The Miller Hull Partnership as Architects

“One building off by itself has zero impact on the world’s climate, but a building that is influential and begins to change the way that architects, engineers, contractors, developers and financial institutions shape the built environment, that’s a building that was worth building.” - Denis Hayes, CEO, Bullitt Foundation

Buildings account for an estimated 39% of carbon dioxide emissions, 65% of waste and 70% of electrical use in the United States. In the Pacific Northwest, a changing climate is already shifting our use of water, energy and other natural resources. To address this reality, the Bullitt Center in Seattle, WA is demonstrating what is possible today and inspiring tomorrow’s leaders to go even farther.

As the first urban structure of its kind, the Bullitt Center is inherently about learning and discovery. From building design and the interactive resource center to the new community green-space, the Bullitt Center is a place for people to gather and learn about green building and urban sustainability. And it serves as a highly visible example of what’s possible when a team of people come together to advance uncommon wisdom. Features shaping the Bullitt Center include the following:

Living Building: The 6-story, 50,000 sq. ft. building is the nation’s first urban mid-rise commercial project to attempt the rigorous goals of the Living Building Challenge, the most ambitious benchmark of sustainability in the built environment. • Teaching Building: The lower floor of the building, fronting 15th Avenue and the new park at McGilvra Place, houses the Center for Integrated Design. Programmed by the University of Washington’s Integrated Design Lab, the Center features an open classroom, exhibition space and a research laboratory dedicated to the training of pioneers who will lead our green economy. • Innovative green technology: Net-zero energy use with 100% onsite renewable energy generation from the latest photovoltaic (PV) technology, water needs provided by harvested rainwater, onsite waste management, a safe, naturally day-lit and ventilated work environment for all workers, and built to last 250 years.


To achieve “net zero energy,” the Bullitt Center will generate as much electricity as the building requires in a year from its rooftop solar power system. During sunny summer months, the photovoltaic (PV) array will produce more electricity than building occupants use; in the gray winter months, it will produce less. To maximize the solar roof’s output in Seattle, Bullitt chose SunPower panels because they are the highest efficiency commercially available solar panels in the world, delivering up to 50 percent more energy than conventional panels, even on cloudy days. About 20 percent of the sunlight that strikes the surface of each module is converted directly into electricity. These solar panels have no moving parts to break or wear out and are guaranteed for 25 years. 570 photovoltaic panels cover the Bullitt Center roof, each with a rated capacity of 425 watts, meaning the total array will generate 242,000 watts (242 kilowatts) of power at noon on a sunny day. From analysis of the actual sunlight expected to hit the panels (including dim sunlight on cloudy days), we estimate the solar roof will generate approximately 230,000 kilowatt-hours (KWH) of energy in an average year.

In order to maximize solar exposure, the roof of the Bullitt Center looks like the flat mortar boards worn at graduation ceremonies. A steel and aluminum racking system allows the panels to extend beyond the walls of the building and was designed with flexibility in mind. As part of the Living Building Challenge, the Bullitt Center will meter its energy production and consumption on a continuous basis and show the results in its lobby and on the Internet. To be certified as a Living Building, the Bullitt Center must produce as much energy as it uses over a period of 365 consecutive days. Tenants are allocated an energy budget based on the percent of the building they occupy. Tenants that remain within their budget pay nothing for electricity. Solar energy produces no greenhouse gases, no bomb grade materials, and no radioactive waste. It involves no mountain-top removal or fracking. Solar energy does not acidify the world’s oceans or produce urban smog. Instead of posing additional hazards during natural disasters, solar energy offers resilience. A huge solar spill is called “a nice day.”

