Rebuilt Bow Lake Recycling and Transfer Station earns LEED Platinum

King County’s redeveloped Bow Lake Recycling and Transfer Station was designed and built with sustainability in mind, and the U.S. Green Building Council has now certified Bow Lake with the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification.

“Having a recycling and transfer station that is certified LEED platinum is an example of how our physical plants complement the work we do,” said Executive Dow Constantine. “We are more effective at protecting our environment when the facilities we operate are as sustainable as the services we provide.”

The new recycling and transfer station reopened to solid-waste collection in July 2012 after a multi-year rebuilding project on the site of an old landfill. Some of the sustainable design features that improve energy efficiency and help keep costs down include:

  • Translucent skylights and window panels that allow natural daylight into the building
  • Harvesting rainwater instead of purchasing water for use in washing down the transfer station floors; and
  • More than 90 percent of the wood used was sustainably harvested through the Forest Stewardship Council.

The recycling and transfer station also includes recycled content building materials such as steel, asphalt and concrete, while landscaping with drought-tolerant plants cuts irrigation costs.

Bow Lake’s environmental benefits don’t end at the recycling and transfer station’s property line.

New and highly efficient garbage compactors are used to ensure transfer trailer loads are optimized. The result is a 30 percent reduction in transfer trailer trips to the County’s Cedar Hills Regional Landfill, which means lower fuel costs, and an estimated annual reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of more than 172 metric tons.

The LEED Rating System is a voluntary, consensus-based national rating system for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings. LEED addresses all building types and emphasizes state-of-the-art strategies in six areas: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials and resources selection, indoor environmental quality, and innovation and design.

Garbage disposal services were not disrupted during facility redevelopment. Bow Lake takes in roughly one-third of all the tonnage received by the County’s solid waste transfer system.

The station reflects modern trends in transfer stations featuring a wide array of recycling opportunities, including appliances, bicycles, textiles and shoes, along with standard recyclables such as cardboard, mixed paper, glass bottles and jars, and plastic bottles, tubs and jugs. Customers can even drop off home-generated medical sharps for safe disposal at the facility, which is located at 18800 Orillia Rd. S.

Recycling hours are Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 8p.m., and 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

King County’s Shoreline Recycling and Transfer Station, which was reopened to the public in 2008, was the nation’s first LEED Platinum transfer station.