It gets 100% of its energy from solar panels and 100% of its water from rain harvesting. It’s the Bullitt Center office building in Seattle, and with its recent opening it is being considered the greenest office building in the world.
The 50,000 square foot building adopts principles from the Living Building Challenge, a model for sustainability that demands a building minimize its impact on the planet while imparting a sense of beauty on the environment in which it is built.
The building’s most prominent feature — its roof — spans far out from the building itself in order to house the many solar panels needed to harvest power in Seattle’s less-than-ideal climate. The roof performs double-duty, too, by capturing enough rainwater to send 56,000 gallons to a cistern in the basement. According to the building website, the Bullitt Center is the first one in the US to use only harvested water to meet all of its water needs. As the water gets captured, it runs through an advanced filtration system that first treats the water with chlorine (per federal regulations) but then filters the chlorine out.
Will the Bullitt Center design inspire a new generation of homes? We can certainly hope.
The building currently houses the Bullitt Foundation, an environmental foundation run by Earth Day founder Denis Hayes. Additional tenants are in the process of moving in.