University of Washington
UW West Campus Utility Plant / University of Washington - SeattleWA
What does an award-winning, progressive design-build project look like?

The first Progressive Design-Build project for the University of Washington (UW), the West Campus Utility Plant (WCUP), supports growth in the west and south campus neighborhoods for chilled water and electricity support during utility power outages. In addition to its function of providing utilities to the campus, the building also serves as an iconic gateway to this part of the campus, clad in glowing polycarbonate screen walls. While most industrial-scale infrastructure is hidden from view and inaccessible to the public, this facility provides the public windows into the process and exposes critical systems to street-level view. Additionally, six (6) LCD screens at the pedestrian level progress through a 10-minute content cycle designed by UW students that raises awareness of sustainable programs on campus (farming, beekeeping, renewable energy usage, fisheries, etc.) and information on how to get involved.

The design contributes to the campus' sustainability goals and carbon reduction targets and is designed for maximum reliability and serviceability. Inside, the facility contains generators, chillers, cooling towers, associated pumps, and electrical switchgear. The plant provides 4,500 tons of chiller capacity and 6 megawatts of emergency electrical power. It is expandable to 10,500 tons of chiller capacity and 12 megawatts of emergency power without modification to the building. Twenty-four hours of underground diesel fuel storage and 1,800 lineal feet of 22" chilled water pipe in existing utility tunnels is also included in the project. The building was constructed above several existing utility tunnels, allowing direct access to the tunnel to distribute cabling and PCW piping.

The WCUP achieved the Envision Gold certification from the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure, representing the first Envision Certified project at the University of Washington and the first Higher-Ed Envision Certified project in the United States. More information about the building's sustainable features can be found here.

Facts And Figures

University of Washington


15,000 square feet

Delivery Methods

Progressive Design-Build

The Team


American Public Works Association Washington State Chapter, Project of the Year - Structures between $25M - $75M

Design Build Institute of America - National Award - Merit