Ascent: LEED Gold Certified, 2018

Uptown Flats: LEED Silver Certified, 2018

Kiara: LEED Silver Certified, 2018

Stratus, LEED Gold Certified, 2018

Kirkland Urban: LEED Gold Certified, 2018

Architecture @ Zero: First Place 2017

Data 1: LEED Gold Certified, 2017

Data 1: Salmon Safe Certified, 2017

Radius: LEED Gold Certified, 2016

Cirrus: LEED Silver Certified, 2015

4730 California: LEED Gold certified, 2015

Pike Motorworks: LEED Silver Certified, 2015

Sunset Electric: 2014 LEED Platinum Certified for Homes

Sunset Electric: LEED Platinum certified, 2012

The Terry Thomas: 2009 LEED Gold Certified for Core and Shell

Weber Thompson Offices @ The Terry Thomas: 2009 LEED Platinum Certified for Commercial Interiors

Blakely Hall: Green Globe Certification

Final statement, sentiment, or quote.

Seventh floor view of Lake Union and the Aurora Bridge in summer

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