Each PV panel generates approximately 1100-Watt hours of energy a day. This is enough to: • Power 7 lights for 8 hours a day (20 W fluorescents, equivalent to a 100 W incandescent lamp). • Charge 115 iPhones (iPhone 5, full charge from zero to 100%) • Brew 16 cups of coffee (12 oz. drip)


Seattle receives less yearly precipitation than Atlanta, Boston, Houston or New York. And even in arid cities, rain typically falls in short, intense bursts that can carry pollutants down storm drains into local rivers, lakes and bays. Like all cities, Seattle is full of hard, impermeable surfaces, so it's difficult for rainwater to find its way back into the ground, streams and rivers without picking up oils and pollutants along the way. In Seattle, large rain events quickly overwhelm our combined storm and waste water system, resulting in the discharge of untreated sewage into the Puget Sound. If every building could capture, store and make productive use of the rain that falls on it, and return what’s been used to the hydrosphere in an undiminished state, we’d rely less on remote water sources, our demand for expensive waste treatment systems would be lowered, and the health of our waterways would be improved. Clean rainwater falling on the Bullitt Center’s roof through gaps between the PV array is carried by downspouts to a 56,000-gallon cistern, an 8-foot tall, 950 square-foot room in the basement. The system supplies all non-potable fixtures in the building including toilets, hose spigots, and irrigation systems.

In addition, the system has been designed and constructed to meet all potable water needs for the building once it is fully permitted. Rainwater will pass through a series of filters to remove impurities, an ultra-filter that is so fine that it takes out viruses, and an ultraviolet disinfection system. Until approved, the system will be continually tested and monitored, and potable water will come from the city's water supply system. Water for toilet flushing is nearly eliminated in this building by composting human “waste” on-site using 10 large composting units in the building’s basement. Foam flush toilets using less than a cup of rainwater and natural soap convey solids and liquids through piping to the basement. Wood chips are added to the composting units as an additional carbon source, and to help manage moisture levels. The compost is rotated about once a week and air is circulated through the composters to help accelerate the composting process. Temperatures maintained in the range of 135°F to 165°F ensure all pathogens and contaminants are sterilized or killed. Each of the composters will produce approximately 90 gallons of compost each year. This valuable resource, along with nutrient-rich leachate drained from the composters, will be taken to a nearby composting facility to be incorporated with other composted material and used as a soil amendment.


As required by the Living Building Challenge, the Bullitt Center worked to weed out more than 350 common toxic chemicals from materials used in the building. Following are examples.

Lead-Free Ball Valve Heavy metals such as lead, mercury, and cadmium are often used as stabilizers in other materials, most notably wiring and other PVC products, and can be found in roofing, solder, radiation shielding, and in dyes for paints and textiles. Heavy metals are not synthetic chemicals, they are extracted directly from ores in the earth. Their use in building products, however, leads to the release of these toxins into the environment during manufacture, production, use and disposal and can have serious effects on human and ecosystem health. Because heavy metals bio-accumulate and often can enter the water system, human exposure is of concern. Brass and bronze valve commonly used in household plumbing systems can contain up to 7% lead in its composition. The lead is added to the product to improve is machinability during the manufacturing process. Recently, the states of California and Vermont have enacted a rigorous ‘lead-free’ policy that limits the wetted lead content of all potable valves and fixtures to .25%. The Bullitt Center followed this lead by using lead-free valves and fixtures throughout the building, including non-potable systems such as on the geothermal heat exchanger and in the fire-suppression systems.

Phthalate-Free Air Barrier Phthalates are common plasticizers that are used in a variety of building products, including PVC and building membranes. Phthalates are linked to human endocrine disruption and hormone imbalance, in higher concentrations, they are known to have adverse effects to human development and reproductive systems. As a result, most common forms of phthalates have been banned or severely restricted in European material markets. Phthalates are a form of semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs) and are released much more slowly than VOCs. As a plastic begins to degrade, phthalates are slowly emitted into the air where they can be absorbed by the human body. Throughout the material selection process, the Bullitt Center team worked with manufacturers to identify the contents of their products. In one case, a manufacturer of a high-performance water barrier indicated that their product contained phthalates. When told that this would not be acceptable in the Center, they rose to the challenge. After 6 months of research and development they were able to successfully eliminate all phthalates from their entire line of products. The Bullitt Center debuted this new formulation, and now, the original formulation has been completely replaced by the new one for all products moving forward.

