Rice Fergus Miller Office & Studio

Bremerton, WA


ENERGY USE INDEX: 19 kBtu/sf-yr (measured)

A major renovation of an abandoned 1948 Sears Automotive Center into a state of the art office building that is helping revitalize downtown Bremerton.

What We Did and How

The Rice Fergus Miller Office & Studio building building uses less than ¼ the energy of a typical office building. We achieved such low energy use by designing efficiency and simple intelligence into the building so that systems can be turned off for the majority of the year. We call it Design for Off™. The project also includes a 6,000 gallon cistern in the garage to collect rainwater for use in irrigation and toilet flushing. The rainwater harvesting system and low flow plumbing fixtures offset over 60,000 gallons of potable water use per year for the project. This represents over 70% less potable water use over a similar office building built to current code. All of this was achieved for a remarkably affordable construction cost of $105/SF of floor area with HVAC making up just $15/SF of that. The HVAC design relies on occupants to play an active role in the operation and tuning of the building using an innovative “Passive-Active” hybrid mechanical system. Taking advantage of the mild marine climate, the HVAC systems are designed to turn off when the outdoor temperatures are within the “passive mode” range (55°F-75°F, adjustable by occupants).

The Results

This major rehab meets the current energy efficiency target of the AIA’s 2030 Architectural Challenge with a 78% energy use reduction over the national average office building and is positioned for a phased installation of photovoltaic panels to achieve NetZero Energy status by 2030. After the first year of operations the Energy Use Index (EUI) is 19 kBtu/sf-yr , which includes the contribution of the 9.3kW solar PV array installed on the roof. The project has achieved a LEED 3.0 Platinum rating; earning more LEED points (91 out of 100) than all but a small handful of buildings in the world.


•    Winner 1st Place 2013 ASHRAE National Technology Awards, Existing Buildings

•    Winner 1st Place 2012 AIA What Makes it Green Award

•    First LEED 2009 v3 Platinum building in the Pacific Northwest

•    Featured in Summer 2013 Edition of ASHRAE High Performance Buildings Magazine