Two Evergreen State Projects Push the Green Building Boundaries

Two Washington State projects presently under construction are going beyond the green building norms.

The Bullet Center in Seattle: This six-story, 52,000 square foor project is designed to be a net zero energy building – a building which will produce as much energy as it consumes. The plans call for solar photovoltaic cells with the capacity to produce 230,000 kWh of electricity per year. Twenty-six geothermal wells are being bored 400 feet deep to augment the heating and cooling requirements of the facility. Window blinds will be controlled by an on-site weather station. The design also includes grey water, black water and composting systems to treat all the building water and waste. This $30 million Bullet Center is being built by Schuchart Construction and expects to be completed by the end of the year.

The building is designed as a so-called Living Building, which means it follows the standards of the Living Building Challenge (LBC). LBC is a sustainable building certification program of the International Living Building Institute (ILBI). The architect for the project claims that, in a sunny year, the building will generate enough power to sell some back to the grid.

Peace Island Medical Center in Friday Harbor: This 38,000 square foot project located on San Juan Island is designed to use about 33% less energy than a typical hospital in the Pacific Northwest. The building utilizes sensors to control lighting, heating and cooling equipment as well as air flow controls. Howard S. Wright, Inc. is the contractor for the project which will be completed next fall. The Peace Island Medical Center is touted to be the “greenest” hospital in the United States. One of the interesting features of the building is a ground-source heat pump system with 22 bore holes which will serve as a heat sink. The system, expected to pay for itself in fewer than five years, creates 3-4 hours of heating or cooling energy for every kilowatt hour put in, far outpacing the less than one kWh hour returned on conventional systems.

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