The Bullitt Center : A Whole Building Design Guide Case Study

Nov 01, 2014

This entry contains a link to a detailed case study published by the Whole Building Design Guide. It is a 2014 Beyond Green Award recipient.

Almost no buildings being built in the world now will make sense 30 or 40 years from now. We need a major leap forward and a quantum change in our environment. This building is a start—a wedge that will lead the way in transforming how we build our environments in the U.S. and around the world. Bullitt Foundation CEO Denis Hayes says: "The six-story, 52,000 SF Bullitt Center in Seattle, Washington, targeting Living Building certification—is one of the most energy efficient commercial buildings in the world—a high-performance prototype setting innovative standards for sustainable design and construction, demonstrating that it is possible to create a commercially-viable building with essentially no environmental footprint."

The headquarters for the environmentally-minded Bullitt Foundation led by Earth Day founder Denis Hayes and other tenants, has achieved extraordinary levels of energy efficiency through integrated architectural and engineering design, cutting edge technology and components, non-toxic building materials, and conscious choices by tenants. The Bullitt Center also collects rainwater for potable and non-potable use. These elements reduce the six-story buildings annual energy requirement enough that it operates on energy provided by a roof top solar array and manages its own water and waste needs onsite, on an extremely tight urban block in rainy, overcast Seattle. As a living laboratory for net zero high-performance architecture, the building also serves as a center for sustainability education and seeks to change the way society views the relationship of a building to its environment. Interpretive displays in the building lobby explain the building and an online dashboard provides a window to real-time energy usage and other building functions. So far, energy performance is exceeding expectations. The building is operating net positive for energy, and is currently projected to remain net positive even when full occupancy is achieved. The success of this project hinges on a holistic approach to design and development. Beyond architecture, engineering and construction - to people and policy, the Bullitt Center models a new paradigm for sustainable urban commercial development.

Whole Building Design Guide, a program of the National Institute of Building Sciences
Published & professionally reviewed by: 
Whole Building Design Guide technical committees

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