Here’s something that will make you appreciate the Emerald City: we have a living building. I’m not talking about personification here. I’m referring to Seattle’s Bullitt Center, the greenest commercial building in the world.

To make a simple distinction between living vs. non-living buildings, imagine getting a check from your city with a dollar amount that equates to the excess electricity that you produce because your solar panels provide more than enough power for your residence. It’s an amazing idea that describes a completely self-sustained (and more) opportunity of innovative engineering. The Bullitt Center consumes minimal energy and actually receives a check from the City of Seattle every month for its unused power. However, to be considered “living”, the Bullitt Center fulfills much more complex and difficult requirements. By being built nearby popular bus stops, alternative methods of commuting are encouraged. There is no parking lot in the building and instead, bike racks are available. All the building materials are sustainably sourced, with the wood being certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. The six stories of the Bullitt Center are occupied by various organizations in Seattle, and the tenants enjoy the benefits of working in a leading model for sustainability efforts.

Having seen this amazing building, it is encouraging for us to consider what kind of future awaits us. There are people who are concerned about people, planet, and profits with the tenacity to build structures, relationships, and companies centered around sustainability. Living buildings are not as prominent at this point in time due to the high barriers that come with such ventures, but as the world moves along, the concern of environmental impact will grow.

Luckily, we are in the business of solving social issues. Look out world!


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