Exciting news over at the Bullitt Center: the property has earned Living Building certification, becoming the first office building to do so. Unico Sustainability has been honored to manage the property for the last year, and we’re thrilled and proud to be a partner to the greenest commercial building in the world.

“The Bullitt Center is the Tesla of commercial real estate and Unico is honored to be the driver that is maximizing its performance,” said Brett Phillips, Director of Sustainability for Unico Properties. “As the day-to-day manager of the building’s sophisticated systems, today’s Living Building certification validates what is possible – that regenerative design paired with high performance operations results in a healthier, more efficient built environment that will sustain our communities well into the future.”

The announcement has been making waves in the media, including an LA Times article and a feature in the Seattle Times.  In the latter, reporter Sanjay Bhatt draws comparisons between Bullitt and Stone34, writing, “Bullitt isn’t alone in pushing the industry to aim higher: Stone34, which Skanska USA developed for Brooks Sports, is a cutting-edge green building in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood that also was successful commercially.”

The common thread between these two high performing buildings? Management by Unico Sustainability.

Living Building Certification requires a 12-month continuous performance period to demonstrate net-positive energy, water, and waste. Unico implemented its high performance operating strategies to deliver in these critical areas.

  • Energy efficiency – the building’s 12-month energy utilization intensity (EUI) was 10.21 kBtu/square foot (this is like MPG for buildings except lower the better). An average office building has an EUI of 90 kBtu/square foot. So Bullitt Center’s energy performance is 89% more efficient than the national average.
  • ENERGY STAR – the building has an ENERGY STAR score of a perfect 100.
  • Net positive energy – the building produced 243,671 kwh of energy during the living building performance period and only used 152,877 kwh, resulting in a 90,793 kwh surplus (all while 87% leased).
  • Zero carbon emissions – the building is actually carbon positive and offsets 35 metric tons of carbon by overproducing solar energy and supplying it back into the grid.
  • Net-positive water – the building captures all water that hits the site and reuses it to flush toilets. It also filters rainwater through its onsite wetlands to provide natural cleansing and avoiding chemical runoff into Puget Sound. Unico has been hugely involved in improving the rainwater collection system and the wetlands system so they work correctly.
  • Net positive waste:
    • Golden Dumpster  – due to Unico, Bullitt was awarded the 2014 Golden Dumpster Award by BOMA, CleanScapes, and Seattle Public Utilities for significant waste reduction.
    • Composting toilets – Unico manages the composting toilet system by collecting and composting 100% of the refuse from the building.

Congratulations to the Bullitt Foundation on this important achievement. We look forward to celebrating with them at this week’s Living Future unConference 2015, where the industry’s finest will come together to share their stories and ideas.

2 Responses to Bullitt Center Earns Living Building Certification
  1. Congratulations!!!!!! Just out of curiosity, what are they doing relative to cleaning the building? Does the cleaning program push the envelope in the same way you have done relative to energy and water?

    • Hi Stephen,

      Thanks for your question about cleaning! Unico deploys a high performance green cleaning program at the Bullitt Center and across our portfolio. At the Bullitt Center, we prohibit the use of 362 toxic building materials and applications (known as the ‘Red List’) which includes many agents found in commonly used cleaning supplies. All cleaning products must be certified Green Seal and/or Environmental Choice. This practice applies to cleaning agents used on the interior as well as on the exterior of the building. It’s been a great challenge for our management team and vendors – but one we’ve all embraced and that’s led to an incredibly clean, fresh, and healthy building environment!


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