Mission No-Hub EPDM Couplings According to the Living Building Challenge User’s Guide, dioxins are an unavoidable by-product of the manufacture, combustion, and disposal of materials containing chlorine - most notably polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and other chlorinated plastics on the Red List – and of cement kilns fired by hazardous waste. Dioxins are the most potent human carcinogens; they cause developmental damage, are associated with endometriosis, and can alter the reproductive, immune, and endocrine systems at infinitesimally low doses. Three quarters of all PVC use is in building materials such as flooring, pipes, wall coverings, roofing membranes, furniture, carpet backings, and curtains. As customer demand for PVC-free products is increasing, manufacturers are responding by investing in research, development and product innovation as evidenced by a steady stream of chlorine-free alternatives hitting the marketplace.

Mission No-Hub EPDM Couplings are used to band together sections of ductile iron ‘no-hub’ pipe. This product is ubiquitously used for rain leaders and water conveyance systems, where sound transfer is an issue. The bands are typically made from Neoprene, a material on the red list. PSF mechanical worked with their supplier to get custom ordered EPDM couplings instead. Throughout the building, EPDM became the substitute for neoprene, even on the gasket to the cistern manhole cover.

PVC-Free Electrical Wire Most electrical wire in a building is coated with PVC insulation and / or a PVC jacket. Electri-City worked with their supply houses to find various electrical cables that met code requirements while avoiding PVC. The Bullitt Center contains no PVC wire at all.

Eco-Based Insulation Adhesives Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are gases such as formaldehyde, which are readily released into the indoor air by building materials. VOCs have been associated with short-term acute sick building syndrome symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, or eye, nose, and throat irritation, and other longer-term chronic health effects such as damage to the liver, kidney and nervous system and increased cancer risk. There is also some concern that VOCs may contribute to Multiple Chemical Sensitivity in specific individuals who exhibit reactions to indoor airborne chemicals. VOCs react with each other and other indoor air contaminants, such as ozone, to create additional potentially harmful compounds. VOCs are a component of and off-gas from a wide range of building materials, including carpets, resilient flooring, wall covering, ceiling tiles, furniture, wood products, and just about every other material used in buildings, as well as paints, adhesives, sealants, stains, varnishes and other wet applied products in and out of the building. As a result of heightened awareness of VOC’s in the past few years, manufacturers have sought out alternatives to avoid formaldehyde in their products. A perfect example is the fiberglass batt. Only a few years ago, there were no formaldehyde-free options on the market, but now most major manufacturers have answered the challenge. The Bullitt Center uses an insulation that is held together by a plant-based binder.


The Bullitt Center team navigated a variety of existing policies, looking for opportunities to change them when they served as barriers to high-performance green design.

Building Demolition and Salvage A small one-story bar and restaurant, along with a paved surface parking lot, formerly occupied the site of the Bullitt Center. Typically, developers are not allowed to remove pre-existing structures prior to issuance of a Master Use Permit. As a result, many existing structures are simply demolished in order to minimize impact on the overall project schedule and associated costs. The Bullitt Center team worked with City regulators to secure approval for deconstruction and material reuse well in advance of the final permit to integrate material recycling and salvage into the process.

Living Building Pilot Program In an effort to incentivize project developers to incorporate performance-based design into new buildings and further its leadership in green building, the City of Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development created the Living Building Pilot Program. This pilot program allowed for performancebased departures under the Land Use code, including the ability to increase floor-to-floor heights to increase interior daylighting and reduce the dependence on electric lighting. The City will use the lessons learned from the Bullitt Center and a handful of other projects pursuing Living Building certification to evaluate and revise current codes to achieve higher building performance. The City of Seattle is the first municipality in the nation to develop a program to promote the Living Building standard.

No Parking Requirement With onsite parking for bicycles only, the Bullitt Center is the City’s first commercial building to take advantage of legislation focused on designated Urban Villages that are well served by public transportation. In an effort to promote car-free living and reduce the environmental and social impact of single occupancy vehicle use and traffic congestion, the Bullitt Center chose to construct a garage for bikes instead of cars, and developed a multi-modal transportation plan to guide tenant behavior.

