Net Zero Energy Lab for Washington State

Shane Day, AEI
Lyle Keck, AEI

In 2020, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed Executive Order 20-01 requiring all new state buildings to be designed for Net Zero Energy or Net Zero Energy Capable. The new Safety and Health Lab and Training Center for the Departments of Labor and Industries (LNI) and Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) is the first project to be designed under this requirement and one of the most complex and potentially energy-intensive facilities in the State's building portfolio. The building is also all-electric; it uses no natural gas or other fossil fuels except for diesel backup generators.

To reduce the energy use intensity (EUI) of the 51,000 square foot (sf) building with wet labs, training rooms, and administrative areas from a baseline of 200 to 85 kbtu/sf/year, the design includes a closed-loop geothermal field (74 bores each 300 deep) with a ground-source heat pump, a 140 ton heat recovery chiller, a 50-ton air-source heat recovery chiller, a heat pump domestic water heater, active chilled beams, radiant floor slabs, operable windows, and a high-performance envelope. To further reduce the EUI from 85 kbtu/sf/year to net zero, the design includes 60,000 sf of photovoltaic (PV) panels installed on the roof of the building and on canopies in the parking lot.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand design strategies to reduce energy to net zero;
  • Understand cost impacts of net zero energy approach;
  • See an overview of technologies implemented in net zero design for this case study project; and
  • See an overview of energy conservation measures considered, but not implemented due to operational or safety considerations.


Shane leads AEI's Science and Technology practice in the Pacific Northwest region, along serving as Project Manager and leading the plumbing and piping group in Seattle. He has designed sustainable and complex buildings throughout the world over his 20+ year career.

Lyle manages and leads the Building Performance Group in Affiliated Engineers' Seattle office, with project experience in the areas of building performance simulation, building systems engineering, and high-performance building design. He specializes in low energy strategies for labs and other complex building projects.


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