Staying True to the Seattle Sounders’ Sustainability Initiatives

As we celebrate Earth Month this April, special attention is drawn to sustainable design in architecture and interior design. Beyond one month out of the year, making informed decisions on every project is crucial for minimizing environmental impact and preserving natural resources, promoting a healthier and more resilient built environment for present and future generations. 

In collaboration with Sounders FC, Generator Studio exceeded the sustainability goals of the recently opened Sounders FC Center at Longacres in Renton, Washington. The design, construction, and operation of the Sounders’ new facility needed to align with the club’s Protect our Planet initiatives, which commit to annual measurements and reduction of the club’s carbon footprint.

Before becoming the newly named Providence Swedish Performance Center & Clubhouse, the site was once the home of an office park for aerospace giant Boeing, serving as the company’s headquarters for the Commercial Airplanes division. With pristine natural beauty and a large pond nestled into the land, it served as the perfect snapshot of the Pacific Northwest. The Sounders set the path for sustainable design down to site selection by electing for a renovation versus a new build. The choice to renovate reduces carbon dioxide emissions associated with materials and construction processes, better known as embodied carbon.  

With much of the site sitting within the Green-Duwamish FEMA 100-year floodplain, the four practice fields now sit on an elevated pitch, preventing washout but eliminating roughly 584,000 cubic feet of flood storage in the process. Approximately 592,000 cubic feet of storage was then created underneath the fields to restore the lost storage. It was also important that the landscape be a mix of native ground cover, perennials, and woody shrub species. In selecting drought-tolerant native plant species, the need for water irrigation was minimized. 

To meet Salmon-Safe certification requirements, Generator worked with Salmon-Safe Large-Scale Construction Management Accredited contractors Venture General Contracting and Tunista Construction. The Salmon-Safe assessment and certification process, developed by independent scientists and technical experts, is oriented toward reducing impacts on water quality and fish habitat from urban land and water management practices. Special considerations to the onsite treatment and return of cleaner water to the adjacent watershed and the selection of cork as the compression infill for the two artificial practice fields – ensuring that toxins affecting salmon do not leak into the watershed – helped the facility meet Salmon-Safe requirements.

The business and soccer operations are now housed in one place for the first time in the club’s 50-year history. It was important to find solutions that worked for the entirety of the Sounders workforce. Motion-activated on and off LED lighting was installed in every room, as well as individual thermostat controls, high-efficiency heating and heat recovery infrastructure, and separate system metering to ensure efficient heating and cooling and measurement of the club’s footprint. The design of the reimagined space also maximizes natural light through windows on site. 

In the office areas located on the second floor of the building, the club purposefully opted to use pre-existing office furniture to reduce waste and conserve natural resources. Instead of installing wall-to-wall carpeting made from synthetic materials, the existing concrete floors have been adorned with accent rugs. 

The Providence Swedish Performance Center & Clubhouse serves as a testament to the Sounders’ continued stewardship of environmental sustainability. Generator Studio was proud to provide design solutions that provided a state-of-the-art facility and stayed true to the soccer club’s Protect our Planet initiatives.