Over the weekend, one of the finishing touches before next Monday’s Earth Day celebration of the Bullitt Center was completed as students planted the landscaping inside the overhauled McGilvra Place Park that fronts the building.
Monday’s Earth Day ceremony brings to an end an 18-month construction schedule and years of planning and politicking to make the building a reality. While the super green architecture, innovations and adherence to Living Building standards have inspired the sustainability and design world, the Bullitt’s local story includes city planning challenges, zoning restrictions and neighbors who put up a fight here and there to force compromises. The giant, photovoltaic-topped building you see standing today is a compromise on the vision. And it’s still very impressive.
“A building not just green, but practically self-sustaining,” the New York Times gushed earlier this month.
Here’s what is inside — and not inside — the Bullitt:
Large solar array on the roof (in Seattle!) that generates as much electricity as the building uses in a year.
Rainwater catchment system that will supply all building needs, including drinking (pending regulatory approval).
More than 350 common toxic chemicals screened out of the building, including PVC, lead, mercury, phthalates, BPA and formaldehyde.
World’s only 6-story composting toilet system.
First commercial building to earn Forest Stewardship Council Project Certification in the US for use of 100% FSC-certified wood.
First heavy-timber commercial building in Seattle since 1920s.
CHS gave you a first look at the new building here:
The building with a roster of solar panels for energy, heat-providing geothermal wells, a giant rain cistern providing water and composting toilets has been designed to adhere to the principals of the Living Building Challenge requiring the project to meet 20 green “imperatives” and address seven “performance areas” — site, water, energy, health, materials, equity and beauty.
On this last area, the Bullitt Center has been built as a showcase. Passersby will see the ground floor activity of the University of Washington Integrated Design Lab and presentation space. A screen at the building’s west entrance will display analytics measuring the building’s energy performance. Features throughout the building will be marked with codes for self-guided tours and the bowels of the system — massive pipes and walls of meters and cables — stand behind glass walls designed for what will likely be a steady stream of visitors.
Expected at Monday’s grand opening are Governor Jay Inslee, King County Exec Dow Constantine and Mayor Mike McGinn. They’ll join Denis Hayes, Bullitt CEO and organizer of the first Earth Day in 1970, and developer Point32’s Chris Rogers in cutting the red (green?) ribbon and officially opening the building as neighbors, Hill residents, the building’s tenants and fans of sustainable design look on. UPDATE: No Constantine, we’re told.
- March 2010 — Ultra-efficient building planned for 15th & Madison
- March 2010 — Cascadia Center for Sustainable Design and Construction: Can solar really work in Seattle?
- March 2010 — Madison Living Building design meeting notes: A “solar rights issue”
- December 2010 — Goodbye, CC’s Madison, hello Cascadia Center: Demolition begins
- February 2011 — Appeal clouds Cascadia Center’s ambitious solar-powered future on Madison
- April 2011 — Madison’s Cascadia Center living building can move forward, Hearing Examiner rules
- April 2011 — Foundation to show off plans for Capitol Hill’s super sustainable Cascadia Center
- July 2011 — Construction of super energy-efficient building begins on Capitol Hill
- August 2011 — The greenest building in the world at Madison and 15th? Bullitt Center breaks ground
- August 2011 — CHS Pics | Ceremony marks start of Bullitt Center construction, ‘bending old rules’
- November 2011 — City plans overhaul of Capitol Hill park as part of super green Bullitt Center project
- April 2012 — Plan moves forward for Bullitt Center’s giant solar panel array
- May 2012 — Why was the Bulgarian president on Capitol Hill Wednesday? Hint: ‘greenest’ building in the world
- October 2012 — World’s greenest building plants on Hill
- October 2012 — With a few more months to go, take a look at Capitol Hill’s ultra-green Bullitt Center
- January 2013 — CHS Video | Bullitt Center documentary
- January 2013 — You, too, can have a desk inside Capitol Hill’s super green Bullitt Center
- March 2013 — Floor by floor look at tenants as construction of super-green Bullitt Center wraps up
- March 2013 — First look at the Bullitt Center — and when you’ll get your first chance to go inside ‘the greenest office building in the world’