Most Innovative Energy Efficient Glass Project

Bullitt Center

Photos by Tom Kessler

Northwestern Industries, nwiglass.com

“The Bullitt Center truly is a showcase for sustainable building design, and it speaks well to new product innovation achieved within our industry, as well as other building product manufacturers,” says GMA Judge Alice Dickerson, marketing communications manager for AGC Glass Company North America.

Designed by The Miller Hull Partnership, www.millerhull.com, the 50,000-square-foot, six-story office building in Seattle is a model of sustainability that demonstrates how buildings can function as completely integrated, self-sustaining, living organisms; and serves as a place for people to gather and learn about green building and urban sustainability, according to project officials. Hundreds of sustainable building products were selected throughout the design and specification processes to enable Bullitt Center to execute its core performance functions while generating or renewing, on-site, 100 percent of its energy, water and waste management functions.

The sophisticated high-performance curtain wall assembly, designed by Schuco USA, www.schueco. com, and fabricated by Goldfinch Brothers, www.goldfinchbros.com, features Solarban 60 solar control, low-emissivity glass by PPG Industries, www.ppg.com/corporate/ideascapes, specified because of the balance of thermal, solar control and daylighting performance needed to meet the demands of the project.

The system incorporates tripleglazed insulating glass units fabricated by Northwestern Industries with center-of-glass U-values of 0.12. In addition to the large windows, Solarban 60 glass was used to fabricate the entrance and operable skylights. The large windows, together with high ceilings, enable the Bullitt Center to draw 82 percent of its lighting needs from the sun.

The signature element of the office building is the “irresistible stairwell,” featuring Starphire ultra-clear glass by PPG, the industry’s most transparent architectural glass. The stairwell, which provides panoramic views of Seattle and Puget Sound, is designed to promote energy savings by enticing occupants to climb steps instead of riding an elevator.

Net-zero energy performance is achieved through a photovoltaic array that generates 230,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, a ground-source geothermal heat exchange system, and radiant floor heating and cooling systems, which combine to reduce energy use by 83 percent compared to a typical office building in Seattle. Water efficiency is also 80 percent greater than comparable buildings.

The Bullitt Center is seeking to become the first urban commercial office building to earn certification through the Living Building Challenge, the world’s most stringent and advanced sustainability standard for buildings.