Bullitt Center Raises The Green Bar

According to Denis Hayes, president and CEO of Seattle‘s Bullitt Foundation, if we had three or four centuries to address the environmental crisis, the general movement towards LEED-certified green building would be enough. But we don’t – so we need higher standards. Much higher standards.

The Bullitt Center, which celebrated its official groundbreaking in Seattle’s Capitol Hill last month, was formerly the Cascadia Center for Sustainable Design and Construction – the organization that developed the gold standard in green building, the Living Building Challenge. The Bullitt Center was designed to show that a metropolitan office building could achieve this rigorous certification and succeed financially, too.

Bullitt Center, Seattle

image via Bullitt Foundation

The Seattle Times reports that while the Bullitt Center will cost a third more than a conventional building to construct, Hayes expects it to make money over the long term, as four of the building’s six floors have already been rented, illustrating the willingness of tenants to pay “Class A” rents for a spot in this super-green building.

As per the terms of the Living Building Challenge, the Bullitt Center will produce as much energy as it consumes, provide all of its own water and process all of its own sewage. Wood for the timber-framed building will be sourced only from forests certified as sustainably managed and all steel, concrete, wood and other heavy materials all will come from within 300 miles. No PVC plastics will be used, which will help to avoid around 360 hazardous substances. Parking will be provided for bikes, but not for cars.

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.