New Public Park The transformation of McGilvra Place and a portion of 15th Avenue into a new neighborhood park was made possible through collaboration between the Department of Transportation, the Department of Parks and Recreation, the Seattle Parks Foundation and the Bullitt Foundation. Together, public and private funds were raised for capital improvements and a public-private partnership agreement was formed for long-term management. The new park is the first project to pursue Living Building Challenge certification for the landscape typology worldwide.

Rainwater Harvest for Potable Use (approval pending) Although captured rainwater has long provided potable drinking water to homeowners in rural areas, it has not yet been approved for a commercial building. The Bullitt Center team is working directly with the Washington Department of Health and Seattle Public Utilities to meet national and local requirements for safe drinking water so that rainwater collected on the roof and stored in a 56,000- gallon below-grade cistern will ultimately all of meet the building’s needs.

Composting and Greywater Prior to the Bullitt Center, there was no clear precedent for the permitting of an onsite composting system and greywater treatment facility. The Bullitt Center team worked with regulators from Washington State, King County and the City of Seattle to design rainwater collection and onsite waste treatment systems that have not previously been permitted in an urban setting. Waste water at the Bullitt Center falls into two categories: Compost and greywater. All human waste material that goes down the toilets and urinals will become compost. The soapy water that goes down sink and shower drains is considered greywater. At the Bullitt Center, these two waste streams are separated so that they may cleaned with the appropriate natural processes.

The Bullitt Center’s 6-story composting toilet system creates a usable fertilizer at the end of its process. Because this fertilizer is from human origin, it must be treated as a bio-solid and processed at a secondary facility that meets the State Department of Ecology’s criteria. King County and the Bullitt Center have partnered to create a process by which the project can send its leachate to King County’s Carnation facility, where it will be filtered using natural processes and used to restore a native wetland. The building’s greywater – which comes from sink and shower drains – will be filtered, stored, and then treated in a constructed wetland (visible on the building’s second-story roof by Madison Street). Once treated and cleaned to City and State-approved standards, it will be infiltrated into a green planting strip on 15th Avenue, where it will ultimately replenish the natural aquifer. These systems are designed as a complement to the municipal infrastructure, and provide a demonstration of how we can meet the demands of a growing population with sustainable innovation.


Local Green Economy A curtain wall (window) system engineered by the German company, Schüco, met the highperformance needs of the Bullitt Center design, but the product was only available in Europe. In a remarkable example of creating real change, a partnership was established between Schüco and Goldfinch Brothers, a family-owned company based in Everett, WA. Goldfinch Brothers developed a licensing agreement with Schüco to fabricate, distribute, and install Schüco products in the US. Goldfinch Brothers sent a team to Germany to learn the fabrication process, and now the Schücoengineered curtain wall systems are fabricated and assembled by Goldfinch Brothers in their Everett facility. These high-performance curtain wall systems are now available for future projects in North America, providing high-performance windows for US buildings and raising the bar on domestic manufacturers to compete in this market.

Heavy Timber Construction The Bullitt Center aims at creating regional design vernacular, one that is informed by the culture and tuned to the conditions of the environment. A building in Phoenix should be distinct from one in Seattle because it is responding to a very different environmental context and building culture. This philosophy guided the design team towards selecting wood as the building’s primary structure, given the abundance of forest resources available in the Pacific Northwest, the tradition of wood as building material in this region, and because of the many environmental benefits of using wood. Wood is locally available and can be harvested from responsibly managed forests, making it a good environmental choice. The carbon sequestered in this building will stay out of the atmosphere for as long as the structure is intact, hopefully at least 250 years. Many heavy timber buildings of this scale in downtown Seattle have lasted through fires, earthquakes, and well over 100 years of use. This building updates the enduring tradition of these buildings with the benefit of modern engineering, a sturdy concrete base, and an engineered timber frame made from sustainably grown and harvested wood rather than old-growth trees.

