Green building

Salishan 7

Location: Tacoma
General contractor: Walsh Construction Co.
Owner/developer: Tacoma Housing Authority
Architect: Torti Gallas and Partners
Engineer: Parametrix
Contract amount: $14 million

Photo by William Wright Photography
Walsh Construction Co. developed strategies to help the Tacoma Housing Authority earn a LEED for Homes platinum rating for its 91-unit Salishan 7 development.

Salishan 7 is the first federal public housing project to achieve a LEED for Homes platinum certification. The project involved the construction of 91 units for low-income families.

Months before breaking ground, the general contractor, Walsh Construction Co., conducted a rigorous review of the project in order to develop strategies to earn a LEED certification. The efforts encouraged the Tacoma Housing Authority to pursue a platinum rating.

The sustainability upgrades added 7 percent to the overall budget, but resulted in a 30 percent increase in energy efficiency, equivalent to removing 27 homes from the electrical grid.

Walsh carried out a comprehensive air-sealing strategy. Thermal imagery and blower-door technology were used to diagnose unforeseen air-sealing problems, enabling fixes to walls before they were closed up.

Walsh added other green features, including enhanced windows, above-code insulation and smart meters for each home. Nearly all the stormwater is routed through bioswales, and landscaping choices reduced water use by 60 percent.

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