[Orange_County_Permaculture] Seattle’s Silver Bullitt: A New Office Building Goes Ultra-Green Time Magazine July 2 2012

Wesley Roe and Santa Barbara Permaculture Network lakinroe at silcom.com
Sun Jun 24 12:22:35 PDT 2012

Seattle’s Silver Bullitt: A New Office Building Goes Ultra-Green
For a six-story, 50,000 sq. ft. building to function completely off the 
grid, its tenants will need to get used to taking the stairs and using 
composting toilets

How can a six-story, 50,000-sq.-ft. office building in downtown Seattle 
function completely off the grid? The answer involves solar panels for 
energy, geothermal wells for heat, a giant rain cistern for water and 
composting toilets for keeping sewage out of everything else. The 
toilets were just installed at the Bullitt Center, which is set to be 
completed this fall. “You have to remember to flush before and after,” 
says Bullitt Foundation president and Earth Day founder Denis Hayes. 
“But that may be the single largest lifestyle change.”

Hayes’s Seattle-based sustainability-advocacy group is bankrolling the 
largest multistory project that is trying to meet the superstringent 
requirements of the Living Building Challenge (LBC). Created in 2006 by 
the Portland, Ore.,-based International Living Futures Institute, LBC 
calls for buildings to not only have net-zero energy and water systems, 
but to use half the energy required to get LEED platinum certification 
(which is administered by a fellow nonprofit). LBC won’t certify a 
building as “living” until it has proven it meets the group’s goals for 
a full year after people move in. So far LBC has certified only three 
buildings worldwide, all of them in the U.S. and all exponentially 
smaller than the Bullitt Center. Another 140 projects in eight countries 
are vying for the designation.

(MORE: How SolarCity Makes Energy Efficiency Easy)

What makes the Bullitt Center so impressive is its height — or, more 
accurately, its relatively small rooftop — and its location. While it’s 
pretty easy in cloudy Seattle to harvest rainwater and treat it via an 
onsite biofiltration system, getting enough sunlight to power the 
building required rethinking every aspect of the project, big and small. 
The builders had to get a variance from the city to let its rooftop 
solar panels hang out over the sidewalk. But the solar panels won’t do 
all the work. The building’s design and its tenants have important roles 
too. To help cut energy consumption to 23 percent the amount of a 
traditional building its size, natural light will account for 82 percent 
of all lighting, thanks to oversized windows and higher ceilings that 
help get light farther inside. And so will air, as the building’s 
electronic “brain” automatically opens and  shuts the windows based on 
temperature needs, eliminating the need for air-conditioning units.

Even with the building managing vital systems, users must make lifestyle 
changes, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, for instance, and 
choosing MacBook Air laptops — which pull less energy than a 100-watt 
bulb — over a desktop. As for those special toilets, their contents will 
get composted and decontaminated before being shipped off-site to be 
used as fertilizer.

The $30 million facility, at $265 per sq. ft., is expensive, but not 
outlandish. Mary Ann Lazarus, director of sustainability at HOK, one of 
the largest architecture firms in the world, is not involved with the 
Bullitt project, but says she hopes it will meet LBC standards and help 
prove that “what may have seemed like a wild and crazy idea can work at 
different scales.” Adds Hayes: “You’ll be surprised at how normal this is.”

Sources for the graphic: Bullitt Foundation; PAE Engineering; Miller Hull

(MORE: LEED From Behind: Why We Should Focus on Greening Existing Buildings)

Read more: 

-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: A Seattle office goes  ultra green Silver Bullitt Time Magazine July 2 2012.jpg
Type: image/jpeg
Size: 720694 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <http://www.permaculture-guilds.org/pipermail/orange-county-ca-permaculture/attachments/20120624/70c51056/attachment.jpg>

More information about the Orange-County-CA-Permaculture mailing list