Forest Stewardship Council™ 100% of the wood in the Bullitt Center is certified to standards set by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). In addition, the Bullitt Center is the only commercial building in the U.S. to earn the Forest Stewardship Council Project Certification, in recognition of responsible forest products use throughout the building. FSC is an independent nonprofit organization that sets rigorous standards under which forests are certified to ensure they are responsibly managed. Endorsed by groups such as Greenpeace, World Wildlife Foundation, the Sierra Club and the National Wildlife Federation, FSC is considered the gold standard in forest certification. In the U.S. and Canada, there are more than 170 million acres of forestland and nearly 4,500 “chainof- custody” companies certified to FSC standards. FSC’s chain-of-custody standards ensure that FSCcertified wood products are tracked from the forest to the end user, such as the Bullitt Center. For the Bullitt Center, Matheus Lumber (FSC certificate number: SGSNA-COC-006017) in Woodinville, WA was the FSC-certified lumberyard that sourced wood products for construction.

Bullitt Center

Vitro Architectural Glass as Manufacturers

Bullitt Center, regarded by many as the world’s greenest commercial office building, was designed by The Miller Hull Partnership to demonstrate how buildings can function as completely integrated, self-sustaining, living organisms. In developing the six-story glass and metal mid-rise, lead design architect Brian Court and building performance specialist Jim Hanford specified hundreds of sustainable building products and implemented dozens of design strategies. Together, they enable Bullitt Center to execute its core performance functions while generating or renewing, on-site, 100 percent of its energy, water and waste management functions. Hanford said the fenestration system was critical to enabling the Center to attain its ambitious energy and environmental performance goals. 

As part of a sophisticated curtain wall assembly designed by Schuco USA and fabricated by Goldfinch Brothers, the system incorporates triple-glazed insulating glass units (IGUs) framed in aluminum and glazed with two lites of Solarban® 60 solar control, low-e glass to provide window system U-values as low as 0.17.

“We specified Solarban® 60 [glass] because it provided the best balance of thermal performance, solar control and daylighting performance to meet the needs of the project,” Hanford explained. “To allow daylighting deep into the floor plate, we knew we would need large glass areas with high visible light transmittance. To offset the heating load penalty of the large glass areas, we wanted to get the lowest possible heat loss rate, and that meant using a product such as Solarban® 60 glass with argon fill in the insulating glass units. “Because we have a long history of using Solarban® 60 [glass] on other projects, we knew we would be comfortable with how it looked on the building,” he added.

In addition to the large windows, Solarban® 60 glass was used to fabricate the entrance and interior doors and operable skylights, which were reinforced with a translucent laminated interior lite. The fenestration system, together with the high ceilings, enables Bullitt Center to draw more than 80 percent of its lighting needs from the sun. The curtain wall also is equipped with manual and motor-controlled openings to facilitate passive cooling and natural ventilation, along with retractable external blinds to help block solar heat.

Another Vitro product, StarphireUltra-Clear® glass, is integral to the building’s signature design element, an irresistible stairway that entices occupants to climb steps instead of riding the elevator by furnishing panoramic views of downtown Seattle and Puget Sound. With visible light transmittance (VLT) of at least 90 percent, in thicknesses ranging from 3 to 19 millimeters, Starphire® glass is the industry’s most transparent architectural glass.

To help achieve net zero-energy performance, Bullitt Center is fortified with a photovoltaic array that generates 230,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, a ground-source geothermal heat exchange system, and radiant floor heating and cooling systems, which combined to reduce energy use by 83 percent compared to a typical Seattle office building.

Water efficiency is 80 percent greater than comparable buildings due to a 56,000-gallon rainwater collection cistern, greywater reclamation, composting foam flush toilets, a rainwater filtration system for potable water use, a green roof and a constructed wetland.

Bullitt Center is seeking to become the first office building to earn certification through the Living Building Challenge™, the world’s most difficult and advanced sustainability standard for buildings.


