Seattle’s Ultra-Green Bullitt Center To Open Earth Day

When you’re billed as the “World’s Greenest Office Building” for more than a year before you’ve finished construction, you’d better make a big entrance. The Seattle-based environmental organization known as The Bullitt Foundation has taken up the challenge by announcing that the grand opening for its new Bullitt Center will take place on April 22, Earth Day.

As the construction of the 50,000-square-foot, six-story structure nears completion, some tenants are scheduled to move in later this month.  According to a recent report from Triple Pundit, about 40 percent of the building had been leased as of mid-January and the rest is expected to be filled by the grand opening.

Image via Bullitt Foundation

Image via Bullitt Foundation

Currently, suites ranging in size from 2,000 to 8,000 square feet are available, the article said. Other than the anchoring Bullitt Foundation headquarters, confirmed tenants include the University of Washington’s Integrated Design Lab and the Cascadia Green Building Council.

Interior view showing the timber ceilings and hydronic tubing for the embedded solar-powered radiant heating system prior to the concrete pour. Image via Bullitt Foundation.

Interior view showing the timber ceilings and hydronic tubing for the embedded solar-powered radiant heating system prior to the concrete pour. Image via Bullitt Foundation.

The new Bullitt Center is expected to be so advanced in its environmental features that it has left the U.S. Green Building Council’s 110-point LEED rating program in the dust for not being stringent enough. Instead, Bullitt is going for the shinier brass ring of the Living Building Challenge (version 2.0), sponsored by the International Living Building Institute.

To be certified as a Living Building, a structure is required to be self-sufficient for energy and water for at least 12 continuous months and meet rigorous standards for green materials and for the quality of its indoor environment. The challenge requires a project to meet 20 specific imperatives within seven performance areas: Site, Water, Energy, Health, Materials, Equity and Beauty.

A view of the Seattle skyline from the roof-mounted solar array. Image via Bullitt Foundation.

A view of the Seattle skyline from the roof-mounted solar array. Image via Bullitt Foundation.

One of the most impressive aspects of the Bullitt Center’s design will be its rainwater collection system on the roof, which will channel Seattle’s copious amounts of stormwater into an underground cistern for reuse throughout the building. “Grey water” from sinks in the building also will be filtered through a green roof. On the street outside, green planting strips and porous pavement materials will allow water to infiltrate into the soil below and reduce runoff into Puget Sound and nearby Lake Washington.

Other green aspects include solar arrays covering most of the roof, which will generate as much electricity as the building uses, as well as large windows that will open to provide natural ventilation and sunlight. The building has banned the use of any “red listed” hazardous materials, including PVC, cadmium, lead, mercury and hormone-mimicking substances in its building materials. A solar-powered hydronic radiant heating system will also be installed in the concrete floors.

Aerial view of the Bullitt Center's footprint . Image via Bullitt Foundation.

Aerial view of the Bullitt Center’s footprint . Image via Bullitt Foundation.

The green thinking will extend to the building’s tenants, as well, with wide, glassed-in stairways to promote to walking between floors and , operable windows and features to promote walking, and bike storage facilities and showers on each floor to encourage non-polluting commutes.

Randy Woods is a Seattle-based writer and editor with 20+ years of experience in the business publishing world. A former managing editor of Seattle Business, iSixSigma, Claims and Waste Age magazines, he has covered topics that include newspaper publishing, entrepreneurism, green businesses, insurance, environmental protection and garbage hauling (yes, really). He also contributes to the Career Center Blog for The Seattle Times and edits a photography magazine called PhotoMedia. When not working, he likes to hide out in Seattle movie theaters and attend film festivals—even on sunny days.

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