Seattle's Bullitt Center named world's greenest building
The Bullitt Center, on Seattle's Capitol Hill, has come out on top in the annual World Architecture News competition for the most globe's sustainable building.
The headquarters of an environmental foundation, with leasing space for other tenants -- and a garage for bicycles, but not for cars -- the Bullitt Center was victorious over five other finalists. It was the only finalist chosen from the United States.
"This building really sets the debate about how to design buildings to be truly sustainable and make the lowest possible impact," Ann Marie Aquilar of Arup Associates, one of World Architectural News' judges, said of the Bullitt Center. (Read more about the award on World Architecture News' Facebook site.)
The building was a brainchild of Bullitt Foundation president Denis Hayes, a co-founder of the first Earth Day. Hayes once helped put up solar panels at the White House. The project was supported by Harriet Bullitt, the philanthropist who helped endow the foundation. Under Mayor Mike McGinn, the city worked to make its bold plans happen. And, in announcing the award, Hayes paid tribute to the Seattle-based Miller Hull architecture firm.
"The overall feeling was that this project has looked at sustainable building in the context of its environment in the city of Seattle, taking into consideration the local climate and the materials of the area," said the judges.
In particular, the competition found that the Bullitt Center:
- Is the first building, aimed at the leasing market, that meets targets set internationally by the living building challenge and the zero net energy standard.
- Adheres to the omission of all toxic chemicals on the so-called "red list" compiled by such agencies as the EPA and the European Union. The list includes asbestos, lead, cadmium, chlorofluorocarbons, and chlorinated polyethylene.
- Ensures that 100 percent of the project's energy needs are supplied on site, using renewable energy, on a net annual basis. The Bullitt Center feeds more kilowatts into the Seattle City Light grid than it uses. Sensors in the building monitor light levels, CO2, indoor-outdoor temperatures, the wind and the sun.
"There was obviously a deep commitment and collaboration from client, public agencies, and (a) full multidisciplinary design team to making important new discoveries for sustainable design," said Mark Reddington of LMN Architects, one of the contest judges.
The Bullitt Center was not intended to stand alone.
"Once somebody proves something is possible, it becomes thinkable," Hayes said as the building was dedicated last spring. He voiced hope that the Bullitt Center would "help transform the way we build, here and around the world."