Green Washington 2011: Building/Architecture


Winner: Unico Properties
Owner/manager of more than 7 million square feet of office and multifamily properties.

GREEN ACTIONS Unico has been aggressive about cutting energy consumption at the office buildings it manages. It is also one of the first commercial real estate companies in the nation to join the Department of Energy’s “National EV Project” with the intent of bringing a network of electric vehicle charging stations to the Pacific Northwest. It is a cofounder of the Seattle 2030 District, a public-private partnership committed to making downtown Seattle the first high-performance, carbon-neutral building district in America.

RESULTS In 22 office buildings in its Washington portfolio, Unico reduced annual energy consumption by nearly 12 million kilowatt hours and emissions by more than 8,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide (equivalent to burning more than 900,000 gallons of gasoline). In May, the first Blink Level II electric car charging stations in the state were installed in the parking garage of Unico’s Rainier Square property in downtown Seattle.

Runner Up: Sellen Construction
One of the largest locally owned general contractors in the Puget Sound region.

GREEN ACTIONS Sellen sets a companywide goal of diverting a minimum of 75 percent of construction waste from the landfill on every project. The company launched Sellen Sustainability in May 2010, a division that provides sustainability training and consulting services to help reduce the construction industry’s environmental impact.

RESULTS More than 90 percent of Sellen’s building projects have pursued sustainability certification, and 95.3 percent of construction waste was diverted from the landfill. In the past year, Sellen hosted 124 participants in LEED workshops.

2016 Community Impact Awards: Green Products & Services

2016 Community Impact Awards: Green Products & Services

Winner: Optimum Energy, Itek Energy, Rice Fergus Miller

Gold Award:
Optimum Energy
Location: Seattle  |  Employees: 60  |  Top Exec: Bert Valdman, president/CEO   |

“Being green” is not a trend at Optimum Energy. The company, which enables campuses, health care facilities, pharmaceutical plants, data centers and other commercial buildings to cut energy costs by up to 50 percent, believes society must reverse the pace of climate change. The firm’s cloud-based platform and its associated technology optimize heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, the largest consumer of energy in most buildings. This technology has enabled customers to save about 500 million kilowatt hours of electricity, reduce carbon emissions by nearly 290,000 metric tons and save more than 100 million gallons of water. “We have to reverse the pace of climate change, and we can’t do that unless we’re able to do more with fewer economic and physical resources, without comprising the environment,” says CEO Bert Valdman. “Accepting the status quo is not an option. We must develop the tools and technology to become more sustainable. And we must do so on a straight-up economic basis, without subsidies.”

Silver Award: 
Itek Energy
Location: Bellingham  |  Employees: 88  |  Top Exec: John Flanagan, founder/CEO  |

Itek Energy manufactures high-powered solar modules in Bellingham. The company also works with nonprofits to power low-income housing, the Bellingham Food Bank, homeless shelters and community buildings. In the past four years, Itek Energy has locally built and sold in Washington more than 160,000 solar modules, which will produce more than 50 gigawatt hours of renewable energy every year. 

Silver Award:
Rice Fergus Miller
Location: Bremerton  |  Employees: 44  |  Top Exec: Steve Rice, principal  |

Architectural, interior design, planning and visualization services to several markets, including senior living, fire and emergency services, health care, hospitality and community. For almost three decades, the firm has focused on projects that build and strengthen community. The company is housed in a reclaimed auto service center that is one of the most energy-efficient buildings in the United States.