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Seattle's New Bullitt Center May Be the Greenest Office Building Ever

The new Bullitt Center, currently under construction in Seattle, combines virtually every possible green building technique.

The new Bullitt Center, currently under construction in Seattle, combines virtually every possible green building technique. The six-story building is entirely powered by solar panels, putting to rest any doubts that solar power only works in sunny climates. It's heated naturally through geothermal wells. And all of the water used in the building comes from something Seattle has no shortage of: rainwater.


It's the first office building in the United States to use only harvested rainwater. A cistern holding up to 56,000 gallons of rainwater will be able to supply water throughout a 100-day drought. Collecting rainwater was actually illegal in Seattle until two years ago, strangely, but the Bullitt Center hopes that eventually the opposite may be true; they're advocating that one day buildings should be required to use rainwater.

The building's also made from the most sustainable building materials on the market. The frame is made of FSC-certified wood, and the design completely avoids common hazardous materials like PVC, cadmium, lead, and mercury. When the planners couldn't find a sealant for the outside of the building that was free of phthalates, they actually worked with a company to make a brand new formulation.

The design also includes composting toilets, a green roof, and natural lighting. Basically, this building has it all. The owners are aiming to meet the requirements of the Living Building Challenge, an incredibly ambitious program that goes far beyond LEED. To reach that goal, the building has to not only use the best materials, but be self-sufficient for energy and water for at least 12 months.

The Bullitt Foundation hopes that the building will be an example throughout the region:

The goal of the Bullitt Center is to change the way buildings are designed, built and operated to improve long-term environmental performance and promote broader implementation of energy efficiency, renewable energy and other green building technologies in the Northwest.

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Images courtesy of the Bullitt Foundation (image 1 by John Stamets) and Miller Hull Partnership.

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