ShoWare Center
City of Kent
Kent, WA

Construction Cost: $63 Million

Size: 154,400 SF

First LEED Gold-certified, multi-purpose events arena in the United States

Awards: 2008 AIA Civic Design Awards, Citation Award

2009 Northwest Construction Consumer Council Distinguished Project Award, Sustainable Green Project of the Year

2010 ACEC Washington State Chapter Gold Award


The City of Kent’s ShoWare Center is the first LEED Gold Certified, multi-purpose events arena in the United States. Wood Harbinger provided the mechanical engineering design, and was an active participant in the LEED Certification process for this energy-efficient, sustainable, and cost-effective project. This facility can adapt to a wide range of events including hockey games, stage shows, trade shows/conventions, banquets, and even motocross races. ShoWare’s heating, cooling, and lighting systems are specifically designed to facilitate the needs of the various shows and exceed national standards for low energy, presenting a lifetime cost benefit for the City of Kent.

The event center houses many types of spaces, each with its own unique set of design requirements. Wood Harbinger focused on the multi-use nature of this facility and accommodated the wide range of events proposed in our final design. The ice rink is one of the most unique aspects of this project, and it required exceptional design precision. Ground-level heat pipes are first installed to protect the foundation from the cold temperatures that will be emitted from the ice. Sand is then poured to create a barrier between the warming pipe that insulates the foundation and the cooling pipe that will freeze the rink. Once the barrier is installed, the freezing pipe follows. It is crucial that all layers rest at a completely level plane for the ice rink to function properly.

As an entertainment facility, ShoWare required elements that are rarely conducive to energy efficiency such as high-tech lighting, ice-maintenance equipment, and complete air flushing for smoke or vehicle exhaust. But Wood Harbinger incorporated sustainability throughout the mechanical design process, applying sustainable features in the heating and cooling lighting systems such as high efficiency motors, economizer control cycles on all ventilation equipment, and a computerized DDC system that provides intermittent operation, monitoring, and programming. Even with the specialty event systems, the ShoWare center exceeds national standards for low energy use by 37%.

Project meetings were all-inclusive with the entire ShoWare project team in attendance. Budget decisions, including sustainable opportunities, were methodically evaluated by the design team and the Owner before gaining acceptance. Wood Harbinger’s coordination with the Owner, design team, and contractors supported this project in meeting strict schedule and budget goals, and the team’s commitment to ShoWare helped to enable this project’s timely completion. Facilities of this nature typically take about three years to complete; ShoWare took 27 months from start to finish.

The City of Kent recognizes Wood Harbinger’s mechanical design, stating that it “supported the City’s commitment to green building and fiscally responsible facility construction.”