SEATTLE – The Bullitt building in Seattle has been nicknamed the most efficient office building in the world. Long ago, the Bullitt foundation saved the planet the old-fashioned way by supporting campaigns and projects dedicated to stop mining, cleaning toxic waste and saving the forest. Today, however, they have looked into their own business to help save the planet. They have turned their attention onto urban ecology as well as clean energy and clean technology.
The Bullitt building is itself a supporter of the environment. Electricity for the building is generated from a canopy of solar panels across the roof of the Bullitt Center. The roof is also made to collect and clean rainwater. The building is equipped with large floor to ceiling windows which can regulate the temperature of the entire office and provide some natural light. Even the toilets are a special type of energy efficient composting toilets.
Thanks to Seattle’s Deep Green Pilot Program, the building was made possible. This program allows builders to work around the standard codes to be able to build more sustainably. They were allowed to raise the ceilings three feet higher than the allowed to be able to let in natural sunlight and reduce the need to use electrical lighting and artificial heating. They were also allowed to add a solar canopy that extends to the edge of the property without the necessary “sky bridge” permit from the city. Their new and efficient plans for building have caused some regulations to change.
Not everything has worked out exactly as planned at the Bullitt Center. There are still spaces in the building that have not yet been rented out. Since, the building is not directly in downtown and it has quite a high price to pay for rent, it has not yet been fully occupied. The building was designed to meet the Living Building Challenge but is has failed so far to meet their goal. In order for the foundation to reach that goal, it must be fully occupied and generate its own electricity for an entire year.
As it turns out, the Bullitt foundation was successful in building an energy efficient building and bringing sustainability awareness to Seattle. They were able to change past regulations that hindered building sustainable buildings. Due to the Bullitt building’s energy efficiency, solar panels and rainwater capture system they are able to save energy that would otherwise be wasted. The building cost about $20 million to create but it will give back just about the same amount of money in public benefits during its lifetime.