A Living Building is a Learning Building
Thanks to an invite by the Seattle AIA and its COTE, I learned firsthand about the inspiring, work-in-progress Bullitt Center. The presentation and hard-hat tour was an amazing opportunity to learn about this six-story, commercial building located in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood – an area of Seattle known for its arts, culture, unique shops and dense urban living.
The building is named for its benefactor – the Bullitt Foundation – whose vision states, “A future that safeguards the vitality of natural ecosystems while accommodating a sustainable human population in healthy, vibrant, equitable, and prosperous communities.” It seems appropriate that the project was selected to participate in Seattle’s Living Building Pilot Program.
The Living Building Pilot Program assists projects attempting to meet the requirements of the Living Building Challenge. This Challenge is an innovative global green building rating system created by the International Living Building Institute to recognize buildings meeting the highest level of sustainability. The Living Building Challenge requires buildings to meet a series of prerequisites relating to site, energy, materials, water, indoor air quality, and beauty and inspiration.
It will take a full year after occupancy to meet the rigorous Living Building certification and ensure that the building is performing at, or in excess of, its net zero energy and water use goals. Here’s a partial list of the building’s leading-edge features:
• Water – Harvested rainwater will be use throughout the building, and treated using a dual filtration system, conservation methods include waterless urinals and composting toilets
• Solar – Over 400 PV panels will generate an estimated 242 KW of renewable energy and feed excess capacity back into the local grid
• Geothermal – Over 25 geothermal wells will heat and cool the building moving hot or cold water through the building, as needed
• Windows – State-of-the-art, German-designed and US manufactured, they provide both day lighting, ventilation and triple-paned insulation and are operated by a smart, real-time control system
• Materials and Finishes – Broke new ground in sourcing materials and avoiding Red List items; built a knowledge database to share with the industry. This proved to be one of the key challenges of the project.
• Human Scale – Designed to fit within the unique character of the surrounding area yet large enough to attract tenants, this mid-rise feels people scaled (vs. an imposing skyscraper)
• Green Community – Adding green space includes a transformed pocket park, McGilvra Place; installing a green roof with native plantings; a nearly perfect “walk score,” benefiting the local community.
Look for progress updates, as I plan on regularly checking in with the Design Team and reporting on this state-of-the-art Living and Learning building. – alex