AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Projects

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Wayne L. Morse United States Courthouse

This photo, taken from the southwestern corner of the building, shows the security setbacks, filled here with grass, that separate the courthouse from automobile traffic.
Photo credit: Tim Griffith


  • Location: Eugene, OR
  • Building type(s): Public order & safety
  • New construction
  • 267,000 ft2 (24,800 m2)
  • Project scope: a single building
  • Urban setting
  • Completed November 2006
  • Rating: U.S. Green Building Council LEED-NC, v.2/v.2.1--Level: Gold (39 points)

The Wayne Lyman Morse United States Courthouse serves the District of Oregon as part of the Ninth Judicial Circuit. The courthouse has five stories above grade and one below grade; the first and second floors hold offices for the courts and their clerks, the U.S. attorney, probation and pretrial services, the U.S. Marshals Service, the U.S. General Services Administration, two U.S. senators, and one member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

The building's six courtrooms (two district courtrooms, two magistrate courtrooms, and two bankruptcy courtrooms), all on the third floor, range from 1,800 ft2 to 3,000 ft2. Above the courtroom level are six judges' chambers, one visiting judge's chamber, and two judicial library spaces.

This project was chosen as an AIA Committee on the Environment Top Ten Green Project for 2007. It was submitted by DLR Group, in Phoenix, Arizona. Additional project team members are listed on the "Process" screen.

Environmental Aspects

Because the courthouse works with high-risk law enforcement and intelligence agencies, courts, judicial offices, and highly sensitive government records, the facility has stringent and complex security requirements to protect against bombings as well as ballistic, biological, and chemical attacks. Despite these design challenges, the building provides an architectural expression of judicial presence at a healthy, human scale.

Set along the edge of central Eugene, Oregon, the courthouse serves as the nucleus of a small district of mixed-use warehouse renovations. The site is within a half-mile of basic services and three high-density residential neighborhoods. Rail and bus lines connect the courthouse to the greater community.

Parking is located underground, and the landscaping features native, drought-tolerant plants. Reduced irrigation combined with waterless urinals and low-flow toilets, faucets, and showerheads reduce the project's water use by more than 40%, compared with a comparable, conventional facility.

The project's energy use was also reduced by approximately 40% through the use of extensive daylighting, shading, high-performance glazing, efficient electric lighting, displacement ventilation, and radiant-floor heating and cooling. At night, air from the building is replaced with ambient air, reducing the cooling load. Materials were selected for their recycled content, regional availability, minimal maintenance needs, and low chemical emissions.

Owner & Occupancy

  • Owned and occupied by U.S. General Services Administration, Federal government
  • Typically occupied by 163 people, 40 hours per person per week; and 1,550 visitors per week, 2 hours per visitor per week


Integrated team, Design charrette, Transportation benefits, Indigenous vegetation, Drought-tolerant landscaping, Glazing, HVAC, Efficient lighting, Adaptable design, Durability, Recycled materials, Connection to outdoors, Daylighting, Low-emitting materials

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Last updated: 4/23/2007

Our thanks to the ENERGY STAR program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and to the U.S. Department of Energy, and to BuildingGreen, Inc. for hosting the submission and judging forms.

For more information about the AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Projects, contact AIA/COTE. For help on how to use this Web site, contact .

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