World's Greenest Building.
- World's Greenest Building.
World’s Greenest Building, Bullitt Center, Opens on Earth Day in Seattle.
Nestled between downtown Seattle and the Capitol Hill district, the
Bullitt Center will open on Earth Day, April 22. Builders of the
six-story, 50,000 square-foot building claim it will be the “greenest”
office building on the planet. Ground broke in August 2011, and since
then few green building details have been left unturned, from water
efficiency, renewable energy and choice of construction materials. If
anything close to a zero-impact office building exists, the Bullitt
Center is it.
Inside, tenants will benefit from abundant natural light, plenty of
fresh air and overall a healthier environment than can be found in
most commercial buildings. The builders bypassed the U.S. Green
Building Council’s LEED certification in favor of the strenuous Living
Building Challenge standards.
The Bullitt Center’s approach towards environmental sustainability
starts with the design of the site. Cisterns will store rainwater, and
“grey water” from sinks and showers will funnel through the building’s
green roof. Perched on Madison Street, the Bullitt Center will be
flanked by a planting strip that will make the approaching sidewalk
more pleasant for local workers and residents. Solar arrays will
provide as much electricity as the building requires. Medium-height
sidewalk plantings will also create a physical separation between
pedestrians and vehicle traffic. The building’s planners chose the
transitional Madison-Miller neighborhood for the opportunity to add
more commercial space to a mostly residential area; Madison Street’s
role as a link to several neighborhoods in Seattle also factored in
the building’s location.
In tune with the ideals behind the Living Building Challenge, the
Bullitt Center takes inspiration from nature and creates a work
environment that is practical, yet also healthy for its inhabitants.
Architectural details that are aesthetically pleasing yet practical
include higher ceilings (eliminating an additional floor possible
under local building codes) and a central glass-enclosed staircase
that encourages tenants to use the stairs instead of the elevator.
Exposed wood, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified, is a
reflection of the local Pacific Northwest natural environment.
Tenants include the University of Washington’s Integrated Design Lab,
the Cascadia Green Building Council and, of course, the Bullitt
Foundation. In a phone conversation with spokesperson Brad Kahn, he
explained that currently the building has leased out 40 percent of its
space and negotiations are underway with prospective tenants and the
Bullitt Center feels very optimistic about leasing the entire space.
Suites ranging from 2,000 to 8,000 square feet are available: larger
offices include a kitchen and a shower for those who will commute by
bicycle. Should a cleaner and healthier built environment indeed
evolve after the Bullitt Center’s opening, watch for architects and
developers around the world to take notice.
Read more about 3p’s coverage of green building and construction.
Leon Kaye, based in Fresno, California, is a sustainability consultant
and the editor of GreenGoPost.com. He also contributes to Guardian
Sustainable Business; his work has also appeared on Sustainable
Brands, Inhabitat and Earth911. You can follow Leon and ask him
questions on Twitter or Instagram (greengopost). He will explore
children’s health issues in India next month with the International