On Bullitt Center’s first Earth Day birthday, greenest office building on Capitol Hill (and beyond) has more to prove

(Images: Suzi Pratt for CHS)

(Images: Suzi Pratt for CHS)

Powered by the sun -- complete with outdoor ping pong table

Powered by the sun — complete with outdoor ping pong table

It’s hard to believe that Capitol Hill’s Bullitt Center, considered the greenest commercial building in the world, has anything left to prove on sustainability. But a year after the building’s Earth Day opening, the Bullitt Foundation is setting its sights on perhaps the most rigorous green certification in the world.

The International Living Building Institute awards the Living Building certificate to structures that essentially operate as living organisms — one that is sufficient for water and energy and actively promotes the health of its occupants and surrounding environment.

“It just provides a framework for sustainability in the building and shows the world what we’re trying to achieve,” said Bullitt’s Brad Kahn.

The solar-powered, rainwater-capturing Bullitt Center has certainly pushed the boundaries on engineering environmental sustainability, but sustaining tenants is proving to be a bit trickier. The reason the $18.5 million building hasn’t received the Living Building designation yet is because occupancy during its first year has remained below 85% (an important target as the environmental impact of an unoccupied building would be fairly minimal). Continue reading

Capitol Hill’s Bullitt Center recognized as ‘the most sustainable building in the world’

(Image: Bullitt Center)

(Image: Bullitt Center)

One of the most important Capitol Hill stories of 2013 was the Earth Day opening of The Bullitt Center at 15th and Madison — the greenest commercial office building in the world. The Center’s designers — The Miller Hull Partnership — are celebrating an important recognition to finish the year.

Here’s an email from The Bullitt Foundation’s Denis Hayes about the $18.5 million center’s latest accolades:

In a December 18th email, I alerted many of you that World Architecture News had selected the Bullitt Center as one of six finalists — and the only finalist from the United States — in its annual contest for the most sustainable building in the world. To be included in that elite group was, by itself, a singular honor.

Tonight I am delighted to announce that the judging has been completed and the Bullitt Center has been selected as #1 in the world! Continue reading

Super sustainable Bullitt Center adds Hammer & Hand to tenant roster

Moving into the temporary space on the 4th floor (Images: Hammer & Hand)

Moving into the temporary space on the 4th floor (Images: Hammer & Hand)

A construction company with a progressive bent is the latest tenant to join 15th and Madison’s environmentally-focused Bullitt Center.

Hammer & Hand builds commercial and residential projects in the Pacific Northwest including restaurant buildouts –Portland’s Xico — and Seattle’s first Passive House construction.

In a blog post announcing the move, the company said it has already moved into temporary space in the building as its second-floor offices are finished:

Our space will be Suite 250, located on the second floor (which becomes the ground floor along Madison.)  Nancy Burfiend of NB Design Group is the interior designer and Steve Doub of the Miller Hull Partnership is the architect for our TI (tenant improvement) of the space.  As work progresses over the next couple of months we’ll use temporary desk space on the fourth floor.

bullitt-center-move-02The $18.5 million Bullitt Center debuted in spring 2013 and is built to the principals of the Living Building Challenge — “net zero energy, net zero water, 100% waste water treatment onsite (read, composting toilets), nontoxic materials, and a host of other deep green goals.”

The project has been the center of City of Seattle projects to increase efficiency in developments. Meanwhile, a Capitol Hill Ecodistrict effort has also developed to help push more sustainable practices into the neighborhood’s next waves of construction, overhauls and upgrades.

bullitt-center-move-05Hammer & Hand joins a tenant roster including the Bullitt Foundation and green community group Sustainable Seattle. We detailed a few more of the preliminary tenants here.

“The Bullitt Center is a beacon for the industry and an inspiring example of how high design and high performance can be fused in building,” said Hammer & Hand CEO Daniel Thomas in a statement. “We’re excited to base our Seattle operations there and to become part of its community of like-minded organizations.”

As you celebrate Hill’s newest pioneering effort in sustainability, have ice cream with one of its oldest

(Image: Environmental Works)

(Image: Environmental Works)

Monday will be a big day around Capitol Hill to celebrate sustainability with parties for the new kid on the block — and an elder statesman of the green movement.

We’ve told you *lots* about the Earth Day 2013 celebration to officially open 15th and Madison’s Bullitt Center.

On the other end of 15th Ave, you can also celebrate one of Capitol Hill’s longest living institutions of environmental responsibility as Environmental Works celebrates its 43rd birthday with a parklet party:

The Bullitt Center, billed as the greenest commercial building in the world, celebrates its grand opening Monday.

The Bullitt Center, billed as the greenest commercial building in the world, celebrates its grand opening Monday.

environmental WORKS Earth Day Birthday
Monday April 22, 2013, 10 am-5:30pm 402 15th Avenue East, Seattle

PLEASE JOIN environmental WORKS staff, board members, supporters, and friends in celebrating the 43rd anniversary of the founding of environmental WORKS Community Design Center – on the first Earth Day in 1970.

Help celebrate our birthday at our second annual parklet at the firehouse doors – made possible with help from our friends at John Barker Landscape Architects, Swansons Nursery, QFC, and Green Plate Special. Parfait Ice Cream & BUNS Gourmet Natural Burger trucks will be joining us; come buy a treat and enjoy it in our outdoor living room!

You can learn more about the community design center in this CHS post documenting the group on its 40th anniversary a few years back. Check out eworks.org for the latest goings-on. For more Earth Day activities, check out the CHS Calendar.

Celebrate Earth Day at the greenest office building in your neighborhood… and the world

This is how the corner of 15th and Madison looked three Earth Days ago. That roof looks pretty green.8656027714_cdb2af84e3_b

While CC’s won’t be part of the celebration *this* Earth Day (the bar was reportedly offered a space but at one point but opted instead for an E Olive Way move) it should still be a pretty good party at the Bullitt Center

“The greenest commercial building in the world…”

that used to be a gay bar.

Over the weekend, one of the finishing touches before next Monday’s celebration of the project was completed as students planted the landscaping inside the overhauled McGilvra Place Park that fronts the Bullitt building. A Seattle U study once called the urban greenspace “the loneliest” place on Capitol Hill but CHS liked it fine for sitting for a summer lunch as Madison rushed by. The new Pacific Northwest-lush plantings will make it even nicer.

IMG_1833 Continue reading

CHS Pics | Capitol Hill ecodistrict pedals to a start — And where it’s going next

IMG_0539Joel Sisolak’s reign as czar of the Capitol Hill ecodistrict began Thursday with a forced bike ride. In the rain. Soon, green jackboot thugs will come for your unsustainable niece.

We kid. Thursday’s bike tour of the sites and opportunities for creating a district measuring and incentivizing green development and infrastructure improvements around Capitol Hill was 100% voluntary. And Sisolak doesn’t see his role in the greenest job on Capitol Hill in terms of forcing behaviors or being the sustainability police.

Right now, the job is about metrics.

“We’re trying to find out what is measurable,” Sisolak said in a conversation with CHS about the role he’s filled for a month with Capitol Hill Housing, the organization selected to shepherd sorting out exactly how the framework for creating the ecodistrict will work. Continue reading