DSHS receives $24K energy rebate from Puget Sound Energy for new construction

Puget Sound Energy’s Taylor Pitts presents a check to Tony Bowie, executive officer for the Maple Lane and Brockmann Campuses, right, and Norm Goodenough, program director at Oak Unit at Maple Lane, as part of the utility company’s energy conservation incentive program.

(ROCHESTER) — The Department of Social and Health Services recently received a rebate payment of $24,252 as part of Puget Sound Energy’s Commercial Industrial New Construction program.

The one-time conservation incentive payment was for the Oak Unit construction project on the Maple Lane Campus, which was completed in late 2022. Oak Unit accepted its first resident in March 2023.

The newly completed 16,000-square-foot facility securely and therapeutically houses 16 residents at a time who receive 24-hour care.

“If commercial buildings are built beyond the energy code requirements, PSE can offer them incentives,” said Taylor Pitts, PSE’s commercial new construction program manager for energy efficiency. “(DSHS) went above and beyond the code requirements to create a highly efficient building.”

In line with DSHS’ goal for building sustainable and environmentally friendly infrastructure, Oak Unit is part of a Net-zero-energy initiative and has received a gold rating in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating, said Tim Byrne, DSHS Capital Programs construction project manager.

It is optimized to generate more energy than it uses, adding no additional energy demand to Washington’s power grid and thereby reducing its carbon impact.

The facility achieved this high-level LEED rating through its natural native landscaping, more than 200 solar panels installed on the roof and in the form of covered parking, and on-site retention and treatment ponds to manage stormwater. The building also has a high efficiency heat recovery system, a high efficiency variable refrigerant flow (VRF) system and LED lighting.

An industrial size heat pump at Oak Unit at Maple Lane helps the building achieve significant energy savings.

“Some of the great features of the LED lights is that they can dim,” said Norm Goodenough, program director at Oak Unit. “During evenings and nights where there is very little traffic going through our hallways, the lights automatically dim, reducing the demand for power.”

All of the energy efficiency features result in about a 24-percent energy savings compared to a code compliant building of equal size, which is expected to save more than 69,000 kilowatt hours per year, Pitts said.

“This not only reduces DSHS’s energy bill, but also provides a healthy well-managed space for those inside and reduces the region’s overall carbon footprint,” she said.

DSHS is currently constructing three similar buildings on the Brockmann Campus in Clark County. That project is expected to be completed in spring 2025.