Teknion as Office furniture


Designed to be the “greenest commercial building in the world,” Seattle’s new Bullitt Center is a pioneering project led by the Bullitt Foundation, an organization devoted to protecting and restoring the natural environment of the Pacific Northwest. The Bullitt Foundation’s environmental mission is made evident in the performance-based, self-sustaining design of a six-story, 50,000-square-foot building located at the edge of Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. Developed by Point32 real estate group and designed by the Miller Hull Partnership, the Bullitt Center is meant to demonstrate that a net-zero energy building can be a commercially viable and architecturally stunning office space where people work in a healthy setting. It is hoped that others will follow suit in attempting a quantum leap forward in sustainable design.

The Bullitt Center aims to be a model of urban sustainability, acting as a catalyst to change the way buildings are designed, built and operated. The energy-neutral Bullitt Center building draws all of its power from sunlight falling on a rooftop array of photovoltaic (PV) panels. All grey water is treated and infiltrated into the soil on site. A ground-source heat-pump system, which includes 26 geothermal wells, drilled 400-feet deep, taps the temperature of the earth to provide both heating and cooling. The Bullitt Center is also designed and equipped to harvest the water it requires from rainwater collected in a 56,000-gallon cistern. However, Washington State Department of Health has yet to permit the potable use of treated rainwater, so drinking water is presently drawn from city resources. (The Bullitt Center was named Sustainable Building of the Year 2013 in the World Architecture News Awards international competition.)

In addition to an energy-efficient building envelope, the Bullitt Center is built to last. Its timber structure is designed for a 250-year life. And while the extensive use of wood may seem to contradict the “deep green” intent of the project, the Center uses native FSC®-certified Douglas Fir and is the first commercial structure in the U.S. to achieve “project certification” from the Forest Stewardship Council—100 percent of the wood in the core and the shell is FSC®-certified.

While many of the Bullitt Center’s eco-friendly features represent significant “firsts,” the backers of the project have also chosen to attempt to be the first commercial structure to meet the goals of the Living Building Challenge (LBC)—a truly ambitious goal. To be certified as a living building, a structure is required to be net-zero for energy and water for at least 12 continuous months and to meet strict standards for green materials and indoor air quality, as well as for building equity and beauty. Heretofore, the “imperatives” of LBC certification have been deemed out of the realm of possibility for a multi-story office building in a dense urban environment, but the Bullitt Center fully intends to be the first.

To achieve that goal, the design of the Bullitt Center, in addition to the strategies named above:

• encourages workers to walk, bicycle or take public transit to work—no parking for automobiles is provided on site;

• promotes occupant health by providing access to views, operable windows and inviting stairways that encourage walking;

• foregoes any materials that contain any Red-List chemicals, and limits volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or other potentially toxic components; and

• creates an inspiring work setting with attractive architecture and landscape design. There is also a neighborhood pocket park adjacent to the grounds.

As architects, the Miller Hull Partnership has designed the Bullitt Center with floor-to-ceiling windows on each floor that bring fresh air, daylight and views to all who work in the building. Handsome timber structural components are left exposed and an “irresistible stairway” with wood treads and glass balustrade offers panoramic views of the Seattle skyline. Furniture projects a clean, contemporary aesthetic and, perhaps more importantly, meets LBC criteria, which include limits on the distances that components can be shipped and proscribes the presence of 14 potentially toxic substances—the Red List—that are commonplace in building materials and furniture.


Choosing furniture for the Bullitt Center was a challenging and lengthy process as the project team carefully considered aesthetics, costs and functionality—along with Red List exclusions, life cycle and other criteria of the LBC. One of three manufacturers to be vetted, Teknion ultimately provided six products: Expansion Desking, Audience meeting tables and Fitz task seating were selected to furnish Point32’s open-plan workspace on the fourth floor; Livello adjustable tables, Visio task seating and District credenzas furnished the offices of the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) on the first floor. Note: ILFI is the progenitor of the LBC and the entity that will measure the building’s performance.

Although the LBC’s mandatory performance areas or “petals” (site, water, energy, health, material, equity and beauty) do not address furniture specifically, Bullitt Foundation President and CEO Denis Hayes, and the project team, felt that furniture was key to indoor air quality and the health and well-being of people who occupy the Bullitt Center. Thus, manufacturers were required to provide full disclosure with regard to the material content of furniture, as well as paints, finishes, trims, etc. Teknion’s ability to provide 100 percent transparency was an important factor in the selection of its products.

