Living Building Status Stirs Seattle School

A Seattle private elementary school recently unveiled its new solar-powered science building, which is on track to become the first certified Living building in the state of Washington.

The Bertschi School’s new Living Building Science Wing was designed, pro bono, by The Restorative Design Collective, which is part of a regional team responding to the Living Building Challenge. The Challenge seeks to define the highest measure of sustainability possible in the built environment based on current thinking, while recognizing that “true sustainability” is not yet possible.

Living Building Science Wing

image via World Interior Design Network

The Living Building Science Wing will allow the school to expand upon current components of its science curriculum, including rainwater harvesting and solar energy. Students will also learn about passive ventilation, net-zero water and net-zero energy use, concepts at the cutting-edge of green building design.

The World Interior Design Network reports that the new building will feature an ethnobotanical garden; rainwater cisterns; a green roof (consisting of moss); composting toilets; natural ventilation; radiant heat; a “living wall” of tropical plants to treat grey water; and solar panels, which will produce 100% of the building’s energy. The Science Wing will also feature–remarkably–a composting sewage system necessitating regular visits from a ‘poop truck’ to remove the building’s waste on a regular basis. (Now that’s education in action.)

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.