Skip to content

UW IDL Directors Interviewed by Urban@UW

UW Integrated Design Lab directors Christopher Meek and Heather Burpee were recently interviewed by Urban@UW, a network of urban experts, scholars, and practitioners devoted to integrating our understanding of cities and fostering collaboration and innovation to launch Seattle into the future. Urban@UW seeks to bring together existing knowledge and support new research endeavors, as well as integrating research and application, much like at the Integrated Design Lab.

A major theme in Meek’s interview is the importance of high-performance buildings in optimizing both the health of the environment and the health of occupants. Because the built environment is now our human habitat, buildings are becoming even more important to our health and performance. As Meek said, “it’s almost impossible to overstate the power of buildings and the urban fabric to impact our lives.”

Burpee’s interview highlights the importance of collaboration in research, design, policy, and education for high-performance buildings that are energy efficient and promote health. In Burpee’s words, “It’s good to share people’s stories about what we’re working on, what works, what’s challenging and how we might be able to better help each other.”

These interviews highlight the value of the Integrated Design Lab’s interconnected research and technical assistance to improve building performance for the sake of energy efficiency and occupant health.


Read the full interviews here:

Urban Scholar Highlight: Heather Burpee

Urban Scholar Highlight: Chris Meek 


By Stephanie Bentley

How U.S. hospitals can realize net-zero energy

Hospitals can reduce energy use with the aim of achieving net-zero energy (NZE). Insights from hospitals that are on the path to NZE and other buildings that have realized this goal help identify barriers and help identify next steps for the healthcare sector to design-toward and achieve NZE.

This paper contextualizes hospital energy use in the U.S., discusses common design practice, and defines the scope and scale of NZE for commercial building projects. It highlights programs such as Targeting 100! and case study examples of forward-thinking hospitals that are leaders in deep energy savings and are on the path toward NZE. It also explores an example of a non-hospital building that has achieved NZE, providing insights into achieving this goal in practice.

Read the full publication here

Campus Illumination: A Roadmap To Sustainable Exterior Lighting at the University of Washington Seattle Campus (2017)

The Campus Illumination roadmap establishes a guiding vision for exterior lighting on the University of Washington Seattle Campus (UW). The roadmap approach envisions a dramatic decrease in outdoor lighting energy consumption on campus while supporting a comprehensive understanding of sustainability that encompasses the human experience, ecological impact, maintainability and energy efficiency.

The document works in tandem with existing landscape planning collateral to ensure that lighting is implemented with an overarching vision as the campus transitions to more efficient lighting technology. Lighting recommendations align with the Campus Landscape Framework to identify strategies for specific campus space typologies. In response to extensive fieldwork and feedback from the campus community, the roadmap articulates recommendations for how these spaces can transition and relate to each other in order to enhance the legibility and navigability of the nighttime campus.

This document can be used as a reference to inform retrofitting and replacement efforts of Campus Engineering to coordinate the lighting design of new campus development, and as an educational tool for the wider campus community.

Read the full publication

UW IDL Releases 2016-2017 Annual Report

The UW Integrated Design Lab released its 2016-2017 Annual Report, which highlights the lab’s recent research, technical assistance, and education work with the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA), design firms, utilities, research groups, and nonprofit and professional organizations across the Pacific Northwest building industry and beyond.

The Annual Report is part of the lab’s commitment to engage with key stakeholders, collaborators, and the broader public to share the impact of its work.

“Today, more than ever, our world needs research and data-driven decision-making,” state IDL heads Christopher Meek and Heather Burpee in a Letter from the Directors. “We appreciate our work with you during this unprecedented time to help shape a healthy, productive built environment for current and future generations.”

Read the full Annual Report to learn more about the UW IDL’s effort to promote sustainable design and meet the challenges and opportunities posed by a rapidly evolving, often complex energy efficiency and building performance space.

Bullitt Center Energy Analysis

The UW IDL has performed comprehensive operational energy performance data measurement, verification, and documentation of the Bullitt Center, a five-story net-zero energy “Living Building” in Seattle, WA. The building achieves performance goals through multiple integrated strategies incorporating technologies, systems, and human behavior. Data collection included evaluating end-use energy, renewables, passive systems operation, light and comprehensive plug-load management and tenant engagement. IDL led the implementation of device-level data acquisition for commercial office equipment in service of the Bullitt Foundation’s innovative green-lease program.

This research has resulted in several publications including a poster exhibit and research paper that examine energy use, including factors that are influenced by occupant decisions.


  • [posters shown above] Gustin, A. (UW Architecture), Torres, (UW M. Arch. Student) I., Davis, D. (UW M.S. Design Computing Student), Meek, C., Burpee, H. (UW Architecture), Gilbride, M. (UW Architecture), “Weather and Occupancy-driven Energy Consumption at the Bullitt Center,” M. Rosenfeld Symposium at the University of California Berkeley, Poster Presentation, Berkeley CA, April 2019.

Health Impacts of Green Buildings

The built environment impacts health in multiple dimensions, from large infrastructure to the microscopic molecules and organisms that are not seen or perceived in daily life. In light of the complex interaction between various health-related impacts of the built environment, this publication has taken a multi-disciplinary approach using the Bullitt Center as a pilot project to develop and implement methodologies for collecting data. These data include testing how the building impacts 1) physical activity and 2) indoor environmental quality, including the microbiome.  This paper outlines the relevant background information, active design and indoor environmental quality studies, and shares preliminary findings.

Read full report


LD+A: A Guide to Daylighting Success (2011)

This article provides an overview on a free web-based design resource for the implementation of proven daylighting design strategies in commercial buildings. The Daylighting Pattern Guide ( provides building designers, owners and students a platform to explore the relationships between sky, site, building aperture and space planning. This interactive resource uses a combination of real-world built examples, including of- fices, schools, libraries, laboratories, museums and industrial facilities, and advanced simulation to set the stage for substantial reductions in lighting power density and overall building energy use.

Read full text here