The Bullitt Center: A Paragon in Green Building

Seattle, Washington is home to one of the most self sufficient buildings in entire world. The Bullitt Center, an office building that was opened on 2013’s Earth Day,  is a net zero energy and net zero water meaning that this structure needs the same quantity of water and energy that it generates. It is fully self-sufficient.  Here is a closer examination of the features that make this building so spectacular.

Solar Power

The building has photovoltaic panels that are used to create energy. Although Seattle may not be the sunniest of places, this system is still quite effective. In fact, the Bullitt Center sends the excess electricity to Seattle’s energy grid to aid in powering the city.  The SunPower solar panels are amongst the most efficient solar panels that you can procure. Nearly 600 of theses panels blanket the  outside of the roof. In total, the solar panel system generates more than 200,000 KWH every year.


The tenants of the Bullitt Center are allocated a certain amount of energy each month which is determined by the quantity of space they occupy. Those who remain within this budget are not charged for the electricity, which provides further incentive to operate in energy efficiency. A typical office building of this size, 50,000 square feet, utilizes more than 4 times the energy that the Bullitt Center needs.

Operable windows, daylighting, geothermal heating and cooling are all measures the structure utilizes in order to strive for efficiency. The Bullitt Center even has a BMS or building management system that helps control different features of the building including the window shades, and the heating and cooling systems. This system serves as the brain for the structure ensuring that everything is running as efficiently as possible at all times.

In 2014, recently released data shows that the Bullitt Center was net positive for energy as it used only 150 KWH and created more than 250 KWH. The CEO of the Bullitt Foundation, Dennis Hayes, is excited by the results and optimistic for the future of architectural sustainability.