On the fourth floor of the Bullitt Center building, home to Point32, Expansion Desking was used to create workstation clusters. Each was placed within 30 feet of one of the Center’s expansive windows to provide all workers with a view—the city of Seattle or distant Cascade Mountains to the east. The windows admit sufficient daylight to reduce the electricity required for ambient and task lighting, and Expansion Desking low-height workstations make the most of the natural light flowing into and through the workspace. White and light-colored faux wood surfaces maintain a clean, contemporary look that harmonizes with the architectural aesthetic.

Workstations on the fourth floor were supplied with Fitz task seating and the conference room and meeting rooms with Audience tables. Like Expansion Desking, Audience tables do not have a NAUF core (no added urea formaldehyde) and are edged with ABS, rather than PVC, bands.

ILFI takes up a portion of the first floor, which it shares with the Cascadia Green Building Council. The ILFI workspace is furnished in part with Livello tables and District credenzas, a low landscape that permits visual contact among workers and with the out-of-doors. Visio task chairs provide a fresh, modern look and comfortable seat. The height-adjustable Livello worktables are fitted with linoleum tops (rather than laminate), edged with ABS bands and equipped with a hand-crank adjustment mechanism. Although a switch mechanism is available on Livello tables, even the minimal electrical draw of such a device is a consideration as electricity use is continually measured for each tenant, and each plug.

The Teknion products specified for the Bullitt Center provide an affordable, flexible furniture solution that supports client goals and will remain relevant over the long term, thereby helping to ensure a long life cycle, with less waste and less resource depletion. The combined efforts of the client, architect, dealer and Teknion ensure a safe, humane and beautiful setting for work, a place that ill support employee engagement, performance and well-being, and a community asset that will provide an incentive for market transformation.


PAE Consulting Engineers, Inc as Consultants

The world’s largest commercial Living Building, The Bullitt Center is much like a Douglas fir forest – utilizing only nature’s abundance to provide fresh air, light, energy, and heating and cooling for its occupants. Located in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, the Bullitt Center is a six-story, commercial office building. In its first two years, the building has achieved net positive energy and net zero water. It is 83-percent more energy-efficient and saves 80-percent more water than a typical Seattle office building, and has generated 60-percent more electricity from its solar panels than it used in its first full year of operation. PAE provided mechanical and electrical systems design, as well as energy modeling for the project. As designers and tenants of the building, PAE has access to a valuable blend of performance data and occupant experience that will inform future net zero designs.

The building’s mechanical requirements led to the design of a highly-efficient heating and cooling system that includes a closed-loop, vertical geothermal heating and cooling system; radiant floors; sophisticated shading to minimize solar gain; and natural ventilation. Capturing enough net solar energy to power the entire building, the 242 kW PV system covers the entire roof which is artfully cantilevered beyond the building footprint. The building will achieve net zero water through a 56,000 gallon cistern which captures rainwater that will be filtered for potable uses; greywater reclamation and constructed wetlands; and composting foam flush toilets that reduce water use by 96-percent when compared to a typical toilet. Through PAE’s in house research, the building “plug loads” are expected to be reduced 78-percent through the use of cloud-based servers, thin client work stations and laptops replacing desktop computing equipment. Luma Lighting Design, a division of PAE, provided a lighting design that optimizes daylighting and uses a sophisticated shading system, and then overlays a very efficient electrical lighting system when needed.

“Living in a Living Building” In addition to designing the Bullitt Center, PAE’s Seattle office has occupied the building since it opened. This has brought PAE a deep understanding of what it is like to live in a Living Building including: • Helping write and then sign a “green lease” • Operating an engineering company in a low plug load environment • Living in a mixed-mode natural ventilation environment • Living on the 6th floor of a building with composting, foam flush toilets (no issues!) • Deeply understanding the building’s energy use in a building that is on target to meet its design EUI goal of only 16 kBtu/SF/YR

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