Meanwhile, Schuchart Construction, Seattle, expects to complete the $30-million Bullitt Center toward the end of next year. The building is designed as a so-called Living Building, which means it follows the standards of the Living Building Challenge. LBC is a sustainable building certification program of the International Living Building Institute (ILBI).

LBC provides “a framework for design, construction and the symbiotic relationship between people and all aspects of the built environment,” says ILBI, Portland, Ore. A Living Building is “informed by its bioregion's characteristics, that generates all of its own energy with renewable resources, captures and treats all of its water and operates efficiently for maximum beauty,” according to ILBI.

Plans call for solar photovoltaic arrays with the capacity to produce 230,000 kWh of electricity per year. There will be 26 geothermal wells bored 400 ft deep. Window blinds will be controlled by an on-site weather station. The building also has daylighting features, says Brian Court, project manager for the local architect, the Miller Hull Partnership. The design also includes gray water, black water and composting systems to treat all building water and waste.

Court expects the building to achieve net-zero energy use its first year. “Our assumptions on solar income are based on the average annual number of sunny days over the past 30 years,” says Court. “If we have a cloudy year, we might not make it on the first try. But if it's a sunny year, we could … sell power back to the grid.”

Sustainable Design