Green and LEED Certified

A ferry terminal that's green, LEED-certified, and light on the earth

The site of the new Mukilteo ferry terminal used to house a U.S. Air Force fueling station, abandoned after the Cold War. Now it's a bustling ferry terminal connecting Whidbey Island to the Seattle-Everett metro areas.

It's a storied place. More than a thousand years ago, it is believed the Snohomish people had a year-round village near the land spit and adjoining salt marsh that is now Mukilteo. In 1855, it was the site of the signing of the Point Elliott Treaty between the U.S. Government and the Snohomish people, securing their fishing and hunting rights and establishing reservations in exchange for the land. These tribes exist today whose ancestors signed the Point Elliott Treaty: Lummi Nation, Muckleshoot, Nooksack, Samish, Sauk-Suiattle, Snoqualmie, Stillaguamish, Suquamish, Swinomish, Tulalip Tribes, and Upper Skagit. Their common language is Lushootseed (dxʷləšucid).

When Washington State Ferries set out to build this new terminal, we gathered input from several groups, one of which was the local tribes who fished these waters and thrived on these shores long before European settlers arrived. The City of Mukilteo and residents asked that the new terminal be green, Washington State required it be LEED-certified, local tribes asked for it to be “light on the earth.” These three requests melded perfectly in a passenger building designed in the form of a Coast Salish longhouse with these light-on-the earth features:  

Radiant floor heating warms the passenger building interior using less energy.
Rainwater harvesting funnels the water to storage tanks where it's reused in the restrooms. 

Mukilteo terminal design / Mukilteo green design thumbnail

Minimal overwater coverage allows marine plants to thrive in their native waters.

passenger building from water

Passive cooling via mechanical windows that open to let in cool marine air and large ceiling fans to circulate it.

passenger building mechanical windows

South-facing shed roof covered in solar panels generates energy to power operations with extra energy going to the power grid. 

passenger building solar panels

South-facing shed roof is covered in solar panels.

Mukilteo solar panel installation


Treating stormwater via pervious concrete in the holding lanes, modular wetlands, rain gardens, and more before it reaches Possession Sound.

modular wetland graphic

rain garden

Native plantings throughout the site require less water to grow and have medicinal and cultural benefits for the tribes. Plant ID signs include their Lushootseed names. 

Lushootseed plant ID tag

Multimodal terminal provides easy access between the ferry and a new transit center steps outside the terminal or an 800-foot walk to the Sounder train station. 

Multimodal ferry terminal