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Rosetta Stone: A Translational Tool for Research Informed Practice

The Rosetta Stone Translational Tool for Research-informed Practice is a joint collaboration between the University of Washington’s Integrated Design Lab (UW IDL) and design industry partners. The tool developed out of a collective desire to clearly communicate the synergies of high performance design, in a way that is backed by research and evidence. Learn more about the UW IDL and the Partnership in this short video.

Its aim is to create a high-level translational literature review tool to help disseminate knowledge and information for a range of targeted audiences at varying level of depths of information and to equip firms with consistent, fit-for-purpose messaging and guidance to discuss different Value Cases of High Performance Design.

AIA Design and Health Research Consortium

The Integrated Design Lab is part of a University of Washington interdisciplinary team recently selected to join the AIA Design and Health Research Consortium, an initiative seeking to further research and recognition of the strong influence of design on public health. Over a three-year period, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the Architects Foundation will provide institutional support for the new members of the AIA Design & Health Research Consortium, promoting local and national partnerships and knowledge-sharing.

The UW team is led by Andrew Dannenberg, affiliate professor in environmental and occupational health sciences and in Urban Design and Planning, and by Heather Burpee, research assistant professor in the department of architecture. The UW team focuses on health in the built environment, including using Seattle’s Bullitt Center, the greenest commercial building in the world, as a test laboratory and serving on the steering committee of the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict, a sustainability initiative in a densely populated Seattle neighborhood.

Targeting 100!

Targeting 100! provides design, delivery and ownership teams with tools to meet the 2030 Challenge in hospitals with very little additional up-front capital investment. It is a research project that provides a conceptual framework and decision-making structure at a schematic design level of precision for hospital owners, architects, and engineers to radically reduce energy use in hospitals. Following the goals of Architecture 2030 and The 2030 Challenge, it offers access to design strategies and the cost implications of those strategies for new hospitals to utilize 60% less energy. The name comes from the 2030 Challenge energy reduction goal for hospitals; a 60% energy use reduction from typical acute care hospital targets approximately 100 KBtu/SF Year, thus Targeting 100!

This energy target that signifies performance beyond the highest tier of hospitals in the U.S. in 2012 when this research was published and signifies the top 1% of energy performing hospitals today. The research involved development of integrated strategies through interdisciplinary decision-making, quantitative measurement and modeling of hospital energy use to show this exceptional energy performance is possible to achieve, developing cost models to validate the financial case and low premium for construction, extensive peer-review to validate research methods and garner support from key stakeholders, and dissemination to wide-ranging stakeholders through a web-tool.

Targeting 100! has become a widely recognized research project and roadmap nationally and has been foundational in helping to develop the conversation and implementation around energy efficiency in the healthcare sector.

Learn my by downloading the full report or explore the Targeting 100! webtool.

Daylighting Design in the Pacific Northwest

In addition to conserving energy, the use of daylight in architecture can be a powerful aesthetic tool. The effective employment of natural lighting is an important component of sustainable design, and some of the best work in this area comes from the Northwest. This practice-based book focuses on fourteen projects ranging from schools to community centers to office buildings to a garbage/recycling center.

Check out Daylighting Design in the Pacific Northwest on the publisher’s page.

NEEA BetterBricks Energy Efficient Technologies

The UW IDL developed three case studies of groundbreaking implementation of Luminaire Level Lighting Controls (LLLCs) for the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance. Projects included the Madrona Elementary School (Mahlum Architects), UW Founder’s Hall (LMN Architects), and Star Lake Elementary/Totem Middle School (McGranahan Architects). The case studies highlighted learning and synthesis of best practices for individually controlled light fixtures in three key areas: design, construction, and operations.

Building Retrofit Strategies for Low Income Multi-Family Buildings

The UW IDL has been working with the Seattle Housing Authority on developing retrofit strategies that reduce energy use and improve indoor air quality and thermal comfort for the housing provider’s existing building stock. The UW IDL is also developing a tool that leverages parametric energy modeling that allows the housing provider to assess energy savings and cost impacts of various retrofit strategies.


Seattle Building Tune-Up Accelerator

As part of a team that was awarded a $3.1 million, three-year grant from the US Department of Energy, Prof. Meek led implementation of a municipal-scale building-owner engagement and technical assistance process aimed at accelerating voluntary deep energy retrofits (20-
50% carbon emissions reductions) in the existing medium-sized (approximately 20,000-100,000ft²) commercial building stock in Seattle, WA, as part of a new mandatory building tune-up requirement. Leveraging a municipal ordinance mandating building tune-ups at five year intervals, the university-based research and deployment team seeks to develop a scalable pathway for creating custom technical and financial roadmaps for deep-energy retrofits that drive carbon-neutral operations.

Daylighting Pattern Guide

Daylighting Pattern Guide

The UW Integrated Design Lab partnered with the New Buildings Institute (NBI) and University of Idaho’s Integrated Design Lab to develop a free interactive tool available for applying proven daylighting strategies in a variety of building types.

The Daylighting Pattern Guide illustrates how to create successful daylighting designs and presents information in a visual manner that appeals to designers as well as those with limited background in lighting design. Detailed case studies are presented for a wide range of spatial scales and uses. Project types include offices, schools, libraries, laboratories, museums, industrial facilities, and recreational facilities and represent a diversity of regional climates. Designers and owners alike can easily see the changes in daylight distribution as alternative design variables are tested in order to quickly identify proven strategies during early design stages without needing to conduct complex simulations for each new design.

Each Pattern explores the interrelationships and role of sky condition, site, building aperture, interior volume and space planning in delivering visual comfort to building occupants while supporting energy efficiency goals. This interactive tool uses a combination of real-world built examples and Radiance computer simulation to set the stage for analysis and comparison of design alternatives.

We have identified approximately 20 examples of well designed daylit spaces around the country. Each building was photographed and measured. We developed a simulation of each space, and then ran a sensitivity analysis of key design variables to see whether the outcome was optimized, and to demonstrate the impact of alternate (good and not so good) design decisions on the daylighting performance. We also identify the key design variables that work together to contribute to the success of each space. These variables include orientation, glazing layout, area, shading strategies, furniture layout, ceiling height, etc.

Access and explore the full Daylighting Pattern Guide.

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

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.