The Bullitt Center

by Harrison Chotzen

In 2015, the Urban Land Institute wrote a comprehensive case study examining the notably sustainable features of the Bullitt Center, a recently completed office building and environmental demonstration project located just outside of downtown Seattle, Washington. The endeavor was initiated in 2007 by the Bullitt Foundation, a nonprofit philanthropic organization with a focus on conservation, as they set out to build a new workspace that was both pragmatic for housing their business headquarters and highly sustainable. The foundation was looking to set a new bar in ecofriendly architecture, with a bold goal to meet the rigorous requirements of the Living Building Challenge (LBC), which at the time was the most intense green building certification program in the world. The standards required net-zero energy (the building must not use more energy than it can produce), net-zero water (all water used on site must be collected from rainwater, and all wastewater and gray-water must be managed and treated on site), net-zero waste (plans to reduce or eliminate waste throughout the project’s life cycle, including construction), green construction (construction free of any materials or chemicals on the LBC Red List and only including wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and locally sourced materials), operable windows to provide fresh air and daylight for every tenant, and a high standard of indoor air quality. Continue reading